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Work Under Way

Topics and Questions Under Review by the Committee

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is examining specific topics and supporting scientific questions identified by USDA and HHS. The questions are grouped by subcommittee below. Subcommittees review the evidence on questions and report on their work at the Committee meetings, which are open to the public. All deliberation and decisions are made by the full Committee at its public meetings.

The Committee is using three scientific approaches to examine the evidence: data analysis, food pattern modeling, and systematic reviews. Each approach has its own rigorous methodology. For each question, a specific protocol – or plan – is created to describe how the Committee will apply the methodology for one of those approaches to answer the question. Each protocol is created before the Advisory Committee examines any evidence, and is posted below for the public to view and better understand how a specific question will be answered.

New and updated protocols will be posted over the course of the Committee’s work, and progress is marked with the icons described below. A protocol may be updated after it is posted as new. The tables below include the date the protocol was posted or updated. Updates to protocols will be noted within the protocol document with rationale. General updates on the work of each Subcommittee are provided on this page.

Note: Some topics are not included in the list below because they are addressed in existing evidence-based Federal guidance. You can learn more about these topics here.

key with still to come, developing the plan, implementing the plan, and draft conclusion
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Review of this question is still to come. Check back for updates.
New
A new protocol has been posted for the question. This is the subcommittee’s initial plan for how the evidence will be reviewed to answer the question.
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The subcommittee is developing the plan for reviewing the evidence to answer the question. For systematic review questions, this includes defining terms, identifying inclusion and exclusion criteria, and determining databases to search. 
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The question is under review. For systematic review questions, this means the search, screening, and review have begun. For other approaches, this means analysis is under way. Over time, draft systematic review protocols will be updated to include search results and lists of included and excluded articles. 
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The subcommittee has developed a draft answer to the question. Draft conclusions are not considered final until they have been deliberated with and decided upon by the full Committee and published in the Committee’s report.

Maternal Diet During Pregnancy and Lactation and Risk of Food Allergy/Atopic Disease

Status Question
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What is the relationship between maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation and risk of infant and child food allergies and atopic allergic diseases? Up to date as of 9/19/2019

Alcohol

Status Question
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What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and growth, size, body composition, and risk of overweight and obesity?
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What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and risk of certain types of cancer?
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What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease? Up to date 3/10/2020
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What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and neurocognitive health?
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What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality? Up to date as of 1/10/2020
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What is the relationship between alcohol consumption during lactation and post-partum weight loss?
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What is the relationship between alcohol consumption during lactation and human milk composition and quantity?
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What is the relationship between alcohol consumption during lactation and infant developmental milestones, including neurocognitive development?

Note: Some topics are not included above because they are addressed in existing evidence-based Federal guidance. In an effort to avoid duplication with other Federal efforts, it is expected that these topics will be reflected in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines by referencing the existing guidance. Thus, these topics do not require a review of the evidence by the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Examples of existing guidance include:

  • Food safety guidance
  • Guidance on the health risks of excessive alcohol use, including information on binge drinking, and the recommendation that women who are pregnant or might be pregnant not drink at all
  • Gestational weight gain guidance
  • Physical activity guidance
  • Dietary Reference Intakes, including sodium and potassium (completed March 2019)

1 The dietary patterns questions will consider the quantities, proportions, variety, or combination of different foods, drinks, and nutrients when examining relationships. Studies that examine a specific food group, but control for the other aspects of the dietary pattern, will also be considered.

2Complementary feeding is defined as the process that starts when human milk or infant formula is complemented by other foods and beverages. The complementary feeding period typically continues to 24 months as the young child transitions fully to family foods. Complementary foods and beverages are food and beverages (liquids, semisolids, and solids) other than human milk or infant formula provided to an infant or young child to provide nutrients and energy. Evidence related to dietary patterns consumed during the complementary feeding period will be considered as part of these questions.