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Work Under Way

Topics and Questions Under Review by the Committee

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is nearing completion of its scientific review, examining specific topics and supporting scientific questions identified by USDA and HHS. Draft conclusion statements for the questions examined by each of the topic-driven subcommittees are now provided through the table below. 

Each draft conclusion statement describes the state of the science for the specific question examined. As it finalizes its work, the Committee will look across all of the conclusion statements to develop overarching advice for USDA and HHS to consider as the Departments develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Individual draft conclusion statements should not be interpreted as the Committee’s overarching advice nor should any draft conclusion statement be interpreted as dietary guidance. Draft conclusions are not considered final until they have been published in its final advisory report.

The Committee used three scientific approaches to examine the evidence: data analysis, food pattern modeling, and systematic reviews. For each question, a specific protocol – or plan – was created to describe how the Committee would use one of these approaches to answer the question. Each protocol was created before the Advisory Committee started to examine any evidence. 

The protocols provided through the table below are final and take into account input from the full Committee during its public meetings and public comments received throughout the Committee’s work. Each systematic review protocol provides the literature search strategy, the list of scientific articles included in the review, and the list of articles excluded after full-text screening, with at least one rationale for exclusion.

Progress on the Committee’s work to answer the scientific questions is marked with icons in the tables and include the date the protocol was last updated.

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.

Table Key

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Implementing plan 

The question is under review. For systematic review questions, this means the search and screening have been completed; search results and lists of included and excluded articles are now posted. For other approaches, this means analysis is under way.

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Draft conclusion

The subcommittee has developed a draft answer to the question based on its review. Draft conclusions are not considered final until they have been published in the Committee’s final report.

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Will not be completed

As with past Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees, the 2020 Committee prioritized questions to complete in the time available to conduct its review, and some questions will not be completed. More information on the prioritization will be discussed in the Committee’s report.

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Specific Nutrients from Supplements and/or Fortified Foods

Status Question
grey dash What is the relationship between iron from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed before and during pregnancy and lactation and specific health outcomes? 
Circle What is the relationship between folic acid from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed before and during pregnancy and lactation and specific health outcomes? Up to date as of 4/20/2020
grey dash What is the relationship between vitamin D from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed before and during pregnancy and lactation and specific health outcomes? 
Circle What is the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed before and during pregnancy and lactation and specific health outcomes? Up to date as of 4/20/2020
grey dash What is the relationship between vitamin B12 from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed before and during pregnancy and lactation and specific health outcomes? 
grey dash What is the relationship between iodine from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed before and during pregnancy and lactation and specific health outcomes?

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

Status Question
Circle 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 4/20/2020

Birth to 24 Months Subcommittee

Recommended Duration, Frequency, and Volume of Exclusive Human Milk and/or Infant Formula Feeding

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Status Question
Circle What is the relationship between the duration, frequency, and volume of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and growth, size, and body composition? Up to date as of 4/20/2020
Circle What is the relationship between the duration, frequency, and volume of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and micronutrient status? Up to date as of 4/20/2020
Circle What is the relationship between the duration of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and food allergies and atopic allergic diseases? Up to date as of 1/21/2020
Circle What is the relationship between the duration of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and long-term health outcomes? Up to date as of 1/21/2020
grey dash What is the relationship between the duration of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and developmental milestones, including neurocognitive development? 

Specific Nutrients from Supplements and/or Fortified Foods

Status Question
grey dash What is the relationship between specific nutrients from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed during infancy and toddlerhood and nutrient status? 
Circle What is the relationship between specific nutrients from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed during infancy and toddlerhood and growth, size, and body composition? Up to date as of 4/20/2020
Circle What is the relationship between specific nutrients from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed during infancy and toddlerhood and bone health? Up to date as of 4/20/2020

Beverages and Added Sugars Subcommittee

All Beverages

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Status Question
Circle What is the relationship between beverage consumption and growth, size, body composition, and risk of overweight and obesity? Updated as of 4/20/2020
grey dash What is the relationship between beverage consumption during pregnancy and gestational weight gain? 
Circle What is the relationship between beverage consumption during pregnancy and birth weight standardized for gestational age and sex? Updated as of 4/20/2020
grey dash What is the relationship between beverage consumption during lactation and human milk composition and quantity? 
grey dash What is the relationship between beverage consumption during lactation and post-partum weight loss? 

Alcohol

Status Question
grey dash What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and growth, size, body composition, and risk of overweight and obesity?
grey dash What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and risk of certain types of cancer?
grey dash What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease? 
grey dash What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and neurocognitive health?
Circle What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality? Up to date as of 4/20/2020
grey dash What is the relationship between alcohol consumption during lactation and post-partum weight loss?
grey dash What is the relationship between alcohol consumption during lactation and human milk composition and quantity?
grey dash What is the relationship between alcohol consumption during lactation and infant developmental milestones, including neurocognitive development?

Added Sugars

Status Question
grey dash What is the relationship between added sugars consumption and growth, size, body composition, and risk of overweight and obesity? 
Circle What is the relationship between added sugars consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease? Up to date as of 4/20/2020
grey dash What is the relationship between added sugars consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes? 
grey dash What is the relationship between added sugars consumption during pregnancy and gestational weight gain? 
grey dash What is the relationship between added sugars consumption during lactation and post-partum weight loss? 

Dietary Fats and Seafood Subcommittee

Dietary Fats

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Status Question
grey dash What is the relationship between types of dietary fat consumed and neurocognitive development (birth to 18 years) or neurocognitive health (for those 18 years and older)? 
Circle What is the relationship between types of dietary fat consumed and risk of cardiovascular disease? Up to date as of 4/20/2020
grey dash What is the relationship between types of dietary fat consumed and risk of certain types of cancer? 
grey dash What is the relationship between types of dietary fat consumed and all-cause mortality? 

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.