This oral testimony at the second meeting of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was provided by Sarah Ohlhorst, MS, RD, Senior Director of Advocacy and Science Policy at the American Society for Nutrition.

The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) appreciates the opportunity to provide input to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. ASN is a scientific, professional society with more than 6,500 members who enhance scientific knowledge and quality of life through excellence in nutrition research and practice.

ASN appreciates the life stage approach and suggests that the evidence review include the impact of diet on the metabolic and physiological changes that occur over the life course and during life stage transitions, such as with neurocognitive health.

ASN supports the continued use of a strong evidence-based approach emphasizing a rigorous scientific process and transparency throughout, including the systematic review of all evidence considered on key topics. ASN encourages the DGAC to include existing high-quality systematic reviews and meta-analyses outside of those conducted using NESR in the evidence review if they meet standards established by USDA and HHS.

ASN supports the subcommittee and cross-cutting themes discussed at meeting #1, particularly the diet and health impact of eating occasions, frequency and timing. ASN recommends broadening the dietary patterns considered and going beyond providing guidance solely for specific nutrients. ASN recommends addressing multicultural dietary patterns to better include our diverse society, including the role acculturation has on diet and health. The DGAs should advise Americans not just on what to eat, but provide guidance to help individuals understand howto change their eating and food behaviors in order to improve their diet.

ASN sees opportunity for the 2020 DGAs to continue to promote chronic disease prevention and ensure nutritional sufficiency. ASN supports the consideration of diet and nutritional biomarkers for chronic disease endpoints when developing guidance that addresses health and disease. However, the development of recommendations should not be hindered or delayed by the ongoing process of discovery and validation of nutritional biomarkers for diet related disease risk.

According to NHANES data, more than 50% of U.S. adults reported using a dietary supplement in 2011-2012. It’s essential for the Committee to consider the role that dietary supplements play in dietary intake of micronutrients and how individuals may translate dietary guidance into supplement usage, which could have both positive and negative repercussions.

ASN appreciates a continued focus on highlighting future research needs and gaps. More recommendations on how to implement the DGAs in order to move Americans toward compliance is needed, and ASN recommends that collaborators continue to be engaged. Thank you!

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