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YOUR SOURCE ON FOOD LITIGATION AND REGULATION

Updated nutritional guidelines emphasize holistic eating patterns over the course of a lifespan.

On January 7, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly issued the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Guidelines),[1]

The Guidelines are based largely on the recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee), which is comprised of expert researchers in the fields of nutrition, health, and medicine.[2] The HHS and USDA stated that the updated Guidelines are intended to “reduce obesity and prevent chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.” Importantly, the Guidelines emphasize healthy eating patterns to increase population health, rather than focusing on individual nutrients or foods. The Guidelines state that Americans should focus on maintaining healthy body weight through nutrient adequacy over their lifespan. Reading between the lines, the Guidelines seem to advocate that Americans should avoid so-called “fad diets” that can lead to “yo-yo” weight fluctuations.

1US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2010, 8th ed. (Dec. 2015) [hereinafter Dietary Guidelines] http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/; United States Dept. of Agriculture, HHS and USDA Release New Dietary Guidelines to Encourage Healthy Eating Patterns to Prevent Chronic Diseases (Jan, 7, 2016) http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2016/01/0005.xml&contentidonly=true.

2 See Health.gov, Advisory Committee Members (Jan. 11, 2016) http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/committee/; United States Dept. of Agriculture, Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture (Feb. 2015) http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/PDFs/Scientific-Report-of-the-2015-Dietary-Guidelines-Advisory-Committee.pdf.