U.S. Government Affirms Dietary Guidelines on Sugar, Alcohol

The Trump administration rejected a push by the scientific community for recommendations that adults should reduce sugar and alcohol in their diets.

While the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-25 advised for the first time that children under 2 years old avoid sugar, the publication issued Tuesday left recommendations for sugar and alcoholic consumption unchanged, citing a lack of evidence for a shift.

The guidelines issued jointly by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services “carried forward the committee’s emphasis on limiting these dietary components, but did not include changes to quantitative recommendations,” according to a statement.

The guidelines issued every five years can impact U.S. programs such as school lunches and food assistance for those with low income.

A committee of scientists had recommended that people older than 2 limit intake of added sugar to 6% of daily calories, rather than 10% in the previous and now-current guidelines. Consuming processed foods with added sugar is linked to obesity and other health issues such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

“There is no question that individuals would benefit from reducing their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of calories, but they would benefit more by consuming less than 6%,” Jessi Silverman, policy associate and a registered dietitian at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in a statement.

The Sugar Association, a trade group whose members include major producers, said the government “got it right” and pointed to some studies showing that consumption of added sugars has declined even as obesity rates increased in recent years.

“There is no reliable evidence to support the notion that a limit on added sugars consumption to just 6% of daily calories would result in improved individual or collective public health outcomes,” Courtney Gaine, chief executive officer of the association, said in a statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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