Members of the Grain Chain, a grains industry coalition from farm to table, provided input to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as they begin work on the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The signing members commented on the proposed scientific questions to be examined as part of the review supporting the development of the new guidelines.
The Grain Chain’s comments focused on the needs for critical definitions needed before the 2025 DGA review process starts; the value of processing for grain foods; support for a health equity lens through the review process; the need for consumption and physical activity balance approach and suggested Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) critical nominee selection criteria.
“It will be critical for the DGA scientific questions to clearly define terms such as “nutrient-dense,” “ultra-processed,” “processed,” “minimally processed,” “non-dairy,” and “non-meat alternatives,” said Lee Sanders, SVP of Government Relations and Public Affairs, American Bakers Association. “In order to answer the proposed DGA review questions, these terms must be distinctly defined, and these definitions must be data-driven and evidence-based with clear consensus around the scientific evidence.”
The Grain Chain noted that the DGA must consider other ways to approach foods with varying degrees of processing, particularly those “processed” foods which have beneficial attributes and improve nutrient content, as is the case with bread, pasta, and rice.
Regarding the HHS/USDA emphasis on dietary patterns when related to weight loss or obesity, the Grain Chain urged focus on nutritional value and balance, not calories alone. “For example, many grain foods can help improve diet quality by encouraging the consumption of healthy low-calorie, high fiber foods and increasing fruit and vegetable intake,” said Sanders.
Given the question regarding dietary patterns and ultra-processed foods, according to the Grain Chain, “it will be critical to have members on the DGAC who have expertise in food processing/manufacturing for the various food categories being discussed.”
Now, HHS and USDA will consider all public comments, including those from the Grain Chain, in relation to the specified criteria above in prioritizing the scientific questions to be examined by the Committee. The resulting report from the Committee will inform the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2025-2030.
Next, HHS and USDA will seek nominations for the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee from the public.
About the Grain Chain
The Grain Chain has been established for several cycles of the DGA review process to enable consensus-building on policy priorities and messaging to promote the health benefits of grain foods. Members signing on to these comments included the American Bakers Association, Cereal and Grains Association, Independent Bakers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Pasta Association, North American Millers Association, Retail Bakers of America, USA Rice Federation, and the Wheat Foods Council.