The federal government is in the process of writing the 2020-2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The update to the Dietary Guidelines, and the process by which they are written and shaped, is important to brewers and beer importers, because it shapes policies, standards, and initiatives across the public and private sectors, including public health and health care, private sectors, education, business, the food industry and retailers.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, comprised of academic scientific researchers, is currently reviewing the scientific evidence on specific topics on nutrition and health from birth into older adulthood, including alcohol beverage consumption by adults who are at least 21 years old.
The Committee discusses its review of the scientific evidence during public meetings and will then release its scientific report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Spring of 2020. This report will provide a set of specific recommendations on identified research questions to inform the drafting of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025.
The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans say moderate alcohol consumption can be incorporated into the calorie limits of most healthy eating patterns. For the first time, the 2015-2020 Guidelines introduce Americans to the term “drink equivalent,” which helps consumers understand how much alcohol is in their alcohol beverages. For the 2020-2025 edition, the Beer Institute and its members encourage the USDA and HHS to continue the use of these moderate drinking guidelines.
Clearly defining the moderate drinking guidelines will assist with responsible consumption of alcohol, as well as understanding the differences in the alcohol content of beer, wine and spirits.
Beer Institute position
As the Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory Committee is in the process of gathering testimony and scientific research to update the 2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the Beer Institute supports the following core principles for the 2020 update to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
- Consume beverages with alcohol in moderation.
- We support the continuation of the guidelines for moderate consumption in the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans: “If alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation – up to one (1) alcohol drink- equivalent per day for women, and up to two (2) per day for men.”
- We support the continuation of the definition of a drink-equivalent in the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans: “one alcohol drink-equivalent contains 14 g (0.6 fl oz) of pure alcohol. The following are reference beverages that are one alcohol drink-equivalent: 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), five fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol).”
- Understand and keep track of how much alcohol you are consuming.
- The 2020 S Dietary Guidelines for Americans should provide consumers and their healthcare providers with practical and pragmatic information so they can make informed decisions about the alcohol beverages they consume, including the differences between the types, sizes and alcohol content of alcohol beverages in the market.
- Don’t consume alcohol beverages on an empty stomach.
- Food slows the absorption rate of alcohol beverages. If you choose to consume alcohol beverages, eat food before or while drinking. Also, stay hydrated (with water or other non-alcohol beverages) when consuming alcohol beverages.
- Discuss any concerns about alcohol beverage consumption with your healthcare provider.
- Some people should not consume alcohol beverages at all. For example, people who are under 21 years old, women who are pregnant, or people who have a medical or family history of concern. Any person who has concerns about consuming alcohol should consult with their healthcare provider.
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