WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report. The report will inform the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the basis of all federal food and nutrition policies, programs and communications.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) applauds the DGAC for working to develop evidence-based recommendations aimed at improving the health of Americans. As one of AICR’s four policy priorities, government guidelines that promote a healthy diet are imperative to reducing cancer risk. Approximately 40 percent of cancer cases and their costly treatments can be prevented through lifestyle behaviors, including eating a healthy diet.
During the DGAC’s evidence review process, AICR has attended public meetings, provided oral and written comments and monitored updates. AICR shared research and reports on the link between eating patterns and cancer risk with the DGAC, including AICR and WCRF’s Third Expert Report, Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective and the Continuous Update Project (CUP), an ongoing program that analyzes global research on how diet, nutrition and physical activity affect cancer risk and survival.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
AICR is particularly supportive of the new recommendation to limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day for men, which is a reduction from the previous recommendation of no more than two drinks per day for men. The new limit for men mirrors the existing recommendation for women. AICR has strong evidence that alcohol is directly linked to at least six different types of cancer. To reduce cancer risk, it is best not to drink alcohol.
Incorporate More Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables; Less Red and Processed Meats
AICR’s evidence supports the DGAC’s recommendation to eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and to limit consumption of red and processed meats. Consumption of whole grains and high fiber foods, which includes many fruits and vegetables, can decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. Limiting the consumption of red and processed meats can decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.
Reduce Added Sugar Consumption
The current 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that no more than 10 percent of total daily caloric intake be from added sugars. Evidence from AICR’s Energy Balance and Body Fatness report shows that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks, which are high in added sugars, increases the risk of weight gain, overweight and obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of AICR’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations, as excess body fat is linked to 12 different cancers. AICR supports the updated recommendation from the DGAC to further limit added sugar intake.
AICR will continue to engage in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans development process until the guidelines are published by the USDA and HHS later this year.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer. World Cancer Report, 2014. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press, 2014
- Islami F, Goding Sauer A, Miller KD, et al. Proportion and number of cancer cases and deaths attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors in the United States. CA Cancer J Clin. 2018;68(1):31-54.
- WCRF/AICR. Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Cancer: A Global Perspective. Third Expert Report. May 2018. Available at http://www.aicr.org/cancer-research/dietandcancerreport/.
About the American Institute for Cancer Research
Our vision: We want to live in a world where no one develops a preventable cancer.
Our mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.
We have contributed over $109 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospital and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations, at aicr.org.