2025 Dietary Guidelines: Examining the Evidence
The 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is using three approaches to review the scientific evidence on nutrition and health: data analysis, food pattern modeling, and systematic reviews. Each approach has its own rigorous, protocol-driven methodology, and plays a unique, complementary role in examining the science.
Data Analysis for the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
Data analysis uses statistical methods to analyze national data sets to describe the current health and dietary intakes in the United States. This approach helps the Committee ensure its recommendations are practical, relevant, and achievable. The Committee is using data analysis to describe the following:
- Current patterns of food and beverage consumption;
- Current intake of food groups, nutrients, and dietary components;
- Nutrients and/or dietary components of public health concern;
- Prevalence of nutrition-related chronic health conditions.
Federal staff will analyze data sets and deliver the findings to the Committee to inform results and conclusions in the Scientific Report. The Committee will inform the analytic approaches using a health equity lens to ensure the data describes and considers factors such as socioeconomic position, food security, race/ethnicity, and culture.
Food Pattern Modeling for the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
The 2025 Committee is using food pattern modeling to answer the following overarching scientific question:
Considering each life stage, should changes be made to the USDA Dietary Patterns (Healthy U.S.-Style, Healthy Mediterranean-Style, and/or Healthy Vegetarian), and should additional Dietary Patterns be developed/proposed based on:
- Findings from systematic reviews, data analysis, and/or food pattern modeling analyses; and/or
- Population norms (e.g., starchy vegetables are often consumed interchangeably with grains), preferences (e.g., emphasis on one staple grain versus another), or needs (e.g., lactose intolerance) of the diverse communities and cultural foodways within the U.S. population?
Changes to Dietary Patterns may include increases or decreases in amounts of food groups/subgroups and/or recategorization of food groups/subgroups, as well as subsequent changes to calories available for other uses, including for added sugars.
Systematic Reviews for the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
A Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review (NESR) systematic review is a gold-standard evidence synthesis project that answers a nutrition question of public health importance using systematic, transparent, rigorous, and protocol-driven methods to search for, evaluate, synthesize, and grade the strength of the eligible body of evidence. This approach allows the Committee to answer high priority scientific questions by reviewing evidence from all relevant studies that have been published on a particular topic.
USDA’s NESR team is supporting the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in conducting original systematic reviews. The Committee will use NESR’s rigorous and transparent methodology to conduct and/or update systematic reviews. NESR’s systematic review methodology involves:
- developing a systematic review protocol,
- searching for and screening articles,
- extracting data from and assessing the risk of bias of each included article,
- grading the evidence underlying the conclusion statement(s), and
- recommending future research.
Please visit the NESR website for more information about NESR and its methodology.