Skip to main content

Despite Recommendation, New Dietary Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption Unchanged

January 04, 2021

Despite recommendations last June from an advisory committee, the latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, jointly released by the federal departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, maintain the guidance on alcohol consumption found in previous versions of the document.

Last summer, the committee—a panel comprised of outside experts—published a recommendation that men should cut back alcohol consumption to one drink per day instead of two, matching the guidance on alcohol consumption for women. The advisory committee had been under close scrutiny for ties to the food and beverage industry, which would be impacted by the guidance.

“It seems public health won out,” Jessi Silverman, a policy associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told Politico in June after the committee released its recommendation, “but we’re still watching closely to see how these are translated into the 2020 guidelines.”

Silverman’s skepticism proved to be justified. The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans released last week ultimately did not heed the recommendations of the committee on two fronts: harder stances on alcohol consumption and added sugars. Instead, officials from the USDA and HHS cited a lack of evidence for setting the stricter limits that had been recommended and said more research was needed.

Back to Top