NCA Update: 2020 US Dietary Guidelines Scientific Review

Setting the stage for the next evolution in dietary guidance to Americans for 2020-2025

Editor’s note: The connection between lifestyle and health is increasingly being recognized by the medical and scientific communities. We know that diet, exercise habits, and smoking and alcohol consumption impact our health. And as the science continues to advance, it seems there are new discoveries weekly.

To help Americans make healthy food and beverage choices, the U.S. Government issues Dietary Guidelines, which in the past have been communicated by USDA guides such as the Food Guide Pyramid and MyPlate.

When the USDA last undertook this exercise, the NCA formally recommended that the healthy aspects of coffee be recognized – and they were.  The 2015-2020 Guidelines acknowledge that coffee can be part of a healthy diet.

And the process to update these guidelines is now well underway.

By Dr. Mark Corey, Director of Scientific & Government Affairs, National Coffee Association

Over the past two days, I attended the meeting of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) in Washington, DC, focused on creating the protocol and guidelines shaping US nutrition and guidance to Americans for the next 5 years.

Panels of experts are examining every aspect of the American diet, inside and out, and have outlined their process for evaluating the science-based evidence. Subcommittees are focused on a range of topics such as dietary patterns and looking across different age groups from birth to older adults.

The goal is for the DGAC to provide recommendations to the USDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue the US Dietary Guidelines. Their guidance is intended to help promote health and reduce chronic disease risk.


This is my second time attending the meetings. The DGAC has shown tremendous effort and diligence in their effort to disclose their process for review and evaluation of the science. Their new approach emphasizes transparency – reflecting a trend we’re seeing across the scientific community.

From an industry perspective, it is important for us and our industry to understand the framework that they’re using, top priority areas, and to ensure that the committee is fully aware of the available coffee and health literature.

It goes back to the science – and ultimately, we all want to benefit the consumer with the most accurate information possible.

As industry an advocate, the role of the NCA to ensure that the DGAC has the latest and most complete information about coffee and health – which is overwhelmingly positive.  The research on coffee and health is not funded by the NCA or the coffee industry.


The NCA will be submitting comments to the DGAC by July 24, guided by input from the NCA Science Leadership Council.

After this period of review, the DGAC will meet approximately 3 more times to examine the science related to their priority topics and questions on nutrition and health

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will reconvene on October 24-25, 2019, with the full schedule and registration details available here. The 2020-2025 US Dietary Guidelines are expected to be released by December 2020.

If you are an NCA member, your support makes our work possible.  If you aren’t yet, we welcome your membership as we work to serve the coffee community. 

And if you are a coffee drinker, you can be confident that the research is clear: coffee is part of a healthy lifestyle.

For more information, see the interactive timeline of the committee’s work and common questions. Leave your comments for the NCA below, or reach out to

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