Dec 30, 2020 - Health

U.S. unveils first dietary guidelines for infants and toddlers

Black and white picture of a child blowing his birthday candles surrounded by cookies, candy and other sweets and snacks while another boy looks at the camera

Photo: Harold M. Lambert/Getty Images

For the first time, the highly influential dietary guidelines from the federal government feature recommendations for babies and toddlers

Why it matters: "The dietary guidelines, which are updated every five years ... shape school lunch programs, mold state and local health-promotion efforts, and influence what food companies produce," the Wall Street Journal notes.

The big picture: Babies should be fed exclusively breast milk for their first six months and receive a supplement of vitamin D.

  • Children under two should avoid added sugars and high levels of sodium at all costs.
  • No cake, ice cream candy, or chips should be given before their second birthday.

Between the lines: The latest guidelines declined to follow recommendations for cuts on sugar and alcohol intake, the Journal notes.

  • The advisory committee of researchers and doctors recommended cutting added sugars from 10% to 6% of daily calories. That was rejected.
  • They also advised lowering the recommendation for alcoholic drinks for men from 2 to 1 per day. That was rejected.

The other side: “[T}he new evidence is not substantial enough to support changes to quantitative recommendations for either added sugars or alcohol,” USDA deputy undersecretary Brandon Lipps said.

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