The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) provide nutrition advice for Americans >2 y of age. The 2020-2025 DGA proposes a life stage approach, focusing on birth through older adulthood. Limited recommendations for beverages exist except for milk, 100% fruit juice, and alcohol. The goal of this article is to provide a better understanding of the role of beverages in the diet using current scientific evidence. A Medline search of observational studies, randomized controlled trials, and meta-analyses was undertaken using key beverage words. We highlight the role beverages can play as a part of the DGA and considered beverages not traditionally included, such as those that are phytonutrient dense. Our primary consideration for beverage consumption targeted healthy Americans aged ≥2 y. However, with the proposed expansion to the life span for the 2020-2025 DGA, we also reviewed evidence for infants and toddlers from birth to 24 mo. Examples are provided on how minor changes in beverage choices aid in meeting recommended intakes of certain nutrients. Guidance on beverage consumption may aid in development of better consumer products to meet broader dietary advice. For example, beverage products that are nutrient/phytonutrient dense and lower in sugar could be developed as alternatives to 100% juice to help meet the fruit and vegetable guidelines. Although beverages are not meant to replace foods, e.g., it is difficult to meet the requirements for vitamin E, dietary fiber, or essential fatty acids through beverages alone, beverages are important sources of nutrients and phytonutrients, phenolic acids and flavonoids in particular. When considering the micronutrients from diet alone, mean intakes of calcium (in women), potassium, and vitamins A, C, and D are below recommendations and sodium intakes are well above. Careful beverage choices could close these gaps and be considered a part of a healthy dietary pattern.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics