Appendix E-3: USDA Food Pattern for Special Analyses

The 2015 DGAC identified specific questions that they felt could best be addressed through a food pattern modeling approach, using the USDA Food Patterns and the modeling process developed to address similar requests by the 2005 and 2010 DGACs. The approach used for the 2015 DGAC food pattern modeling questions is described in Part C: Methodology.

Seven modeling analyses requested by the Committee were completed by staff working closely with Subcommittee 1 members, and provided as reports for the full Committee to consider. The food pattern modeling analyses conducted for the 2015 DGAC are listed below. Full reports for each analysis are available online through active links within this document at

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Appendix E-3.1

Adequacy of USDA Food Patterns

How well do updated USDA food intake patterns meet IOM Dietary Reference Intakes and 2010 Dietary Guidelines nutrient recommendations? How do the recommended amounts of food groups compare to current distributions of usual intakes for the American population?

Appendix E-3.2

Food Group Contributions to Nutrients in USDA Food Patterns and Current Nutrient Intakes

What is the contribution of whole grain foods and fruits and vegetables to (1) total fiber intake and (2) total nutrient intake in the USDA Food Patterns? What is the contribution of fruits and vegetables to current nutrient intake (focus on nutrients of concern, including fiber)?

Appendix E-3.3

Meeting Vitamin D Recommended Intakes in USDA Food Patterns

Can vitamin D EARs and/or RDAs be met with careful food choices following recommended amounts from each food group in the USDA Food Patterns? How restricted would food choices be, and how much of the vitamin D would need to come from fortified food products?

Appendix E-3.4

USDA Food Patterns—Adequacy for Young Children

How well do the USDA Food Patterns meet the nutritional needs of children 2 to 5 years of age and how do the recommended amounts compare to their current intakes? Given the relatively small empty calorie limit for this age group, how much flexibility is possible in food choices?

Appendix E-3.5

Reducing Saturated Fats in the USDA Food Patterns

What would be the effect on food choices and overall nutrient adequacy of limiting saturated fatty acids to 6 percent of total calories by substituting mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids?

Appendix E-3.6

Dairy Group and Alternatives

What would be the impact on the adequacy of the patterns if (1) no Dairy foods were consumed, (2) if calcium was obtained from nondairy sources (including fortified foods), and (3) if the proportions of milk and yogurt to cheese were modified?

What is the relationship between changes in types of beverages consumed (milk compared with sugar-sweetened beverages) and diet quality?

Appendix E-3.7

Developing Vegetarian and Mediterranean-style Food Patterns

Using the Food Pattern Modeling process, can healthy eating patterns for vegetarians and for those who want to follow a Mediterranean-style diet be developed? How do these patterns differ from the USDA Food Patterns previously updated for the 2015 DGAs??