Johanna T Dwyer DSc, RD, Tufts University, Boston MA

Johanna T. Dwyer

Johanna T. Dwyer

Johanna Dwyer D.Sc., RD is Professor of Medicine (Nutrition) and Community Health at the Tufts University Medical School, Adjunct Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and Senior Scientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University where she works at the Tufts Medical Center. For the past 30 years her research has focused on nutrition across the life cycle and nutrition policy. Her current research involves population-based studies on intakes of various bioactives in foods and supplements and their effects on health outcomes. She is the author or coauthor of more than 300 research and 400 review articles and three books, and editor of Nutrition Today. Dr. Dwyer has served on many committees, including the 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Scientific Advisory Committee. She is an elected member of the Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, Medicine and Sciences, and a past president of both the Society for Nutrition Education and the American Society of Nutrition (then the American Institute of Nutrition). In the past few years she received the Trailblazer Award of the IFT / AND, the Excellence in Nutrition Education Award from the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), and gave the WO Atwater Award lecture. She received her DSc and MSc from the Harvard School of Public Health, MS from the University of Wisconsin, and a BS with distinction from Cornell University. Currently in addition to her position at Tufts, she also serves as a Senior Nutrition Scientist (contractor) at the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health.


October 25, 2018, 4:00 PM


Berg Auditorium


Challenges and Opportunities in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines…. And where do mushrooms fit?

After nearly 40 years, the process for developing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has changed dramatically. Many innovations are being implemented in the guidelines development process now underway, that have implications for nutrition and food science and policy. First, we briefly review how this new dietary guidelines process differs in focus (birth to 24 months of age as well as pregnancy and lactation now included), in more rigorous standards of evidence, and in the processes it uses. Congressional directives and the recommendations of two seminal reports of the National Academy of Sciences that provide the basis for many of the changes now taking place and work done so far by the federal steering committee, is summarized. This includes the criteria and priorities for the questions the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will be asked to answer, as well as what has been excluded and included from consideration. Next steps moving forward will be briefly summarized, including the selection of the Advisory Committee and timeline for production of reports. Second, we focus on some challenges confronting the guidelines process. These include the scope of the guidelines (should agricultural production and environmental issues like sustainability be covered?), the substance of the recommendations product itself (quality of the evidence available) to set food based dietary guidelines, adequacy of evidence and modeling, exclusion of dietary supplements, inclusion of additional issues such as food safety, sustainability and food processing, and the desirability of pretesting guidelines before releasing them, (or at least testing them after release), and issues involving the process itself (the time and money involved), dealing with conflicts of interest, avoiding overpoliticization of the process, balancing evidence based and eminence based aspects of recommendations, and deciding how frequently the guidelines should be revised. We conclude with the question of how the mushroom, a healthy biologically unique and nutritionally distinct food, fits into Dietary Guidelines related education and information, and what strategies for promoting their use might be considered moving forward. Certainly, it is important to capitalize upon the mushroom's great versatility and to mix and match with other foods. It is blessed with a beneficial composition, which includes both nutrients (especially vits D2, and selenium, fiber and others) and bioactives (such as ergothioneine and glutathione) that are present, and other components that are absent such as saturated fat and cholesterol. Surely mushrooms deserve a larger share of American plates!