Eat More Dairy

New federal dietary guidelines call for Americans to increase their consumption of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.

| February 18, 2011

  • Federal guidelines recommend more low-fat and fat-free dairy products for U.S. consumers.
    Federal guidelines recommend more low-fat and fat-free dairy products for U.S. consumers. Gagne

  • Federal guidelines recommend more low-fat and fat-free dairy products for U.S. consumers.

The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) encourages 3 daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products for adults and children 9 years and older. For children ages 4 to 8, the recommendation was increased from 2 to 2.5 servings, and for children ages 2 to 3, the recommendation remains 2 servings. Most Americans fail to meet these recommendations, even though they have been previously established by the DGA and supported by independent health organizations.

The DGA emphasizes the importance of establishing good milk drinking habits at a young age, as those who consume milk at an early age are more likely to do so as adults.

Today, the U.S. dairy industry joins the federal government in urging most Americans to add one more serving of low-fat and fat-free dairy each day as they strive for healthier lifestyles that reflect DGA recommendations. According to the DGA, current evidence shows intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents. In addition, intake of milk and milk products is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure in adults.

The dairy food group (milk, cheese and yogurt) is a substantial contributor of many nutrients in the U.S. diet that are important for good health, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. And milk is the No. 1 food source of three of the four nutrients the DGA identified as lacking in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

The new DGA includes a variety of dietary patterns that support a healthy lifestyle, and dairy foods fit for most everyone. For those who are sensitive to lactose, the DGA recommends low-lactose and lactose-free milk products. For those who follow vegetarian diets, the DGA recommends milk and other dairy foods because they supply essential nutrients that can be hard to get from other foods.

One dairy serving is equal to an 8-ounce glass of white or flavored milk, an 8-ounce cup of yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese or 2 ounces of processed cheese. The DGA emphasizes choosing lower fat options, and there are many affordable and appealing products in the marketplace. The dairy industry is working with farmers, dairy foods companies and consumers to develop an even wider array of products – including cheeses with lower sodium and fat levels and flavored milk with less added sugar – that can help Americans meet the 2010 DGA recommendations without compromising on taste.

Janet M.
2/18/2011 2:51:07 PM

I totally agree with Kim H. Grit loses credibility with articles like this. I thought Grit supported healthy farming practices both for humans and animals. True "grit" is getting out there in the cold mornings milking your own cow/goats that are properly raised or supporting those that do, not supporting the big industrial food giants. Grit is drinking the pasteurized "koolaid".

Kim H.
2/18/2011 10:15:10 AM

The only good milk is raw, organic milk the way God intended, all the rest is "fast food" and is dentremental to good health. Prossessed milk is big business with large profits. Because Grit sides with the commercial milk industry and it's lies for profit I will no longer support Grit and will forward this to all my friends.

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