New federal dietary guidelines call for Americans to increase their consumption of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.
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.
For scientific information on the role of dairy foods in lifelong health, visit the website of the National Dairy Council.
National Dairy Council® is the nutrition research, education and communications arm of Dairy Management Inc™. On behalf of U.S. dairy farmers, NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier society, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, Virginia, develops and carries out policies that advance the well being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF's 31 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 40,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit the NMPF website for more information.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. For more information, visit the IDFA’s website.
The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, through MilkPEP, runs the National Milk Mustache "got milk?"(R) Campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the health benefits of milk. For more information, go to the MilkPEP website. Deutsch, A Lowe and Partners Company, is the creative agency for the National Milk Mustache "got milk?"(R) Campaign.