U.S. dairy producer and processor groups this week urged a scientific advisory panel working on the next round of federal dietary guidelines to keep the recommendation of three daily servings of dairy products for most Americans, since dairy products are the No. 1 source of nine key nutrients.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is a group of nutrition experts who review nutrition research to make recommendations. The second meeting of the group was held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
Since the Dietary Guidelines for Americans serve as the basis for federal nutrition programs, including school meals, and also for the government’s communication regarding food and nutrition, their impact can be widespread. Following the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA will finalize the messages of the Dietary Guidelines, which are updated every five years.
The current 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans increase their intake of low-fat and fat-free dairy products to reach three servings of dairy for adults, two and one-half servings of dairy for children between the ages of four and eight and two servings for children ages two and three.
NMPF: dairy irreplaceable
“Dairy foods are uniquely nutrient-rich and virtually irreplaceable in the diet if we want to meet nutrient recommendations,” said National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Vice President for Nutrition Beth Briczinski. “We strongly urge the committee to maintain the current recommendation of three daily servings of dairy, and to focus on the serious public health problem of under-consumption of milk and dairy products.”
Briczinski reminded the group that milk, cheese, and yogurt contribute more than half the calcium and vitamin D in the American diet, and are the primary source of seven other essential nutrients in children’s diets: phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, B12, D, and riboflavin. In fact, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) found that when foods from the milk group were removed from model food patterns, intakes of calcium, vitamin D, and three other important nutrients fell below the goals.
“Even if calcium levels can be maintained with alternative foods, the levels of other nutrients such as protein, potassium, and vitamin D are adversely affected – there is simply no substitute for dairy,” she said. “Americans have major shortfalls in recommended milk consumption starting at four years of age. None of us should find that acceptable.”