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About Nutrition Notes

Michelle Albee Matto Nutrition Notes Blog offers insight, news and analysis on nutrition, as well as food labeling. The blog is written by Michelle Albee Matto, who worked in IDFA's regulatory department for eight years, most recently as assistant director for nutrition and labeling.

Michelle now works exclusively for IDFA as a nutrition and labeling consultant. Contact her at amfoodnutrition@gmail.com.

Michelle is a registered dietician and holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition from Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Society for Nutrition Education.

Nutrition Notes

  • Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meets Again

    January 24, 2014
    Last week, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) held its second meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines process. This meeting included an opportunity for oral comment from the public. On January 14, I presented oral comments to the DGAC on behalf of IDFA. I emphasized the nutrient density of dairy products and the importance of including dairy in the Dietary Guidelines. I also spoke about the successes by and efforts of the dairy industry to formulate products that are lower in added sugar, fat and sodium. In addition to oral comments from the public, the DGAC meeting also included presentations from each of the five subcommitees, as well as three invited experts regarding sustainability, dietary patterns and the scope of the Dietary Guidelines. Here are two of the issues that will be important to the Dietary Guidelines as a whole, and specifically for dairy.

    Sustainability

    Sustainability and the impact of food choices on the environment represent one of the areas that the DGAC has considered incorporating into the 2015 Dietary Guidelines since its first meeting. The interest continued with a presentation by a speaker invited to address this topic and with a subcommittee tasked with examining research on food safety and sustainability. This topic has not been included in past DGAC reports. Discussions about sustainability focused on the concept that meat and animal products, including dairy, have an overall negative impact on the environment. One of the public commenters was a dairy farmer from Vermont, representing the Innovation Center for U.S. ... Read More
  • 2014 Kicks Off with 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting

    January 07, 2014
    Happy New Year! This will be quite a year for nutrition issues: more work on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrition labeling for restaurant menus, updates to the Nutrition Facts panel and implementation of nutrition standards for competitive foods in schools. January starts off with the second meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee next Monday and Tuesday, January 13 and 14. This is the meeting that was cancelled in October due to the government shutdown. I will be presenting oral comments on behalf of IDFA on Tuesday morning. The meeting will also include presentations by experts and reports from the five subcommittees. These subcommittee reports will help identify the topic areas that have been identified as high priorities for investigation by the committee. If you are interested in observing the meeting, you can still register to attend either in-person or via webinar at www.dietaryguidelines.gov. The meeting agenda and additional information about the Dietary Guidelines can also be found at that website. Read More
  • Listen Up! IDFA’s Labeling Webinars Next Week

    December 05, 2013
    Next week I will be presenting at IDFA’s Labeling Webinar series. Cary Frye, IDFA VP for scientific and regulatory affairs, and I will be discussing labeling basics, as well as labeling claims that can be made on dairy products. We’ll also be covering labeling hot topics, such as hormone labeling, the new gluten-free claims and organic labeling. We’re very happy that Maile Hermida, an associate from Hogan Lovells US LLP, will also be presenting on lawsuits related to natural labeling and other labeling issues. The webinar will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. You can still register and learn more about labeling from the comfort of your own office. Visit the webinar microsite for more details and to register. I hope to “see” you on the webinar next week! Read More
  • For the Love of Food!

    November 04, 2013
    I was one of more than 8,000 attendees at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s (AND’s) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) held last week in Houston, Texas. The sessions always include a variety of topics, some of them very specific to a particular area of dietetics and some that are of wide interest to professionals involved in food and nutrition. While I heard a number of good sessions, I felt like many of them spoke to the same trend: appreciation of food has a place alongside the science of nutrition. Registered Dietitian, Food Network host and lifelong food lover Ellie Krieger gave a historical perspective of the nutrition field, showing that some of the earliest dietitians were just as interested in culinary matters and enjoyment of food as the specific substances that people eat. While nutrition has become much more of a science, focused on intakes of nutrients and food-based substances, Krieger urged the audience to consider the enjoyment of food, particularly healthy food, as much as an important part of nutrition as the exact intake of specific nutrients. Another session examined what causes people to select particular foods and make other food-related decisions, including many of the psychological and sensual reasons for food choices. Many registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs got into the field of dairy foods because they love food in general or dairy foods specifically (maybe cheese or ice cream?). While it’s so easy to get caught up in the little details of the job, maybe we can ... Read More
  • Help in the Fight Against Hunger

    September 16, 2013
    Before I worked for IDFA, I worked at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), one of the organizations leading the fight against hunger in the United States.  FRAC’s approach to reducing hunger is to ensure that the federal nutrition programs are widely available to the people in need of them,  and these programs help people get access to healthy foods like dairy products. These federal nutrition programs include the school meal programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.  There certainly has been a great overlap between my former and current work. Another anti-hunger organization, Feeding America , is a coalition of food banks across the United States.  This month, Feeding America is coordinating Hunger Action Month to encourage awareness of hunger and action toward reducing the rate of hunger in this country. USDA released a report this month, estimating the number of Americans who experience hunger or food insecurity.  USDA found that 14.5% of American households were food insecure at some point during 2012, meaning that there was difficulty providing enough food for everyone in the household because of insufficient funds.  More than half of these households use SNAP, WIC or the school lunch program in order to help get the food they need. So this month, celebrate the role that dairy companies play in reducing hunger by being an integral part of federal nutrition programs.  And consider what ... Read More
 
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