The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Heath and Human Services this week released a final report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that reaffirmed the need for most Americans (ages nine and older) to consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products per day. It also reaffirmed that children ages eight and younger should consume two servings of these products to get the nutrition they need.
HHS and USDA will use the report recommendations, along with comments received from the public, including the food industry, to update the current Dietary Guidelines. The 2010 version is expected to be released by the end of this year. The Dietary Guidelines serve as the official government recommendations for how Americans should eat and provide the basis for the all federal nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch Program.
Lowfat, Fat-Free Milk Well Positioned
"Low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products are positively positioned in the report with the explicit recommendation for Americans to increase their consumption to recommended amounts. The committee noted that Americans currently are only consuming 52 percent of the recommended amounts," said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs. "The report also affirmed that it is especially important to encourage young children to drink milk, because those who consume milk as children are more likely to continue to do so through adulthood."
Vitamin D, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber were identified in the final report as nutrients that Americans are under consuming, and the dairy group provides three of these nutrients. In addition, the report maintains the recommendation for those with lactose intolerance to look within the dairy group first for lactose-reduced or low-lactose dairy products to meet their calcium needs.
The overall goal of the report is to reduce the levels of obesity in the American population, particularly children. To that end, the report focused on the need to encourage people to consume nutrient-dense foods; shift eating patterns to a more plant-based diet; reduce consumption of added sugars, solid fats (which includes milkfat) and sodium; and increase physical activity.
IDFA will continue to analyze the 1,000-plus-page report, with special emphasis on the possible impact it may have on certain dairy products, including regular cheese and sugar-sweetened dairy products such as flavored milks, yogurts and frozen desserts.
Written comments on the report are due by July 15, 2010, and there is a public meeting scheduled for July 8 in Washington D.C. to present oral comments. IDFA plans to submit comments regarding the report.
The entire report and list of committee members is available here.
For more information, contact Michelle Matto, IDFA assistant director of nutrition and labeling, at firstname.lastname@example.org.