Michelle Matto, a registered dietician and consultant to IDFA, presented oral comments on IDFA's behalf at a public meeting held yesterday to discuss recent recommendations for updating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. More than 200 people attended the meeting, held by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and 50 people provided comments on the final report recently released by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
"We applaud the committee's continued recommendation that Americans over the age of eight consume three servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy products per day, while children eight and younger consume two servings," Matto told USDA officials. "We were especially pleased to see the report identify milk and milk products as a category of foods whose intake should be increased."
She emphasized that dairy products are the major contributors of calcium, potassium and vitamin D - three of the four nutrients of concern with public health implications that the committee identified in the report. Yet milk consumption has decreased by 33 percent since 1970, while the amount of carbonated soft drinks that are available has increased by 20 percent from 1984 to 2008, Matto added.
Help Consumers by Providing Options
"We ask that you take into account the availability and variety of choices that can help consumers meet the increased recommendations of low-fat and nonfat dairy products," Matto said. She explained that milk and dairy products with added sugar, such as chocolate milk and yogurt, as well as other nutrient-rich dairy products, such as reduced-fat cheeses, should be considered as options to help increase the palatability and intake of dairy foods.
"We ask that you consider providing consumers options to meet the Dietary Guidelines with foods that can be readily obtained and enjoyed," she concluded.
Written comments on the report are due by July 15. Because of the short timeframe, IDFA will circulate draft comments for review to members of its Nutrition Working Group and request feedback within a day or two. Members that do not participate in the working group but would like to read the draft comments may contact Matto at email@example.com.
USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services will use the report recommendations, along with comments received, 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.
IDFA's comments are available here.
Read these previous articles for background: