Reinforcing the need for a variety of dairy options in the diet, IDFA yesterday submitted written comments on recommendations included in the report recently released by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. In the comments, IDFA suggested a series of small but significant changes that would help consumers to follow the Guidelines and gain the nutrients they need while maintaining a healthy diet.
The report, released last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reaffirmed the need for most Americans (over the age of eight) to consume three servings of lowfat or fat free milk and milk products per day. It also reaffirmed that children ages eight and younger should consume two servings of dairy products. IDFA applauded these recommendations and offered several ways that the Dietary Guidelines could encourage Americans to reach their recommended intake of dairy products.
Nutrient-Dense Dairy Foods
For example, IDFA encouraged USDA to suggest yogurt for breakfast, part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks instead of cookies for snacks and lowfat chocolate milk to replace nutrient-void sweetened beverages. IDFA also recommended including nutrient-dense foods like these in schools, in federal feeding programs and among communities with lower incomes, because the dollar value per nutrient is "excellent."
"Since Americans with lower income often have higher risks of obesity and chronic disease, good nutrition is even more important for them," the comments stated. "If foods and beverages that provide a variety of nutrients, such as dairy products, are affordable, then it is much more likely that people will make a healthier choice."
The lengthy comments offered separate sections on ways to include cheese, milk, yogurt and ice cream into the Dietary Guidelines, all as valuable components of a healthy diet. IDFA also identified the importance of providing a variety of options for those who may be concerned about lactose.
"Small sustainable changes are seen as the best method of helping people make healthier choices that can then improve their long-term health," the comments stated. "Encouraging stepwise changes in American diets will allow for a gradual change in American tastes and additional time for reformulation of foods and beverages that are currently available in the United States market."
In conclusion, IDFA said, "We ask that the agencies use the Dietary Guidelines to provide consumers options to meet the report's nutritional goals with foods that can be readily obtained at a reasonable cost and are enjoyed."
The full comments are available here. Members with questions may contact Michelle Matto, consultant to IDFA, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at email@example.com.
For background details, read these stories:
• IDFA Presents Oral Comments on Dietary Guidelines Report, 7/9/10
• Committee Report Confirms Daily Need for 3 Dairy Servings, 6/18/10
• Associations Request More Time for Dietary Guidelines Comments, 6/25/10