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IDFA Calls for Dietary Guidelines Committee to Review Full-Fat Dairy Research

Apr 04, 2018

Officials in the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services (HHS) last month asked for stakeholder input on proposed priority topics and related scientific questions that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) will consider when making recommendations for the updates to the Dietary Guidelines. In comments submitted last week, IDFA urged the departments to consider research related to the role of milkfat in a healthy diet.

Specifically, IDFA asked USDA and HHS to consider, “What is the relationship between consumption of full fat dairy products and health outcomes, including risk of chronic disease and on achieving nutrient and food group recommendations?” IDFA submitted the question in response to the proposed topic to consider research on the types of saturated fat and their potential link to chronic disease.

“A growing body of emerging research has shown the role of milkfat in the diet and health is different from saturated fats from other sources,” IDFA said, adding that the number of studies on milkfat has expanded since the advisory committee’s scientific review for the 2015 guidelines. The current 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines urge Americans to consume low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

IDFA made several other recommendations in the comments. It urged USDA and HHS to consider milk’s nutrients in both the beverage and dairy group categories and to consider nutrient density when assessing dairy products with added sugars. In addition, IDFA asked the departments to consider research on feeding yogurt to infants starting at 6 months of age, a recommendation that aligns with other USDA guidance.

Read IDFA’s comments here.


Next Steps

USDA and HHS will finalize the priority topics and related scientific questions and use them to determine what kind of experts should serve on the new DGAC. The committee members, which will be a variety of top nutrition and medical researchers, academics and practitioners, will create recommendations based on the priority topics and questions.

USDA and HHS will use the DGAC’s recommendations, as well as future written and oral comments from the public, to craft the final 2020 Dietary Guidelines.

For more information, members may contact Michelle Matto, R.D.N., IDFA’s nutrition and labeling consultant, at

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