The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans should encourage flexible eating patterns that are based on nutrient-dense foods, including dairy foods, IDFA said in comments filed last week with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Because dairy foods provide nutrients that are under-consumed by most Americans and are associated with numerous health benefits, IDFA called for the Dietary Guidelines to encourage Americans to eat or drink one more serving of dairy each day.

IDFA highlighted the importance of clearly communicating the goals of the Dietary Guidelines to consumers, saying the messages should be positive, simple to understand and easy to follow so that Americans will be encouraged to make healthy choices based on the government’s recommendations. IDFA also encouraged USDA and HHS to make the Dietary Guidelines flexible enough to allow people to select some nutrient-dense foods that have some saturated fat, added sugar or sodium as long as they meet their recommended calorie levels.

Dairy Fits All Healthy Diets, Including Sustainable Ones

IDFA filed the comments in response to the recommendations issued earlier this year by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. For the first time, the committee also chose to consider sustainability and the impact that food production has on the environment while creating its recommendations.

In the comments, IDFA pointed out that a thorough study of sustainability requires the consideration of the economic, social and environmental impacts of a dietary pattern, but the committee’s limited review only focused on the environmental impact. In addition, IDFA noted that each of the dietary patterns recommended by the committee includes two to three daily servings of dairy and provides a diet that is more sustainable than those followed by most Americans today. Overall, IDFA emphasized that dairy foods and beverages can be served in any healthy diet, including a sustainable one.

Next Steps

USDA and HHS will use the committee’s report, as well as written and oral comments from the public, to craft the final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines are expected to be released before the end of the year. In addition to serving as the core nutritional messages from the federal government, the Dietary Guidelines are also the basis for the nutritional standards of the federal nutrition programs, such as school meals.

For more information, contact Michelle Matto, IDFA’s consultant on nutrition and labeling, at