Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) release a set of Guidelines that offer Americans healthy eating advice. The Guidelines become the cornerstone of Federal nutrition policy planning and nutrition education activities.
With the release of the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines (DGA), the diet and health recommendations now fall into two overarching focus areas: maintaining calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight, and focusing on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages – both areas of high importance for milk and milk products.
The Guidelines continue to emphasize lowfat and fat free milk and milk products as foods to increase – even upping the recommendation for kids ages 4-8. Following are some key milk-related points from the Guidelines:
- Milk Recommendations: The DGA emphasize the importance of establishing good milk drinking habits at a young age, and continue to promote fat free and lowfat milk and milk products. The Guidelines urge Americans to “Switch to fat free or lowfat (1%) milk.”
- Daily Recommendations:
(increased from past recommendations)
|Children and adults 9 and older
- Nutrients of Concern: The DGA identify the top four “nutrients of concern” – the nutrients in America’s diets which are most lacking, and linked to public health. Milk is the top source of three out of four of these nutrients – calcium, vitamin D and potassium (the fourth nutrient of concern is fiber).
- Lactose Intolerance: The Guidelines continue to suggest milk products (low-lactose or lactose-free) as the first choice for consuming the many nutrients provided by milk.
- Vegetarian and Other Diets: For those who follow vegetarian diets, the DGA recommends milk and other dairy foods because they supply essential nutrients that can be hard to get from other foods. Milk is also included in the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), a sample healthy diet included in the report.
- Added Sugars: The guidelines strongly recommend reducing the intake of sugar sweetened beverages including soda, juice drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks. Flavored milk is acknowledged as an exception, suggesting the use of added sugars helps to increase the palatability of nutrient-dense foods, such as the added sugars in fat free chocolate milk.
The USDA plans to release consumer education materials in line with the Guidelines to help Americans incorporate the recommendations and advice into practice.
Full 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Report
2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Executive Summary
Supermarket RD Resources
Read, download and request information for use in store, or at events.
Milk + Nutrition
- Each 8-ounce serving of milk — white or flavored — provides 300 mg of calcium, about one-third to one-fourth of the daily calcium requirement for children.
- Providing a powerful nutrition package of nine essential nutrients including calcium, protein and potassium, milk is the perfect beverage for today's kids and teens.
- Studies1 demonstrate that when children drink milk at lunch, they have a higher intake of several critical nutrients, including calcium, zinc and vitamin A. In one study, only those children drinking milk at lunch were able to meet their daily calcium requirement.
- In another study, children who avoided milk were found to be more likely to experience fractures and be overweight.
Milk's Role in Kids' and Teens' Diets
- Childhood obesity is nearing epidemic proportions, having tripled in the past two decades. A study suggests children's beverage choices play as great a role in childhood obesity as the foods they eat. Sodas and fruit drinks provide more calories to a teen's diet than any single food; they provide about 13% of a child's total calories — more than cakes, cookies and other sugary foods.
- A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health2 found that children ages 6-17 who consumed more than 6-8 ounces of flavored dairy products, such as milks, yogurts, ice creams and puddings, each day had better diets than those who regularly drank sodas and sweetened fruit drinks.
- A University of Vermont3 study found that children who drank flavored milk were more likely to meet their daily calcium requirements compared to their peers. The flavored milk drinkers consumed more calcium, without increasing their total added sugar or fat intake. Children and teens who drank flavored milk consumed more milk overall.
- Kids are making the switch to sodas and sugary fruit drinks as they get older. Flavored milk may be a good strategy to prevent the switch from milk to soft drinks. It's important to reverse this trend and flavored milk can help children and teens meet calcium recommendations without increasing the amount of added sugars in their diets.
- Flavored milk is a popular choice for teens and it provides less than 2 percent of total added sugars. Studies show teenagers who drink more milk instead of sodas tend to weigh less and have less body fat.
- Milk and milk product consumption in adolescent girls is not associated with a higher body mass index or an increase in percentage of body fat. In fact, teen girls who consumed four 8-ounce glasses of milk a day had one-eighth inch slimmer waistlines than those who drank soda.4
- In children ages 2-8, higher dietary calcium intake from calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese and yogurt is associated with a lower percentage of body fat.5
1 Johnson, R.K. et al. Journal of Child Nutrition and Management. 1998; 2:95
2 Frary, C.D. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2004; 34:56-63
3 Johnson, R.K. et al. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2002; 102:853-56
4 Novotny, R. et al. Journal of Nutrition. 2004; 134(8): 1905-1909
5 Skinner, J.D. et al. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2003; 103(12): 1626-1631