The 2015-2020 federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) strongly affirms that dairy has a vital role in a healthy diet and reminds Americans that they will continue to benefit from three daily servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy.
The DGA notes that current intakes of dairy foods for most Americans “are far below recommendations of the Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern,” and they call for a shift to consume more dairy products.
With 8 grams of protein in every 8 ounces, milk is a natural source of high-quality protein, meaning it provides the full mix of essential amino acids our body needs.
Dairy foods offer a unique set of nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium, which most people do not get enough of in their diets.
Because of dairy foods’ nutrient-rich package, it can be challenging for most Americans, mainly those aged nine and older, to meet nutrient recommendations without eating three servings of dairy a day. When foods from the dairy group are removed from daily eating patterns, or replaced with sugar-sweetened beverages, the result is that calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A and riboflavin dropped below 100% of goals. Levels of vitamin D and potassium, as well as choline, also dropped substantially.
The DGA notes “strong evidence shows that healthy eating patterns are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Moderate evidence indicates that healthy eating patterns are also associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, being overweight, and obesity.”
In addition, “research also has linked dairy intake to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents.”