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NMPF Urges Focus on Dairy in Diets at Federal Guidelines Hearing

February 5, 2014

The federal government has begun a year-long process of updating its guidelines for what Americans should eat. NMPF urged the advisory panel working on the next edition of the government’s basic nutrition advice to continue recommending three servings of dairy products a day for most Americans.

“Dairy foods are uniquely nutrient-rich and virtually irreplaceable in the diet if we want to meet nutrient recommendations,” Beth Briczinski, Vice President for Dairy Foods & Nutrition, said. “We strongly urge the (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) to maintain the current recommendation of three daily servings of dairy, and to focus on the serious public health problem of under-consumption of milk and dairy products.”

Briczinski reminded the group that milk, cheese, and yogurt contribute more than half the calcium and vitamin D in the American diet, and are the number-one source of seven other essential nutrients in children’s diets: phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, B12, D, and riboflavin.

“Even if calcium levels can be maintained with alternative foods, the levels of other nutrients such as protein, potassium, and vitamin D are adversely affected,” she said.

Briczinski told the panel research published since 2010 has strengthened the case that dairy helps reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, “The good news is that if people who under-consume dairy would add even one serving a day, that would bring average daily intakes of Americans much closer to meeting Dietary Guideline recommendations,” she said.

Briczinski spoke at the second of two days of hearings on the 2015 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines are issued jointly by the departments of Agriculture, and Health and Human Services every five years.