It's amazing how fast five years flies by. It was just three years ago, in 2005, that USDA's dietary guidelines were upgraded to recommend three servings of dairy a day for every adult.
Those guidelines are up for renewal in 2010, and already anti-dairy and anti-animal advocates are laying the groundwork to turn back the clock on the 3-a-day of dairy recommendation.
The new Dietary Guideline Science Advisory Committee, which makes the official recommendations to USDA, could be appointed as early as next week, says Greg Miller, executive VP of science and research for Dairy Management, Inc. Dairy must defend its position with science, he says.
Research, much of it funded by dairy farmer checkoff dollars, shows that if Americans would increase their dairy intake from their current 1.7 servings per day to three, they'd collectively save $40 billion per year in health care costs. Over five years, that adds up to a whopping $200 billion—not chump change even in today's hyper-charged economy.
The irony in all of this is that the majority of American adults are over-weight but undernourished. We eat too many calories, but don't eat the right kind of nutrients.
"We're trying to change the paradigm—from ‘don't eat fat, don't eat salt, don't eat sugar,' to instead balance your food choices,” says Miller.
Most people understand that dairy foods provide calcium. But they also think it comes with too much fat and too many calories. What they fail to realize is that dairy products also provide eight other essential nutrients along with calcium.
If you eliminate dairy and replace calcium with supplements, your body is still missing those other eight nutrients than can't be easily made up.
What Miller and other researchers are working on is a science-based formula that allows nutrient-rich food, such dairy and meat, to be included in daily diets. The science is behind them, and even the American Academy of Pediatrics supports the concept. Time will tell if they're successful.