The new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans continues to recommend adults consume three servings of low-fat or fat free dairy products, especially milk and yogurt.
The Guidelines, now in their 8th edition and revised every five years, were released this morning by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines provides individuals with the flexibility to make healthy food choices that are right for them and their families, and take advantage of the diversity of products available, thanks to America’s farmers and ranchers,” says Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary.
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The eating recommendations fall into five overarching guidelines:
- Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
- Focus on a variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats to no more than 10% of total calories, and sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams/day.
- Choose healthy foods and beverages.
- Support healthy eating patterns for all.
“Overall, the Guidelines are good for dairy and are not dramatically different from 2010,” says Greg Miller, Chief Science Officer for the National Dairy Council.
“There is a strong emphasis that dairy foods are under-consumed, and that there is a need for more dairy products in the diet, particularly milk and yogurt,” he says.
The guidelines also list four nutrients of concern that Americans are not getting enough of: Calcium, potassium, vitamin D and fiber. The first three are all contained in dairy products.
The other good news is that the Guidelines say eating some dairy products with additional sugar, such as flavored milk and sweetened yogurts, is OK as long as the total diet doesn’t exceed calorie limits.
The only concern, says Miller, is that the calorie limits are very strict because of the obesity crisis in America. “While the guidelines allow for flexibility, individuals will have very few additional calories left over and it will be hard for people to follow,” he says.
But the other thing to remember is that the Guidelines are targeted toward policy makers and nutritionists, not the average consumer. And these are not guidelines for treating disease, but simply following a healthy diet and lifestyle, Miller says.