In February, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released a scientific report with their initial recommendations. After public comment and additional discussion, those recommendations will form the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Why does this matter?
Nutrients of Concern
The report lists the main nutrients of concern (i.e. nutrients not being consumed in sufficient amounts by Americans) as vitamin D, calcium, potassium and fiber. Milk remains the number-one food source of three of these four nutrients of concern (vitamin D, calcium and potassium).
For the first time in history, the advisory committee included and gave a green light to caffeine consumption due to its health benefits, including decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The coffee market is one that helps Americans consume more dairy and boost nutrition in their diets due to so many specialty coffee drinks containing milk. The average coffee drinker drinks more than 2 cups per day and 75 percent of coffee drinkers prefer a specialty coffee drink over a regular cup of coffee. In addition, 86 percent of the regular coffee drinkers add some form of dairy (such as milk, cream, or half and half) to their black cup of joe.
The committee took milk alternatives head-on in their report and their findings leaned in favor of real dairy milk.
They found dairy consumption to be associated with decreased risks of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. More importantly, they found that when real dairy milk is replaced by a milk alternative, the consumer’s vital nutrient levels—specifically in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, riboflavin, potassium and vitamin D—fall below recommended levels.
The final version of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will be released at the end of the year, but this scientific report gives us a glimpse into what it will contain. Based on this advisory committee report, it appears likely that the guidelines will continue to support dairy and real dairy milk in the diets of Americans.
Lanier Dabruzzi, MS, RD, LD