Dairy Contributes Major Nutrients To American Diet

US - A number of new research studies underscores the important role of dairy foods in the diets of Americans, particularly children. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three daily servings of nutrient-rich, low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt for adults and children nine years of age or older, and two daily servings for children ages two to eight.
calendar icon 10 June 2010
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A recent abstract shows that milk is the leading food source of calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D and potassium in the American diet.

These new findings emphasise the importance of dairy's critical nutritional contribution. Higher dairy consumption as part of a healthy diet leads to higher nutrient intake, as well as better diet quality and bone health, and has been associated with reduced risk of several diseases and conditions: osteoporosis, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

According to a pair of abstracts presented at the American Society for Nutrition's scientific sessions and Annual Meeting as part of the Experimental Biology conference on April 26 and 27, the dairy food group (milk, cheese and yogurt) was found to be not only the top source of calcium (38.6 per cent contribution to overall intake) and vitamin D (52.3 per cent), but also a substantial contributor of phosphorous and potassium.(ii) In addition, the dairy food group was found to be the top contributor of vitamin D in the diets of children 2-18 years old (68.1 percent contribution to overall intake) and adults 19 years and older (46 per cent).

"This new research reinforces that dairy foods play an unparalleled role in delivering an array of key nutrients to the US diet - beyond just calcium," said Victor Fulgoni III, Senior Vice President of Nutrition Impact, and one of the abstracts' authors.

"Without consuming the recommended daily servings of milk and milk products, it can be difficult for most people to meet their nutrient needs. Considering that higher dairy intake is associated with increased nutrient intake and diet quality, as well as numerous health benefits - such as bone health and healthy weight maintenance - these findings support that there's few, if any, substitutes for dairy's incomparable nutritional value."

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