When the new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are released later this year, it appears dairy will keep its prominent seat at the table in USDA’s diet recommendations.
While not yet finalized, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee shared its concluding deliberations and decisions in a webcast last week. The group will submit a scientific advisory report to USDA and the Health and Human Services Department later this month, and the goal is to release the new guidelines by the end of 2020.
In the draft of the guidelines, dairy maintains its three servings a day status. Many of the dietary patterns mentioned that are associated with better health outcomes contain dairy, particularly low-fat and fat-free varieties.
Some of the key nutrients focused on by the committee including vitamin D, calcium, dietary fiber, and potassium are prominent in dairy. Health professionals encourage people to eat more foods that contain these nutrients, and there is room for dairy to fill this need. In fact, the draft points out that dairy is an underconsumed food group by most Americans.
The committee shared new evidence that further solidified dairy’s role in maintaining bone health, and it reiterated that there is no found linkage between dairy foods and breast cancer. It also dismissed the theory that a mother’s consumption of dairy could lead to asthma in children.
For the first time, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will include recommendations for pregnant women and children from birth to 24 months. For babies, the recommendation includes small amounts of food starting at 6 months of age, and dairy products are part of that list. As children grow, dairy provides many of the recommended nutrients toddlers need to develop.
Much like in 2015, the committee continued to promote low-fat and fat-free dairy products. It did not, however, endorse full-fat dairy, despite recent studies that have shed positive light on dairy foods of all fat levels.
The dietary guidelines do not only guide individuals in healthy eating; they also set the standards for federal initiatives such as national school breakfast and lunch programs. This is one of the many reasons it is vital that dairy remains a focal point of the USDA’s healthy food recommendations when they are released later this year.