New Science Further Supports Dairy as Major Nutrient Contributor to American Diet

Thursday, June 10, 2010 Diet & Nutrition News
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ROSEMONT, Ill., June 9 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 9 years of age or older, and 2 daily servings for children ages 2-8.(i) A recent abstract shows that milk is the leading food source of calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D and potassium in the American diet.(ii) These new findings emphasize 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,(iii, iv, v, vi, vii), hypertension,(vii, viii, ix, x, xi, xii), obesity,(vii, xiii, xiv, xv, xvi, xvii, xviii, xix) metabolic syndrome(vii, xx, xxi, xxii, xxiii) and diabetes.(xxiv)

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 percent contribution to overall intake) and vitamin D (52.3 percent), 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 percent).(xxv)

"This new research reinforces that dairy foods play an unparalleled role in delivering an array of key nutrients to the U.S. diet - beyond just calcium," said Victor L. Fulgoni III, Senior Vice President of Nutrition Impact, L.L.C., 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."

Dairy Foods Help Close America's Nutrition Gap

Many Americans, including children, are overweight(xxvi, xxvii) and undernourished,(i, xxviii, xxix) and nutrient-rich dairy foods supply three of the five nutrients youth don't get enough of according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans - calcium, potassium, and magnesium - as well as protein and vitamin D. As a result, encouraging children and adolescents to meet the recommendation for dairy foods can help ensure they get the nutrients needed for growth and good health.

Early Dairy Consumption Can Make Long-Term Impact

To help youth get the nutrients they need throughout life, it's crucial that they adopt healthy eating practices early. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends increased intake of the Food Groups to Encourage (FGTE) - low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Consuming foods from these groups helps individuals meet their needs for shortfall nutrients, but most Americans, including children, do not consume the recommended amounts of the FGTE. As children move into adolescence, dairy foods may be one way to help increase their consumption of the FGTE. A new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management found that visible addition of cheese to various school lunch menu offerings may help increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables or whole grains compared to when cheese is not paired with them; therefore, potentially helping to increase total nutrient intake to improve diet quality.(xxx)

"This study indicates the role cheese may play in helping youth get nutrients that are key to their overall health and wellness and can encourage them to consume a wide array of important food groups, including more fruits, vegetables and whole grains," said Joseph Donnelly, Ed.D., Director, Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management at University of Kansas and one of the study's authors. "Dairy foods are important sources of nutrients for children, teens and adults - such as calcium, protein, vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium - and when consumed at a young age, contribute to more healthful eating habits."

Another new study echoes the importance of emphasizing healthful diet patterns at a young age, including milk consumption. The study, recently published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that what children drink early in life can be indicative of nutrient intake and beverage choice during teenage years.(xxxi) Researchers found that girls who drank soda at age 5 had higher subsequent soda consumption and lower milk intake in later years, resulting in a higher consumption of added sugars and lower intakes of protein, fiber, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium from ages 5 to 15 years, as compared to girls who did not consume soda at that age.

Taking Action

This abundance of new research adds to the growing body of science supporting milk and milk products as important sources of nutrients - calcium, potassium, magnesium and more. It's difficult for most people to get enough of dairy's nutrients without consuming the recommended daily servings of low- fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt. Some convenient, practical and child-friendly ideas that National Dairy Council (NDC) suggests to help meet these recommendations include:

On a broader scale, NDC uses sound science, including this new research, to lead the way in informing health and school nutrition professionals of the crucial role dairy foods play in child wellness, as well as educating children on establishing healthy eating and fitness habits through its in-school program, Fuel Up to Play 60. Launched by the National Football League and NDC in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this nutrition and fitness program is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools, and inspiring their friends to do the same. Fuel Up to Play 60, which shares the ambitious and attainable goals outlined in the First Lady's childhood obesity platform, recognizes that many of today's youth are overweight and undernourished, and encourages the availability and consumption of nutrient- rich foods - particularly low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains - along with 60 minutes of physical activity daily. More than 60,000 of the nation's private and public schools are currently enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60.

For more information on the health benefits of dairy foods, visit, and get the latest dairy and nutrition news from NDC's blog, To learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 or to sign up for the 2010-2011 program visit

Available for interview upon request:

About National Dairy Council

National Dairy CouncilŪ (NDC) is the nutrition research, education and communications arm of Dairy Management Inc(TM). On behalf of U.S. dairy farmers, NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier society, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Established in 1915, NDC is dedicated to educating the public on the health benefits of consuming milk and milk products throughout a person's lifespan. For more information, visit

About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council (NDC) and NFL, with additional partnership support from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dietetic Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit to learn more. Media resources, including related video footage and photos are available at

About NFL PLAY 60

Designed to help tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL's long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like the National Dairy Council. NFL PLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL's in-school, after-school and team-based programs. For more information, visit Đ 2010 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League.

(i) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.

(ii) Fulgoni III VL, Keast DR, Quann EE, Auestad N. Food sources of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and potassium in the U.S. Presented at Experimental Biology, Anaheim, Calif. April 24-29, 2010.

(iii) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2004.

(iv) Greer FR, Krebs NF and the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. American Academy of Pediatrics, Optimizing bone health and calcium intakes of infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2006; 117(2):578-585.

(v) Heaney RP, Calcium, dairy products, and osteoporosis. J Amer Coll of Nutr 2000;19(suppl): 83s-99s.

(vi) NIH Consensus Development Program. Consensus Statements. Osteoporosis Prevention, Diagnosis, and Therapy. Vol. 17, No. 1. March 27-29, 2000. (J of the Amer Med Assoc 2001;285: 785-795) Accessed January 23, 2002.

(vii) McCarron DA, Heaney RP. Estimated Healthcare Savings Associated With Adequate Dairy Food Intake. Am Jof Hyp 2004;17:88-97.

(viii) Alonso A, Beunza JJ, Delgado-Rodriquez M, et al. Low-fat dairy consumption and reduced risk of hypertension: the Sequimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort. Am J of Clin Nutr 2005;82:972-979.

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(x) Djousse L, Pankow JS, Hunt SC, et al. Influence of saturated fat and linolenic acid on the association between intake of dairy products and blood pressure. Hypertension 2006;48: 335-341.

(xi) Miller GD, DiRienzo DD, Reusser ME, McCarron DA. Benefits of dairy product consumption on blood pressure in humans: a summary of the biomedical literature. J Am Coll Nutr 2000;19(suppl 2):147s-164s

(xii) Ruidavets JB, Bongard V, Simon C, et al. Independent contribution of dairy products and calcium intake to blood pressure variations at a population level. J Hypertension 2006;24:671-681.

(xiii) Mirmiran P, Esmaillzadeh A, Azizi F. Dairy consumption and body mass index: an inverse relationship. Int'l J Obesity 2005;29(1):115-21.

(xiv) Pereira MA, Jacobs DR, Van Horn L, Slattery ML, Katashov AI, Ludwig DS. Dairy consumption, obesity, and the insulin resistance syndrome in young adults: the CARDIA study. J Am MedAssoc2002;287 (16):2081-89.

(xv) Zemel MB, Richards J, Milstead A, Campbell PJ. Effects of calcium and dairy on body composition and weight loss in African- American adults. Obesity Research 2005;13:1218-1225.

(xvi) Zemel MB, Richards J, Russell A, Milstead A, Gehardt L, Silva E. Dairy Augmentation of Total and Central Fat Loss in Obese Subjects. Int'l J Obesity 2005;29:341-7.

(xvii) Heaney RP. Normalizing calcium intake: Projected population effects for body weight. J Nutr 2003;133:268S-270S.

(xviii) Van Loan M. The role of Dairy foods and dietary calcium in weight Management. J Am Coll Nutr 2009; 28S(1):120S-129S.

(xix) Heaney RP, Rafferty K. Preponderance of the evidence: an example from the issue of calcium intake and body composition. Nutr Rvws 2009; 67(1):32-9.

(xx) Choi HK, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Rimm E, Hu FB. Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in men. Arch Int Med 2005;165:997-1003.

(xxi) Liu S, et al. A prospective study of dairy intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care 2006;29:1579-15984.

(xxii) Liu S, Y Song, ES Ford, JE Manson, JE Buring, PM Ridker. Dietary calcium, vitamin D, and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged and older U.S. women. Diabetes Care 2005; 28:2926-2932.

(xxiii) Mensink R. Dairy products and the risk to develop type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Int'l Dairy J 2006;16:1001-1004.

(xxiv) Pittas AG, et al. REVIEW: The Role of Vitamin D and Calcium in Type 2 Diabetes. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007; 92: 2017-2029.

(xxv) Keast DR, Fulgoni III VL, Quann EE, Auestad N. Contributions of milk, dairy products, and other foods to vitamin D intakes in the U.S.: NHANES, 2003-2006. Presented at Experimental Biology, Anaheim, Calif. April 24-29, 2010.

(xxvi) Flegal K, Carroll M, Ogden C., Curtin L. Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2008. JAMA. 2010;303(3):235-241

(xxvii) Ogden C, Carroll M, Curtin L, Lamb M, Flegal K. Prevalence of High Body Mass Index in US Children and Adolescents, 2007-2008. J Am Med Assoc 2010;303(3):242-249.

(xxviii) What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002 : Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes;

(xxix) What We Eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006 : Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes;

(xxx) Donnelly JE, Sullivan DK, Smith BK, Gibson CA, Mayo M, Lee R, Lynch A, Sallee T, Cook-Weins G, Washburn RA. The effects of visible cheese on the selection and consumption of food groups to encourage in middle school students. J Child Nutr Manag. Vol. 3, Issue 1, Spring 2010.

(xxxi) Fiorito LM, Marini M, Mitchell DC, Smiciklas-Wright H, Birch LL. Girls' early sweetened carbonated beverage intake predicts different patterns of beverage and nutrient intake across childhood and adolescence. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010; 110:543-550.

-- Prepare oatmeal and soups with nutrient-rich, low-fat or fat-free milk instead of water -- For a quick, on-the-go snack, skewer a banana, dip it in low-fat yogurt and then coat with a favorite fiber-rich cereal -- Start the day strong by wrapping scrambled eggs, a slice of low-fat cheese and some colorful sliced peppers in a whole grain tortilla -- Offer nutrient-rich snacks for in-school parties, such as colorful veggies and low-fat yogurt-based dip, skewers with cheese cubes and fruit, or strawberries with vanilla-flavored yogurt as a dip -- Serve low-fat or fat-free milk with meals, and offer lactose-free, low-fat or fat-free milk, which is real milk just without the lactose for those who may be lactose intolerant

SOURCE National Dairy Council

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