US Dietary Guidelines on Milk
Consuming milk and milk products like yogurt and cheese are especially important for children and young adults age 9–14. During these years, children are building their peak bone mass for life and need enough nutrition and physical activity to build maximum bone strength and bone density.
The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 reports that women tend to drink less milk than men. Furthermore, as we age, we consume even less milk. This disinclination to milk and milk products seems unfortunate since there is moderate evidence showing a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure from dairy products, in addition to the benefits of milk and milk products for bone health.
The most important recommendation from the report relates to cheese, a major source of milk products consumed in the US. Cheese can be delicious, but it is often high in fat, calories, and sodium. Choosing fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products avoid these issues and as a bonus provides more calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin D per calorie.
The Dietary Guidelines for adults recommends the equivalent of three cups per day of fat-free milk. For children and adolescents ages 9 to 18 years, the Guidelines recommend 2½ cups per day. The emphasis on low fat or fat-free options was stressed to avoid creating other health issues especially cardiovascular disease.
Adults who do not consume milk or milk products due to lactose intolerance or simply because they don’t like dairy products, must be sure to include protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin D in their diets. Look for ways to replace these important vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables.