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March 13, 2015
Dairy Foods Fill in Nutrient Gaps

Dairy Foods Fill in Nutrient Gaps

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

A few weeks ago, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), an independent nutrition advisory panel, released recommendations for what Americans should eat. The DGAC’s report, which comes out every five years, serves as the scientific basis for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), which influences programs including MyPlate and the School Lunch Program.  While the DGAC’s report is not the final word on what to eat, chances are the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services, the agencies that determine dietary suggestions, will adopt most of the panel’s guidelines.

So, how does dairy figure into the DGAC’s eating recommendations? 

It may surprise you to learn that the report cites numerous health benefits of eating the suggested servings of non-fat and low-fat dairy foods beyond strong bones and teeth. Other benefits include a lower risk of several chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. 

However, as a rule, we’re not getting the dairy foods we need. The DGAC reinforced what many experts have been saying for years. The typical American way of eating does not meet recommendations for dairy intake. It also fails for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 

As a result of a diet that’s low in nutrient-rich foods, it’s no surprise that the panel identified nearly a dozen nutrients that we’re missing. As a rule, we come up short for vitamins A, C, E, D, and K, fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.  Iron is especially problematic for women during the childbearing years, which is from about 13 to 50.  

There’s no doubt that, most of us should change course when it comes to what we eat, and try harder to fill in important nutrient gaps. Hood Milk is a source vitamins A, C, D, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Including the milk you need is a good place to start improving your personal eating plan.  Here are four easy ways to get more milk:

• Make oatmeal in the microwave with milk instead of water. 

• Sip a smoothie made with milk. 

• Prepare reduced-sodium condensed soups, such as tomato, with milk instead of water.  

• Instead of sugary sports drinks, enjoy a glass of chocolate milk after exercise to replenish fluid, carbohydrate, and protein losses. 


Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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