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Posts Tagged ‘2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’

All Milk Is Antibiotic Free! - The Farmer's Daughter USA

June is National Dairy Month. After a campaign by grocers in 1937 to promote use of milk during summer months, June became the official “dairy month.” The Dairy Alliance, a nonprofit organization in the Southeast, works with dairy farmers and community and public groups to promote their industry, especially during the month of June. The dairy alliance points out that:

  • The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reinforces the importance of dairy products in the diet.
  • Dairy foods contain nine essential nutrients, including three of the four nutrients typically lacking in the American diet: calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.
  • Nutrients in dairy products provide combinations of nutrients, key in reducing risks of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
  • Cow’s milk has more potassium and almost twice as much protein as found in alternative milks. Whether skim, reduced fat, whole, organic, or inorganic, dairy contains the same amount of protein, about 1 gram per ounce (or 8 grams in 8-ounce servings). Coconut and rice milks have the lowest amount of protein among plant beverages with 0 grams, while almond has 1 gram and soy 7 grams.
  •  Most beverages made from alternative plant sources cost more and have about half the nutrients of cow’s milk.
  • Lactose is a sugar found only in milk. Lactose-reduced and lactose-free milks are available for the lactose intolerant.

The amount of fat in cow’s milk depends on whether it is skim (with minimal fat), whole (full-fat content), or somewhere in between. Coconut milk, with 4.5 grams per serving of mostly saturated fat, has the highest fat content, and soy milk contains about 4 grams per serving. Cow’s milk with one percent fat, or 2.5 grams per 8-ounce serving, has about the same amount of fat as almond and rice beverages. Research confirms that saturated fat is less healthy than unsaturated fats whether from animal or plant sources.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) belabors the issue of how to label and what to call plant-based alternative milks, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) believes consumers know what they are drinking. In a 2018 survey, at least 75 percent of consumers recognized whole milk, chocolate milk, non-fat, and skim milk (90%, 85%, 78%, 74% respectively) contain cow’s milk. But less than one-half understood that lactose-free milk is also from cow’s milk.

Nearly three-quarters of participants understood that plant-based “milks” do not contain any cow’s milk. Of those who bought milk, sixty-two percent purchased only diary milk while thirty-eight percent chose to purchase non-dairy milk. Consumers more likely to purchase plant alternatives lived in the western US (45%), were under forty-five years of age (43%), were people of color (48%), and were college educated (44%).

Controversy continues over naming these non-dairy products and whether they are as wholesome in the diet as cow’s milk. The FDA extended the time for consumer’s responses to these issues. Check part 2 of this topic for greater insight into what choices are best for you and your family.

Recipes to Celebrate National Dairy Month | Atkins

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Throughout the 20th Century, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published varied guidelines to help Americans eat healthier. Prior to the discovery of individual vitamins, Wilbur Atwater in the 1890s compiled the first nutrition bulletin. He advocated variety, portion control, calorie maintenance, and affordable diets that emphasized nutrient-rich diets with limited fat, sugar, and starch. The 1940s ushered in the “Basic 7” food groups which were replaced in 1956 with the “Basic Four.” The USDA introduced the “Food Guide Pyramid”  in 1992.

Amplified dietary guidelines appeared in 1980 and is updated  every five years for the general public. The USDA and Health and Human Services now conjointly establish dietary guidelines. Each new edition, compiled by a panel of experts in the fields of medicine and nutrition, builds on the previous guidelines and incorporates the latest information from scientific research.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released on January 7, 2016. Many recommendations remained the same as previous publications while others were diminished or expanded. New information also surfaced. These are the first guidelines to acknowledge the widespread use of caffeine, a non-nutrient, and suggest upper limits for its use. Information incorporated into the new guidelines seemed more contentious than in previous years. Questions surfaced regarding political influence while opposing factions sometimes appeared to have self-serving motives.

These documents are public domain. The complete report can be accessed at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Identified below are the five categories recommended in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  1. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.

What purpose do these guidelines serve? Here are a few considerations.

  • With nearly 70 percent of our nation overweight or obese, these guidelines can help people achieve a more reasonable weight for better health.
  • Several illnesses and diseases result from environmental causes. Many of those could be abated or eliminated with appropriate diets.
  • Foods at the check-out easily persuade us to buy foods we don’t need or really want because of visual temptations. Aldi grocery stores declared support of a healthier food supply by replacing candies and less nutritious foods at the check-lanes with nuts, dried fruits and granola bars.

The above is not intended as a complete list. Dietary guidelines serve many purposes in giving directions for the public to remain healthy and extend longevity. Whatever flaws may exist in each new addition, these suggestions can help us maintain optimum health and well-being. The wise consumer will not ignore them.

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