Dairy industry groups call for added research input of dairy fats in 2020 Dietary Guidelines

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

 ©GettyImages/ziggy1
©GettyImages/ziggy1

Related tags: dairy fat, saturated fats, IDFA, Dietary guidelines

The US dairy industry is calling for the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) to include “all relevant scientific studies” related to the fat content of dairy products before it delivers its recommendations to USDA and HHS for the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

In a letter​ to the DGAC - which hosted a webcast on Wednesday discussing its findings to date - the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) wrote:“…a body of science in recent years has found that dairy foods, regardless of fat level, appear to have either neutral or beneficial effects on chronic disease risks.”​ 

US dairy organizations including the National Dairy Council (NDC) have provided the DGAC with references to peer-reviewed scientific research of dairy’s relationship to beneficial or neutral outcomes for cardiovascular diseases​, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions.

“We are concerned that a number of well-recognized studies appear to have been excluded from consideration,” ​wrote NMPF and IDFA.

“It appears from the DGAC’s draft conclusion statements that the broad recommendation to reduce intake of saturated fats regardless of type may well be unchanged in the 2020 scientific report, even though it seems the DGAC has not yet considered the full body of scientific studies that explore whether this recommendation may be too broad.”

Current US Dietary Guidelines​ for adults recommend the equivalent of three cups per day of fat-free milk, and for children and adolescents ages 9 to 18 years, 2½ cups per day. The guidelines place an emphasis on low fat or fat-free dairy options.

“If the committee concludes its work without coming to any conclusions on the benefits of dairy at each fat level, and instead simply defaults to a recommendation for low-fat and fat-free forms because of a generalized concern about saturated fats in overall dietary patterns, this will represent a lost opportunity to share newer science with consumers, health professionals and policy makers and contribute to ongoing confusion about the healthfulness of dairy,” ​said IDFA and NMPF.

The committee will deliver its final advisory report to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS by the end of June. It will then be posted online on or around July 15 for public comment, with an oral public comment meeting to be held on August 11, 2020. 

The finalized 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are "anticipated to be released by the end of 2020, per the original timeline,"​ said a USDA spokesman.

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