The value of a well-balanced diet is undeniable. An eating plan that includes foods from the various food groups ensures individuals get an assortment of healthy vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Certain foods may need to be avoided by individuals with preexisting conditions, but those without such restrictions can follow dietary guidelines from the United States Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Those guidelines include various recommendations regarding dairy consumption.
The USDA notes that the amount of dairy an individual needs depends on the person’s age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity. In addition, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding will have different dairy consumption needs than women who are not expecting or breastfeeding. Individuals can speak with their physicians to determine how much dairy they should consume, and they also can utilize the MyPlate Plan at myplate.gov. The MyPlate Plan allows users to enter information specific to them (i.e., weight, height, age, etc.) so they can learn how much dairy they should be consuming.
USDA guidelines encourage most individuals to consume three servings of dairy per day. The organization’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025” recommend that adults consume the equivalent of three cups of dairy per day. The guidelines indicate that children should consume 2½ cups of dairy per day, with that number increasing to three cups around the time children reach age nine.
Low-fat or fat-free dairy options are recommended. Low-fat or fat-free products can quell common concerns about dairy products, including that they’re high in fat, calories and sodium. The organization American Bone Health reports that low-fat or fat-free dairy products provide more calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin D per calorie.
Dairy is a vital component of a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Individuals with more questions about dairy can consult with their physicians and/or visit www.dietaryguidelines.gov to learn more.