When the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services released the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) in January, it was clear: Dairy remains an important part of the dietary recommendations.

What also was clear is that the dairy checkoff, through the farmers’ National Dairy Council, played a part in dairy’s continuing recognition in the guidelines, thanks to its 100-year history of supporting research and sharing science-based information with health and wellness professionals and thought leaders.

Highlights include:

  • The DGAs reinforce that three daily servings of dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt play an important role in a healthy diet.

  • Low-fat dairy foods remain a recommendation of all dietary patterns noted in the DGAs.

  • The DGAs do not include dietary cholesterol limits.

Overall, this is great news for dairy. DGA recommendations impact school lunch, WIC and other government feeding programs. They also serve as the basis for health professionals’ counsel to the public regarding diet and nutrition.

Dairy’s prominent role wouldn’t have happened without farmers’ investment in the checkoff. From the checkoff’s funding of critical research that reaffirms dairy’s role as part of a healthy diet to employing dedicated staff who have long-standing relationships with health and wellness leaders nationally and locally, these guidelines are testament to our commitment to providing nutritious dairy foods that nourish our nation.


The DGAs recommend low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, which is not a surprise: As long as our nation faces an obesity epidemic, we know the DGAs will continue to recommend food options, including dairy, with the lowest total calories.

At the same time, there is a growing body of research – which we participate in – that neutralizes the negative image of whole-milk dairy foods and their impact on health. However, more research is needed to speak to potential health benefits of full-fat dairy foods.

Your checkoff is pressing forward with the research that should make the 2020 guidelines even more favorable for dairy.

The DGAs allow for flexibility to meet the daily nutrition needs to help people improve and maintain health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Additionally, the DGAs acknowledge the cultural and personal connections people bring to their diets and lifestyle.

Low-fat and fat-free dairy foods are included in all recommended healthy eating patterns, with three servings recommended for those ages 9 and up for the Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern, which served as the foundational pattern for the DGAs.  PD

Your Dairy Checkoff in Action – The following update is provided by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America’s dairy producers and dairy importers.

DMI is the domestic and international planning and management organization responsible for increasing sales of and demand for dairy products and ingredients.