How sound is the science behind the dietary recommendations for dairy?1-4

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Abstract

This review examined the evidence behind dietary guidelines for dairy. Most countries recommend consumption of dairy products; and when amounts are specified, recommendations are typically for 2 or 3 servings per day. Specific recommendations for dairy products are based partly on culture and availability but primarily on meeting nutrient requirements. Dairy products are a rich source of many minerals and vitamins as well as high-quality protein. Thus, dairy consumption is a marker for diet quality. A recent report found that yogurt specifically is a good marker of diet quality. The food patterns recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee (DGAC) include 3 cups of low-fat milk and milk products. Few people achieve their recommended intakes of several shortfall nutrients without meeting their recommendations for dairy. The evidence for a benefit of dairy consumption is moderate for bone health in children but limited in adults and moderate for cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, and diabetes and limited for metabolic syndrome. Newer data since the recommendations of the 2010 DGAC are presented. However, the strength of the evidence for dairy consumption and health is limited by the lack of appropriately powered randomized controlled trials.

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