The Science Supporting Dairy’s Role in Bone Health

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 8:35 AM


We review a lot of research and help translate it for fellow health and wellness professionals and educators working with the public. As we do this, it is important to frame up each new study within the broader body of science on a given topic. Here’s how a recent study fits within the totality of the evidence on bone health.

A paper published last fall in the British Medical Journal was an observational study based on two large groups of Swedish men and women, and results associated drinking three or more glasses of milk per day with greater risk of mortality and higher risk of fractures. Studies of this nature show correlations vs. causation and add to the growing discovery.

The impact of milk, and the nutrients it provides, on bone has been well documented by an extensive body of peer-reviewed research, including randomized controlled trials (the gold standard of scientific research) — more details can be found in this research summary.

The authors of this study hypothesized that since milk contains D-galactose (when lactose is digested it is split into its component sugars glucose and galactose), which has been shown to increase oxidative stress and aging in animal studies, that milk consumption will be associated with oxidative stress, higher mortality and increased risk of fracture.

When you look at this study through the lens of the total body of evidence and standards of practice, there are considerations when communicating the results:


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Portion Distortion: Size Does Matter

Posted by Nicole Diego @ 7:00 AM


Kristin Schrieber, MS, RDN, LDN, helped support Nicole Diego, Dietetic Intern, MBA Candidate at Dominican University, on this post.

As a dietetic intern, for years I have known the importance of portion control. It has been encouraged since the United States Department of Agriculture released the first food guide in 1916. Although it’s not a groundbreaking concept, learning how to portion control is more vital than ever.

For the first time in history, the amount Americans spend on dining out overtook grocery store purchases in March, according to Commerce Department data. This spike in spending may reflect the eating habits of the emerging Millennial generation as they are more willing to spend on “food away from home.” As stated by the National Restaurant Association, “Millennials view dining out as a social event (i.e., a chance to connect),” which explains their willingness to spend more at restaurants versus buying groceries and cooking at home.

DMI_NDC_6.25_PortionControl_TDR Read the rest of this entry »

The School Nutrition Event of the Year: ANC Salt Lake City

Posted by Emily Mannel @ 11:29 AM


The School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference (ANC) is just around the corner: July 12-15, 2015 in Salt Lake City. Attendees will learn, network and share over an exciting four days. ANC brings education and networking opportunities for all kinds of school nutrition stakeholders – operators, industry professionals, partner organizations, food and nutrition advocates, and more.

Education and pre-con sessions will touch on various topics related to school meal programs like nutrition, meal patterns, community eligibility, summer feeding, marketing, procurement, trends, and encouraging healthy choices. There will also be a keynote presentation with NFL alum Howie Long and a closing event performance by country stars Big & Rich!

Over 800 exhibitors, including National Dairy Council (NDC), will be sharing all the newest products, services, and updates with attendees as well. The District Directors’ section meeting, sponsored by NDC, will address nutrition mythbusting and combating misconceptions around school meals – a can’t-miss event for any school nutrition director!

Learn more and register at

What is the Role of Dairy Foods in the Mediterranean Eating Pattern?

Posted by Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 7:52 AM


As you know, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasized nutrient-dense eating patterns to help meet nutrient recommendations within calorie needs. The emphasis on eating patterns has continued with the submission of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report in February to HHS/USDA, which serves as scientific guidance from the Committee for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scheduled for release later this year. For the first time, the 2015 DGAC included a chapter focused solely on the relationship between eating patterns (i.e., Healthy U.S., Healthy Vegetarian and Mediterranean) and health outcomes.

More research on the role of a variety of dairy foods in dietary patterns, including the Mediterranean diet, would increase understanding and appreciation of the role of dairy foods in healthy eating. Read the rest of this entry »

Join the Mooovement on June 16

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND @ 10:10 AM


It’s June. School is out and the long awaited summer break is finally here for America’s children. However, with schools being closed, more than 22 million children may miss out on milk’s nutrition in the summer months when they don’t have access to free or reduced-price meal programs such as the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Although some programs like the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) help to deliver meals when school is not in session, food banks play an even more critical role during the summer in helping children access nutritious foods. America’s dairy farmers and milk companies are on a mission this summer to bring more wholesome, nutritious milk to children in need through The Great American Milk Drive.


June is National Dairy Month, and what better time to step up the momentum of milk donations to food banks this summer. On June 16, The Great American Milk Drive is challenging America to a one-day Social Media Milk Drive to help double the amount of milk donated. Here’s how you can help:  Read the rest of this entry »

It’s June Dairy Month and We’re Celebrating 100 Years of Dairy Science and Education!

Posted by Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 7:00 AM


For 100 years, on behalf of dairy farmers and the dairy community, National Dairy Council (NDC) has been committed to nutrition research and education. NDC helped launch programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Great American Milk Drive to benefit both children and adults. I am excited to be part of the team helping to continue NDC’s proud tradition.

I am also celebrating my 23rd year at NDC. Looking back, I realize that though many things have changed, some have remained constant.

When I joined NDC back in 1992, USDA had just introduced the Food Guide Pyramid to replace the Basic Four food group guide, which had been in place since 1956. This was a big change, and the nutrition community was buzzing with what this might mean for educating people about healthy eating. In 2005 a new iteration of MyPyramid was introduced, Steps to a Healthier You. It featured people walking up the steps on one side of the Pyramid to emphasize the need for physical activity. Then in 2011, MyPyramid was replaced with MyPlate, to visually demonstrate how to build a healthy plate at meal time using all the food groups, including dairy foods. Read the rest of this entry »

USDA School Feeding Programs Offer Many Opportunities to Enhance Childhood Nutrition

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND @ 7:02 AM


This year National Dairy Council (NDC) is celebrating its 100th anniversary – an important milestone for nutrition. Since its founding by America’s dairy farmers in 1915, NDC has been committed to nutrition research and education. Throughout its history, NDC has had a special focus on child nutrition and health – largely through schools. A new report, Fluid Milk in School Meal Programs, outlines why milk is part of school meals and how child health may be impacted when milk consumption falls. With the discussion on Child Nutrition Reauthorization beginning, I was invited to share the science-based information in the report with congressional staff to help educate them on milk’s role in children’s health and the school meal programs.

Milk is an integral part of the federal school meal programs because of its nutrient package – providing the number one food source of nine essential nutrients in the diets of America’s children and adolescents. Milk is also the number one food source of three out of the four nutrients of concern identified in the Dietary Guidelines: calcium, potassium and vitamin D. As a mom and a dietitian, I know how critically important it is for children to have the opportunity to drink low-fat and fat-free milk at school, especially since their overall consumption of milk, yogurt, and cheese is less than recommended. Read the rest of this entry »

Cheese: A Food that Has Withstood the Test of Time

Posted by Christine Cliff, MPH, RDN, LDN @ 8:24 AM


Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.Luis Bunuel

Cheese, cheese, glorious cheese. This seemingly simple snack food has endured throughout much of history.

Some sources date cheese making back to occurring in Middle East over 7,500 years ago. Legend has it that the first cheese was made by accident. An Arabian merchant decided to store his supply of milk in a pouch made of a sheep’s stomach to help preserve it during his journey across the desert. Little did he know that the rennet (enzyme) plus the heat of the sun would separate the milk into curds and whey.

Since then, cheese and cheese making has been documented throughout much of history. The Romans helped bring the art of cheese making to Europe, while the Pilgrims added cheese to their supply list as they travelled to the Americas on the Mayflower. tdr060415cheese

With June 4 being National Cheese Day, let’s explore this timeless, nutrient-rich food and how it can fit into almost any eating plan.  Read the rest of this entry »

Cheers to 100 Years!

Posted by Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND @ 12:19 PM


Wow, 100 years and still going strong! As President of National Dairy Council (NDC), I am so proud to be part of an organization that has been helping promote health and wellness for a century. We’ll be kicking off our centennial celebration during June Dairy Month with activities that celebrate how far we’ve come and lead us into the next century. Having firsthand knowledge of all the work NDC has done for nearly the past 20 years, I am extremely optimistic about what NDC and its health and wellness professional partners, state and regional dairy councils, farmers and the dairy community can do to find solutions for the health of people, communities and the planet in the future.

Let’s take a look at NDC from the past, present and future, because you can’t move ahead without learning from, and building on, the past.


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Summer Meal Programs Offer Nutrition, Combat Hunger for America’s Children and Teens

Posted by Audrey Rowe @ 6:51 AM


Summer vacation is something all kids look forward to, but unfortunately hunger doesn’t take a vacation. More than 21 million American children and teens depend on free or reduced-price school meals during the school year, and when school cafeterias close, many of them lose their most important source of balanced nutrition and are at risk of going hungry.

That’s why the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and dedicated partners like National Dairy Council are working to provide nutritious meals to hungry kids throughout the summer. We know that children are particularly vulnerable to hunger and poor nutrition during this time. And our summer meals programs are well-poised to help fill this gap, serving as an important source of nutritious food for children and youth during the long summer break.


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