A who's who of the cheese world, International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the Organic Trade Association (OTA), congregated in Washington, DC on July 15 to discuss the nutritional benefits of cheese and the importance of increasing dairy product dietary requirements.

According to industry publication Cheese Market News (CMN), Michelle Matto, a registered dietitian speaking on behalf of IDFA at the meeting, explained "Dairy products are the major contributors of three of the four nutrients of concern with public health implications identified in this report - calcium, potassium and vitamin D."

Gregory Miller, executive vice president for research, regulatory and scientific affairs at NDC, said parents shouldn't frown on flavored milk as it is relatively low in sugar and would account for three percent of a child's daily sugar intake.

"It's important to note that unless it's available, affordable and tastes good, people won't consume it," Miller noted.

Sally Fallon Morell, president of nutrition education nonprofit the Weston A. Price Foundation, raised concerns about the proposed US 2010 Dietary Guidelines stating that they "perpetuate the mistakes of previous guidelines in demonizing saturated fats and animal foods rich in saturated fatty acids such as egg yolks, butter, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats like bacon and animal fats for cooking."

"We should be giving children more cheese," Fallon Morell added because "low intakes of vitamin K2, which is found primarily in egg yolks and full-fat cheese, are associated with increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

"Moreover, high-carbohydrate diets do not satisfy the appetite as well as diets rich in traditional fats, leading to higher caloric intakes and often to binging and splurging on empty foods, resulting in rapid weight gain and chronic disease."

The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is to release the 2010 Dietary Guidelines in December, for more information visit: http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov