The Dairy Council of California recently launched “The Healthy Eating TABLE,” an annual scientific review series developed to distill the latest research in nutrition and dairy science and increase the knowledge of health professionals by bringing them “to the table” to make it easier for them to educate others about healthy eating patterns. The inaugural issue focuses on the important role dairy foods play in plant-based, sustainable eating patterns.
“We developed ‘The Healthy Eating TABLE’ to empower health professionals and educators, arming them with the latest research to ensure the most vulnerable populations — children and families in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities — receive the best nutritional guidance science can point to,” said Ashley Rosales, director of nutrition science at the Dairy Council of California and co-author of “The Healthy Eating TABLE.” “By embracing the latest research and ensuring nutrition guidance is evidence-based, health professionals can feel empowered to advocate for the health of the people who live in their communities.”
The global population is projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, and as experts around the world look for ways to sustainably maximize existing resources while preserving global health, the individual health of the most vulnerable populations may be at risk. In compiling and reviewing the latest nutrition and dairy research, evidence suggests that dairy plays an important role in healthy eating patterns and is part of the solution to meeting the needs of the growing population while keeping the planet healthy, the council said.
Kristal Shelden, project manager of nutrition sciences at the Dairy Council of California and lead writer of “The Healthy Eating TABLE,” said, “Health professionals, educators and community leaders all play a role in fostering optimal health and greater access to nutritious foods in communities. “Staying abreast of the latest science and research is necessary to ensure that nutrition guidance is evidence based and focused on the health and well-being of people.”
Key findings highlighted in this issue include:
- A growing body of evidence links the consumption of milk and dairy foods to a wide range of health benefits, from well-studied associations like controlling blood pressure and improving bone health to newer associations like reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Sustainable nutrition is a topic with international importance as countries around the world are faced with addressing the triple burden of malnutrition, obesity and micronutrient deficiencies while protecting finite natural resources. Sustaining the environment is critical; equally important is addressing the inequities of food affordability, access and availability in food system models.
- Whole foods — and combinations of whole foods eaten together — are greater than the sum of their parts, emphasizing the importance of an overall healthy eating pattern.
- Encouraging the consumption of nutrient-dense foods, from both plant-based and dairy sources, can help close the nutrient gaps that exist for Americans of all ages.
Rosales and Shelden — registered dietitian nutritionists and key members of the Dairy Council of California’s nutrition sciences team — work to improve community health by driving programs that focus on nutrition education and provide access to nutritious foods. The council’s nutrition sciences team consists of experts who collect, analyze and communicate the most current research and data on nutrition education and healthy eating patterns with the belief that understanding current research is vital to improving the eating patterns of children and families.