Health and Nutrition

 Alta Dena's milk and dairy products provide essential nutrients your body needs to build strong bones and healthy teeth. Milk helps keep bones strong by providing 9 essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamins A, D and B12, protein, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and phosphorus.
These essential nutrients do more than just build strong bones. Studies have shown that drinking milk can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone-crippling disease that affects 28 million Americans, aid in weight loss, help lower your risk of colon cancer and more.

Alta Dena's dairy milk, yogurt and cheese provide a rich source of calcium in your diet. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most Americans are not getting the recommended amount of calcium in their diets only consuming half of the recommended daily servings of dairy food.1 In fact, the average person only consumes half of the three recommended daily servings of dairy food. 2


Seventy-two percent of dietary calcium in the U.S. food supply comes from milk and other dairy foods. In addition to calcium, milk is the number one source of several key nutrients in the American diet, including potassium, phosphorous and magnesium3
According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, appointed by the United States Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA), people who consume more dairy foods have better overall diets, consume more nutrients and see improved bone health.


Milk is an excellent source of vitamin D, which aids in calcium’s absorption and retention and also is recommended by the AAP for the development of strong bones.
Also, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who consumed vitamin D in daily servings of milk and fish were 40 percent less likely to develop potentially cancerous growths in the colon than those who didn't get enough vitamin D.4

According to a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics eating calcium-rich dairy foods during childhood and adolescence will help build strong bones and reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life5
According to the USDA data 7 out of 10 teen boys and 9 out of 10 teen girls are not getting the calcium they need.2,6
At a questionnaire, developed jointly by the AAP and National Dairy Council (NDC) as part of the 3-A-Day of Dairy for Stronger Bones program, provides questions, answers and guidance for parents.
Registered dietitians at the NDC offer these additional ideas to encourage kids to eat more calcium-rich dairy:

  • Salsa Roll-Up: Roll Monterey Jack cheese into a whole-wheat tortilla and dip in salsa.
  • Parfait Pleaser: Layer granola and fresh fruit with low-fat yogurt.

New research finds that milk helps build strong teeth and may help prevent tooth decay. Besides calcium, milk contains proteins that work against cavity-causing bacteria, as well as antibacterials that promote oral health overall.
Before they come in baby teeth and adult teeth need calcium to develop fully. Once the teeth are in, calcium may also help protect them against decay.


A recent study by the ARS found that individuals participating in the weight loss program that included 3 or more serving of dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese lost more body fat than those that consumed no dairy foods or calcium supplements. We also found that an average intake of 1400 mg Ca/day suppressed bone turnover which is which is usually elevated with food restriction and leads to osteoporosis in chronic dieters.7

Dairy products provide the calcium you and your baby need for strong bones and teeth. Dairy products are a great source of vitamin A and D, protein, and B vitamins. Vitamin A helps fetal growth, fight infection, and vision.
Pregnant women need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day.



  • Munch on a bowl of cereal with added calcium, fat-free or low-fat milk, and fresh fruit.
  • Top a whole wheat English muffin with your favorite melted low-fat cheese.
  • Make waffles or pancakes for the whole family. Be sure to make them with milk or top 'em with fat-free or low-fat yogurt...and enjoy a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk with them.
  • Enjoy a glass of fruit juice — the kind with added calcium.
  • Make a breakfast banana split. Top a sliced banana with a small container of low-fat or fat-free fruit yogurt, a sprinkle of frosted cereal and pieces of your favorite fruit.


  • Try a soy beverage with added calcium.
  • Top a fruit salad with fat-free or low-fat yogurt and almonds.
  • Add almonds or low-fat cheddar cheese cubes to a snack of apple slices.
  • Warm up with a bowl of tomato or mushroom soup made with fat-free or low-fat milk.
  • Make some pudding with fat-free or low-fat milk. Scrumptious!
  • Steam chopped broccoli and top it with low-fat ranch dressing. Yum!
  • Add almonds and fruit to a bowl of low-fat cottage cheese.


  • Create an Italian feast by combining low-fat cottage and mozzarella cheeses, garlic and basil with cooked pasta and covering it with your favorite sauce. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Make a sesame stir-fry sensation by combining pieces of tofu (look for calcium sulfate on the ingredient list), chicken, or shrimp with your favorite calcium-containing vegetables like bokchoy and broccoli in a skillet and cook. Then, sprinkle on some yummy sesame seeds.
  • Cheesy rice and broccoli makes a great dinner or side dish. Just combine cooked rice, broccoli, and low-fat cheddar cheese for a dinnertime treat.


  • Sunshine Smoothie: 1 cup of orange juice with added calcium, fat-free or low-fat milk, ice cubes, and a handful of fruit.
  • Very Berry Smoothie: 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat milk, a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries, and a dash of honey. Toss in some ice cubes to make it extra thick.
  • Fruit Smash Smoothie: 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat milk, a bunch of frozen strawberries, apricots, bananas, and fresh raspberries. Toss in some ice cubes to make it extra thick.
  • Vanilla Smoothie: 1 cup of orange juice with added calcium, a handful of strawberries, a banana, and 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat vanilla yogurt.

1. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, prepared by the USDA and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2005.
2. USDA’s 1994-96 continuing survey of food intakes by individuals and 1994-96 diet and knowledge survey. Riverdale, MD: US Department of Agriculture; 1999. Available at: Search under “Food Surveys.”
3. Murphy M, et al. Beverages as a source of energy and nutrients in diets of children and adolescents. Experimental Biology 2005.
4. Liebeman, DA &Prindiville, S & Weiss, DG & Willet, W. Risk factors for a, June 10, 2003.dvanced colonic neoplasia and hyperplastic polyps in asymptomatic individuals. Journal of American Medical Association, June 10, 2003
5. American Academy of Pediatrics, Optimizing bone health and calcium intakes of infants, children, and adolescents.Pediatrics. 2006; 117 (2):578-585.

6. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1997.
7. Agricultural Research Service, Research Project: Role of Dairy Products in Weight Loss: a Multi-Center Trial Annual Report 2004