Perspective: The Benefits of Including Flavored Milk in Healthy Dietary Patterns

Adv Nutr. 2023 Sep;14(5):959-972. doi: 10.1016/j.advnut.2023.06.002. Epub 2023 Jun 7.


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend two-and-a-half cup equivalents of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods per day for children 4-8 y and 3 cup equivalents per day for adolescents aged 9-18 and adults. Currently, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognizes 4 nutrients as being of public concern because of suboptimal levels in the diet. These include calcium, dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin D. In the American diet, dairy foods are leading contributors of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. Milk, because of its unique nutrient package that provides shortfall nutrients to the diets of children and adolescents, remains an underpinning of dietary recommendations and is included with school meals. Despite this, milk consumption is declining, and >80% of Americans do not meet recommendations for dairy. Data indicate that children and adolescents who consume flavored milk are more likely to consume more dairy and adhere to healthier overall dietary patterns. Flavored milk, however, receives more scrutiny than plain milk because of its contribution of added sugar and calories to the diet and concerns over childhood obesity. Therefore, the purpose of this narrative review is to describe trends in beverage consumption in children and adolescents aged 5-18 y and highlight the science that has examined the impact of including flavored milk in overall healthy dietary patterns within this population.

Keywords: adolescence; childhood; diet quality; flavored milk; metabolic health; milk.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Child
  • Diet
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Energy Intake
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Humans
  • Milk*
  • Pediatric Obesity*
  • United States
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins


  • Flavoring Agents
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D