Recommended Amount of Milk Per Day, 1923 and 2023

glass of milkA hundred years ago, it was recommended that adults drink 2 cups of milk per day, while current recommendations are 3 cups per day. For children, the recommendation back then was 3 cups of milk per day, while the recommended amount now is based on age, but less for small children than in 1923.

A 1923 home economics textbook said:

One pint [2 cups] of whole milk should be allowed for each adult, and one and one-half pints [3 cups] for each child over two years of age; the younger child may need more. In addition to the prescribed allowance of whole milk, skimmed milk may be used in cooking as a source of protein and mineral matter. Part of the milk allowance for the family may well be supplied in milk soups, custards, bread, rice, and other pudding, cocoa and chocolate and in white sauce with vegetables, eggs and meats.

Economics of the Family (1923) by C.W. Taber and Ruth A. Wardall

Current recommendations, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate website, are:

  • children 12-23 months should drink 1 2/3 – 2 cups of milk per day
  • children 2-3 years should drink 2 – 2 1/2 cups of milk per day
  • children 4-8 years should drink 2 1/2 cups of milk per day
  • children 9 and older should drink 3 cups of mil per day
  • adults should drink 3 cups of milk per day.

7 thoughts on “Recommended Amount of Milk Per Day, 1923 and 2023

  1. Many people don’t realize that milk is even more hydrating than water: “Milk was found to be even more hydrating than plain water because it contains the sugar lactose, some protein, and some fat, all of which help to slow the emptying of fluid from the stomach and keep hydration happening over a longer period.”

    I’ve always liked milk, and drink a good bit, but after a few years of outdoor work, I began to realize that my lunchtime or after-work milk left me feeling better than water. Eventually, I figured it out, and began finding confirmation of my hunch.

  2. If I’m to approach drinking three cups of milk a day, I’ll have to have lots more coffee to put it in.

    This was a shocker for me. I plan to include a glass of milk daily now. It would be very good for my bones, among other things.

  3. That’s a lot of milk to drink as I don’t drink milky drinks I’m way short on the milk but make up for it in other ways Interesting about the hydration though 🙂

  4. I drink 2% milk and have done so for many years. But I can not understand why parents give their children no fat milk (cloudy water in my opinion). In addition, most children’s meals come with low fat or no fat milk. Unless a child has a weight problem and is under care of a physician I think they need the value of whole milk to ensure enough calcium for their growing bones. Just my humble opinion!

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