Several members of the public called the government's dietary guidelines racist for historically endorsing milk, yogurt, and cheese as part of a nutritious diet, and recommended dropping dairy from the new version of the guidelines set to be released next year. "The vast majority of people of color in this country are intolerant of lactose and yet, because they think they have to eat this stuff, they go out and eat it and get sick," Milton Mills, a physician from Gilead Medical Group in Washington, D.C., said in a public meeting Thursday. "It is outrageous to have a committee that does not reflect the American population." Mills said he was originally speaking to call out the "racism that is inherent in the U.S. dietary guidelines," but upon seeing the committee lacking any minorities, he understood why it was a problem. "This committee bears no relationship to the general makeup of the American populace," he said. "As nonminority members, I should think you'd be embarrassed looking around this table." Mills made the comments in a public meeting about potential changes to the government's dietary guidelines. The meeting, held by the dietary guidelines advisory committee, is one of several steps that help the committee craft a report for the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Agency officials review the report, and ultimately decide whether to make changes to the government's guidelines about healthy eating. Dotsie Bausch, an Olympic silver medalist in cycling and the executive director of Switch4Good, a dairy-free advocacy group, called the "destructiveness" of dairy "multilayered." "Sixty-five percent of the global population is lactose intolerant according to the National Institute(S) of Health," Bausch said. "This number is even higher in the nonwhite populations. Why on earth does the USDA have a food category on the dietary guidelines for Americans that makes over half of us sick, uncomfortable, and unable to breathe?" The 20 committee members charged with advising the government on the proposed 2020 guidelines heard from 76 people, who offered their opinions and suggestions along with scientific evidence in three-minute increments. The guidelines detail healthy eating, promote nutritious habits, and provide advice about how to reduce risk of chronic disease. They've been released every five years since 1990 and touch many parts of American lives, including school lunches and food labels. "We need to remove dairy as a food group," said Amie Hamlin, from the Coalition for Healthy School Food, which advocates for plant-based diets in schools. "Research shows that milk does not build strong bones. Humans simply have no need for milk past the age of weaning." Scientists speculate that some ethnicities break down lactose at different rates than others. However, scientists are unsure if someone's production of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, is an adaptation based on the foods that person grew up eating or because of a biological mechanism. Commenters, who came from a wide variety of professions, discussed other contentious topics such as veganism, low-carbohydrate diets, obesity, the role of sugar and carbohydrates in Type 2 diabetes, and increased cancer risk from the consumption of processed meats. The most frequently mentioned dietary scapegoat, however, was dairy. A representative from the National Dairy Council was one of the few defenders of dairy at the meeting, bringing up products' high calcium, vitamin D, and potassium content. "Milk, cheese, and yogurt contribute nutritional value to food supply," said Jill Nicholls, on behalf of the council. "Dairy nutrients continue to support growth and development, including building strong bones. Dairy foods are appealing, accessible, and affordable."