NEW YORK/June 28/UPI -- A U.S. dietician suggests an easy way for people to correct calcium shortfalls is to add skim milk to their coffee.

U.S. women consume on average 6 ounces of milk a day, an analysis of U.S. beverage patterns shows, according to the report "What America Drinks."

Carolyn O'Neil, a registered dietitian, says 6 ounces of milk a day is far short of the 24 ounces needed. The analysis also showed 40% of Americans drink coffee, but only 6% of adults drink coffee with milk. She proposes women who do not drink a glass of milk with meals turn to milk-based coffee drinks like lattes.

"Skim or nonfat lattes are not only a guilt-free treat that women can feel good about, but they're an eye-opening nutrition ally," O'Neil, author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!, said in a statement.

"Most women are completely surprised to learn what a powerful nutrient punch is in each cup, but it makes sense when you consider that you're getting more milk than espresso when you order a latte."

In addition to calcium, a 16-ounce skim latte provides 25% daily value of protein and 35% daily value of vitamin D, as well as potassium, magnesium and vitamin A, according to O'Neil.

From the July 2, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash