Are you eating enough dairy?

Are you eating enough dairy?

Feel free to put a little more Brie on your bread, some Colby on your crackers or a smidge more Gouda on your grilled cheese sandwich. Also a serving of your choice of low fat milk wouldn’t hurt either.

Study leaders at CHU de Québec Research Center and Laval University conducted a survey of the greater Quebec City metropolitan area and found almost half were not getting enough dairy in their diet.

Dairy products contain calcium and minerals that are good for bones, but the new research shows that dairy consumption may also have beneficial effects on metabolic health. It could possibly reduce risk of diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers published their findings this month in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism journal.

The study showed that the average individual consumed at least four portions of daily dairy products. However, nearly 45 percent of adults surveyed didn’t even meet Canada’s Food Guide recommended two portions a day.

Researchers also found that the fatty acid that is naturally present in milk, yogurt, cheese and butter have been shown to have health-promoting effects that could lower blood pressure in men and women and lower body fat in men. The study focused on the link between dairy intake and specific risk factors, including plasma glucose and blood pressure in a healthy population.

While the study focuses on the importance of dairy, Michelle Waspi, registered dietician at Advocate Trinity Hospital, urges people to select the right kind of dairy.

“As far as cheeses go, some can be very high in sodium and fat like cottage cheeses or cheese spreads. What you want is the low fat, low sodium mozzarella, ricotta or others cheeses that fit into that category,” says Waspi. “Everybody should be having their three servings a day because there are so many benefits to dairy including calcium for your bones, protein and other health advantages for your body. We just have to be smart about the kind of dairy we are selecting.”

As part of the My Plate structure, the current nutrition guide published by the United States Department of Agriculture, nutritionists recommend three daily cups of dairy-based products such as yogurt, milk and cheese.

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Comments

8 Comments

  1. These are very good tips on eating the right amount of dairy daily.

  2. Thank you Courtney. I still enjoy having some milk with my dinner now.

  3. Dr. Ashwani Garg

    I am aware the MyPlate structure is recommending 3 servings of dairy foods a day however more recent research is challenging that recommendation. PCRM and Harvard have their own versions of “myplate” which do not include dairy at all. In fact, USDA actually took PCRM’s idea submission and modified it to include dairy. According to Harvard School of Public Health, increased milk intake may be involved in increasing rates of ovarian and prostate cancer. Given modern milk production methods, more cow hormones are present in milk than before, given the fact that cows are milked while gestating most of the time. Even if you discount the health concerns of milk, you can’t ignore the cruelty of impregnating a cow every year, genetically selecting the cows that are giving much more milk than natural for the species, and dealing with mastitis and therefore antibiotics and pus cells in your milk, as well as the dismal conditions of the cow’s useful life, being confined and fed grains its whole life instead of being free and at pasture. Even if you ignore the health AND the animal welfare concerns of dairy, you still have the environmental concerns. Milk production results in a large amount of water and carbon for the production of dairy compared to dairy alternatives. For the health concerns of dairy, go to http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium-full-story/ and for the other concerns you can do a search for this information on the internet.

    The real inconvenient truth is that humans deserve human milk as infants, and that as they get older, they should wean off it and not onto cow’s milk. A diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts/seeds is complete and healthy, and may help with health and longevity. The dietary guidelines are in the process of being rewritten, and the “myplate” is in the process of being revised. However, even the 2010 dietary guidelines acknowledge that Vegan diets can be complete and healthy, you just don’t hear about it publicly but it’s in there. Many years of research from the Seventh Day Adventists show a health advantage to being Vegan. On the other hand, many years of following a standard American diet has resulted in more diseases and obesity.

  4. Low fat cheese is such a bummer.

  5. Lisa Parro

    I love dairy and could eat it with/as all my meals 24/7.

  6. My wife is the same way Lisa.

  7. Dr. Ashwani Garg

    I used to have yogurt with Indian meals to drown out the heat and spice but now I have found a cup of soy milk goes well. Frequently after dinner I will have a cup of soy milk with some whole grain cereal. Soy milk contains less sugars than milk (even though it’s sweetened), and has healthful properties which increase nitric oxide in the blood, lower blood pressure, and reduce total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides. In addition, soy has beneficial effects for prevention of prostate cancer. The bonus is that soy milk comes from soybeans and not cows. Another great benefit is that using soymilk in smoothies instead of skim milk makes for a delicious beverage that doesn’t curdle on standing. Vanilla soymilk goes great with banana / strawberry / blueberry and even kale!

  8. Thank you Dr. Ashwani Garg for the well presented information. The tendency of most of these studies that promote animal products isolates 1 nutritional component and analyzes the effect of that single component. However, nobody eats 1 nutritional component, we eat whole foods and better studies show the effect of eating whole foods rather than 1 fatty acid that is present in dairy is beneficial in 1 single way. Nothing here speaks to the effect of dairy food as a whole on the health of people. I would be interested to see who sponsored the studies spoken of, if it is sponsored by the dairy industry or an unbiased 3rd party.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.