There are few foods for which dietary recommendations and popular ideology are as far apart as they are for dairy. The internet is full of warnings on the dangers of any and all dairy consumption, but (low-fat) dairy products are key components of research-supported healthy dietary patterns. Emerging research suggests a more nuanced approach to the dairy food group may be necessary.
Beyond Saturated Fat: Dairy products are rich sources of beneficial dietary calcium and added vitamin D, but dairy—except fat-free and low-fat (1%)—is also a top contributor of saturated fat in the U.S. diet, and higher amounts of saturated fat relative to mono- and polyunsaturated fats is associated with increased risk for heart disease and stroke. But looking at saturated fat content alone may not tell the whole story of dairy and health. “Dairy contains a complex mix of different fatty acids, plus vitamins and other constituents,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, dean of the Friedman School and editor-in-chief of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “It can also be fermented (like cheese) or have live probiotics (like yogurt). Each of these factors can create varying biological effects.”
When I was a reporter on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, one of the markets I covered was the Shell Egg Futures market. In that capacity I spoke with egg industry people regularly and found myself eating eggs regularly. Being posted on the exchange floor, it was often handy for me to bring a couple of hard boiled eggs to have for lunch as I couldn’t really leave the Exchange during trading hours. I confess to being a big fan of the incredible edible egg.
Eggs and dairy products are excellent protein sources. Eggs were off the menu for many years for people with elevated cholesterol levels because of their high cholesterol content. However, the latest research has determined that dietary cholesterol (cholesterol from food) doesn’t actually raise blood cholesterol levels for most people, although the saturated fat found in most high-cholesterol foods might. Other research has shown that egg consumption is not significantly associated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease or type 2 diabetes.Continue reading →
I started drinking soymilk some years ago after reading some scare stories about cow milk consumption. I don’t even remember the reasons now, but I do look forward to my quarts of soymilk that I buy from Costco. Since starting I can’t put my finger on any negative health effects.
This extensive Medical News Todayrundown by Hannah Nichols gives a lot of useful detail on the subject.
What do government health guidelines say? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food MyPlate guidelines, to get all the nutrients you need from your diet, healthy food and beverage choices should be made from all five food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy.
The dairy food group consists of all fluid milk products and many foods that are made from milk. The USDA recommend that food choices from the dairy group should retain their calcium content and be low-fat or fat-free. Fat in milk, yogurt, and cheese that is not low-fat or fat-free will count toward your limit of calories from saturated fats.
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While calcium-fortified soymilk is included as part of the dairy group, food products such as butter, cream, sour cream, and cream cheese are not included due to their low calcium content.
Daily dairy recommendations depend on your age. Children 2-3 years old require two cups of dairy per day, 4-8 year-olds need 2.5 cups per day, and three cups per day are recommended for age 9 and upward.
For people who do not consume dairy products, the USDA mention the following foods to contribute toward calcium intake: kale leaves, calcium-fortified juices, breads, cereals, rice or almond milk, canned fish, soybeans, other soy foods, such as tofu, soy yogurt, and tempeh, and some leafy greens including collard and turnip greens, kale, and bok choy.
They point out that the amount of calcium that is absorbed from these foods varies.
MyPlate vs. Healthy Eating Plate
The USDA developed the MyPlate nutrition guide in 2011 as a replacement for their MyPyramid that was used for 19 years.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health state that while the USDA MyPlate has been revised to reflect some key findings in nutritional scientific research, it does not offer a complete picture of basic nutrition advice.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health created the Healthy Eating Plate to address the deficiencies they identified in the USDA’s MyPlate.
One major alteration to the Healthy Eating Plate compared with MyPlate is the replacement of the dairy glass with a glass of water. The Healthy Eating Plate recommends drinking water, tea, or coffee and limiting dairy to one to two servings per day, since they say that high intakes are associated with a greater risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer.
MyPlate recommends dairy with every meal to protect against osteoporosis. However, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health report that there is little to no evidence to support this statement and considerable evidence that too high an intake of dairy can be harmful.
Because low fat diets were the rage for a while, people have become confused about the value and necessity of including fats in their diets. I love coconut oil, a saturated fat. I eat it every day and have a Page of information – Coconut Oil – Why you should include it in your diet on it.
Until recently, when you visited the dairy aisle, chances are you headed straight for the blue carton of milk—the skim milk that is. But recent buzz about dairy fat may cause shoppers to pause in front of the oft-shunned red carton of whole milk or other full-fat dairy products, as research suggests that their relationship to heart health is more complex than was once believed. While most studies to date have focused on the association between dairy fat and cardiovascular risk factors, few have examined the relationship to actual onset of cardiovascular disease.
Stroll into your local cafe and you might be surprised to find plain old milk as only one of the available beverage options to add to your coffee.
You can try soy milk, almond milk, even cashew or coconut milk.
The options are overwhelming, but are any of them actually healthier?
Here’s a quick look at the nutritional value of some of the most popular — and oftentimes far more expensive — milk alternatives.
By themselves, almonds are protein powerhouses: A typical serving of the nuts has 160 calories and 6 grams of protein. But a typical glass of almond milk, by volume, is just about 2% almonds and contains almost no protein.
So while the “milk” only has about 30 calories — good news if you’re looking to lose weight — it packs just 1 gram of…
Instead of reduction in fractures, study suggests higher risk of heart disease, cancer.
Drinking lots of milk could be bad for your health, a new study reports.
Previous research has shown that the calcium in milk can help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. These benefits to bone health have led U.S. health officials to recommend milk as part of a healthy diet.
But this new study found that drinking large amounts of milk did not protect men or women from bone fractures, and was linked to an overall higher risk of death during the study period.
However, the researchers said the results should be viewed with caution.
Women who drank three glasses of milk or more every day had a nearly doubled risk of death and cardiovascular disease, and a 44 percent increased risk of cancer compared to women who drank less than one glass per day, the researchers found.
There’s no rule that breakfast has to consist of food specifically designated for that meal. In fact, last night’s leftovers may be perfect. That’s because most people consume about 50 to 60 percent of their total daily protein at dinner, and shifting those calories to the morning may have health benefits.
Aim to consume 20 percent to 25 percent of your total daily calories at breakfast (up to 400 calories for women, up to 500 for men, and a bit more for vigorous exercisers). Research shows that it increases levels of the satiety hormone PYY, helping you to feel full, and may reduce the number of calories you consume at lunch, according to Heather Leidy, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. It may also help you avoid overeating later in the day, which may lead to weight gain.
2. Think protein
The latest research suggests that eating protein first thing in the morning is crucial. Having 24 to 35 grams may help prevent weight gain and promote weight loss by stabilizing your blood sugar, decreasing your appetite, and making you feel full. Morning protein also…
“Milk consumption plays an important role in bone health,” explains lead author Bing Lu, M.D., Dr.P.H., from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. “Our study is the largest study to investigate the impact of dairy intake in the progression of knee OA.”
New research reports that women who frequently consume fat-free or low-fat milk may delay the progression of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Findings published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, Arthritis Care & Research, indicate that women who ate cheese saw an increase in knee OA progression. Yogurt did not impact OA progression in men or women.
OA is a common, degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling of joints in the hand, hips, or knee. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OA affects nearly 27 million Americans age 25 and older, with knee OA being more prevalent and severe in women. While medical evidence points to obesity, joint injury, and repetitive use from some sports as risk factors for incident knee OA, risks associated with OA progression remain unclear.
“Milk consumption plays an important role in bone health,” explains lead author Bing…
My son sent me a New York Times opinion piece recently that really hit home for me. It discussed how the dairy lobby for decades has gotten everyone from the USDA down to tell people they should be drinking milk every day. And not just some milk, a lot of milk, four eight-ounce glasses, now reduced to three in the latest government dietary guidelines.
Drinking milk as a small child made me throw up. It would be decades before the term lactose intolerant was applied to such a condition. My parents just called it being stubborn…as in “the kid doesn’t want the milk so he’s being stubborn and throwing up.” Even today, just the sight of a glass of milk makes me queasy. Continue reading →