Does dairy have an effect on the health of heart and blood vessels?
Health authorities advises to consume skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and dairy products, because of the energy and saturated fat content. Recent scientific research shows that the relationship between milk and heart and blood vessels seems to be more complex than previously assumed.
Milk and weight management
Physical activity and a healthy and varied diet are important in maintaining a healthy weight. People who eat and drink more than the energy they expend will gain weight, no matter what they eat or drink. Some people believe that dairy foods like, milk, yoghurt and cheese are fattening. However science does not support this.
Sustainable as well as healthy food
Due to a growing world population and increasing prosperity, the demand for good nutrition that provides an optimal intake of nutrients is growing. This affects the environmental impact. Feeding the growing world population in a responsible way requires sustainable and healthy nutrition, or in other words, a sustainable diet. Being a staple food product, milk fits in well with a healthy and sustainable diet.
The association between dairy product consumption and health outcomes in children and adolescents in developed countries
Dairy products are part of a nutrient-rich and balanced diet and are associated with diets of higher nutritional quality when consumed in sufficient amounts.1,2 They contribute to positive health outcomes by providing energy, high-quality protein, micronutrients, and bioactive compounds. Micronutrients available in dairy products include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, zinc, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Thus, the consumption of dairy products
Health benefits for consumers
Milk is an important component in a healthy diet and it is needed during all stages of life. Research has proven the benefits of milk, a summary of which can be found below.
Consumption of dairy products in relation to body weight and composition
Three recent meta-analyses are available that address the role of dairy products with respect to body weight (BW) and/or body composition (BC) in adults. The meta-analyses of Abargouei et al1 (14 RCTs ; 883 adults) and Chen et al2 (29 RCTs ; 2101 adults) are partly overlapping with regard to the selection of studies, with the first only selecting studies with BW as primary outcome, whereas the latter also added studies with BW as secondary parameter.
Diets helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure
The DASH eating plan has been developed in the US as an approach to reduce elevated blood pressure through appropriate dietary choices (DASH = Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Randomized trials have shown which food categories help in establishing and maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Dairy products are part of food-based dietary guidelines around the globe
Food-based dietary guidelines from all over the world recommend consuming dairy on a daily basis as part of a healthy diet. From Europe and Asia through to Africa and the Americas, milk and milk products are perceived as an important source of nutrients to comply with the dietary recommendations for all stages of life.
The history of dairy
Crop farmers and cattle farmers first began to keep cows about 10,000 years ago. They discovered that cows can convert grass, which is indigestible for humans, into the valuable food product milk. This was the perfect solution for people in areas where no other crops could grow.
Lactose intolerance: Prevalence and dietary strategies
Lactose intolerance refers to the body’s decreased ability to digest the milk sugar lactose as a result of low lactase enzyme levels. Lactose intolerance does not mean that dairy products should be avoided. Indeed, there are dietary strategies that effectively alleviate symptoms, while enabling the daily consumption of milk and milk products.