As a mom, I thought I had at least this one nutritional fact down cold. Dairy is great, right?
I recently started doing some social media work for the National Dairy Council, talking about the benefits of dairy. I’ve always believed dairy was part of a well-balanced diet. After a recent blog post about my love for all things dairy, I was shocked by the response. There were dozens of comments from readers who told me that dairy was not good for me, and that I was doing my family and myself a disservice by including milk, cheese and yogurt in our diets. Intrigued by the response, I asked professionals from both ends of the spectrum to share their thoughts on role of dairy in our diets and whether or not it’s beneficial.
Does dairy cause inflammation?
Naturopathic Doctor Krista Moyer says that milk can cause inflammation for people who are sensitive to dairy. The Dairy Research Institute states that less than 3 percent of all infants and young children are allergic to dairy, and 80 percent of them outgrow the allergy, or at least develop a tolerance of it by age 4. However, it’s a different story for adults. The problem isn’t an allergic reaction to dairy, it’s a reaction to the lactose that can cause cramping, bloating nausea and other less-than-ideal symptoms. In fact, “less than 40 percent of people in the world retain the ability to digest lactose after childhood,” according to an ABC News report. So it’s not uncommon for adults to have a bad reaction to milk and dairy.
Does dairy cause athma, colds and sinus infections?
Holistic nutritionist Nancy Guberti says that dairy can exacerbate cold and sinus symptom in patients who are intolerant of dairy. Some research indicates otherwise. “Research shows that milk is not associated with mucus production, asthma or the common cold,” says Midwest Dairy Council registered dietitian, Stephanie Cundith. “While people may perceive that certain foods can trigger asthma, research has shown that in reality, food-induced asthma is very rare.” Some studies even suggest that milk consumption could play a role in asthma prevention.
Does dairy contribute to weight loss?
“Some studies have shown that, yes, it does contribute to weight loss,” Dr. Moyer says. But Dr. Moyer cautions that some dairy products have a high fat content and can contain sugars or artificial sweeteners that might increase appetite. (Look for a low-fat or fat-free organic milk to give you the necessary nutrients and extra energy without packing on the pounds.)
Family physician Rallie McAllister says that “there is evidence that consumption of dairy products promote weight loss.” A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who consumed more dairy weighed less and had more muscle mass than those who consumed less dairy. Particularly the calcium found in milk is said to be responsible for the production of fat cells that aid weight loss.
If you’re ready to ditch the dairy, try these dairy-free milk alternatives!
Do you have a question about dairy? Leave us a comment below!
Disclosure: Beth Engelman is currently working with the National Dairy Council on their social media campaign. They did not compensate her for this article.