Ring in the New Year with Dairy

A roundup of 2011 global dairy research highlights the benefits of dairy products
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As the New Year approaches, resolutions of losing weight and getting healthier are stacking up all over the world. However, with so many different fad diets, experts, websites and TV shows all touting different (and sometimes miraculous!) methods of how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, accomplishing your resolution can get quite confusing.

"These past few decades we've seen a dietary shift," said Donald Moore, Executive Director, Global Dairy Platform. "Consumers are too focused on what not to eat, instead of what to eat. Unfortunately, a popular diet taboo is to consume a product that has less of something—like salt or fat, versus a product, such as milk, which is loaded with essential nutrients naturally designed to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and potentially lose weight."

In 2011 alone, there has been an abundance of published research from world renowned nutritional scientists and universities, revealing the health benefits of dairy. To name a few:

>> According to a U.S. study published in February's Current Nutrition and Food Science, milk provides necessary nutrients without adversely impacting body weight in children and adolescents.

>> In Australia, researchers found that consumption of low-fat dairy may help decrease the risk for elevated blood pressure and, regardless of fat content, fluid dairy foods are associated with a reduced risk of elevated blood pressure.

>> A French study found a lower incidence of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and abnormal levels of fasting blood glucose was associated with higher consumption of dairy products and calcium.

>> Researchers in Sweden studied more than 15,000 women and found that high-fat diets (including yogurt and regular milk), are associated with a reduced risk of invasive breast cancer.

>> Researchers in Australia found that dairy food consumption is not associated with weight gain in children and adults. The review was published in the July Obesity Reviews.

>> In Canada, researchers found that women who consumed at least two servings of dairy per day had smaller visceral fat cells compared with women consuming less than two daily servings.

>> A May study revealed that dairy intake was not associated with increased heart attack risk in more than 3,000 Costa Rican adults.

>> A study of premenopausal African-American women revealed that consuming low-fat and fat-free dairy products may be associated with a lower percent of body fat.

>> A Swedish study found that a higher intake of dairy products is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

>> In Japan, a breakfast that included milk protein was shown to reduce visceral fat by approximately 15 percent, versus a breakfast that included soy protein that showed no change in fat.

>> In October, a Danish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that cheese does not seem to increase plasma total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations.

"For generations, the consumption of dairy has been a backbone of communities. Not only does it deliver nutrition to people at all stages of life, but dairy farming helps promote social, economic and environmental prosperity," said Moore.

To search for food based guidelines that may include dairy recommendations, visit the FAO Food Guidelines by Country website: www.fao.org/ag/humannutrition/nutritioneducation/fbdg/en