Don’t hold back, dairy is still good for you

The East African - - THE MAGAZINE -

Is but­ter back? Cheese? What about your whole-milk yo­ghurt? Emerg­ing re­search sug­gests that the an­swers to th­ese ques­tions are no, yes and yes — with some caveats.

Full-fat milk, also known as whole milk, has a bad rep­u­ta­tion be­cause it con­tains sat­u­rated fat, and sat­u­rated fat raises LDL — or "bad" — choles­terol. But when look­ing at as­so­ci­a­tions be­tween ac­tual dairy fat and health, the re­sults are mixed.

A re­cent study lends sup­port to the gen­eral find­ings of long-term stud­ies that dairy foods ei­ther re­duce the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease and di­a­betes or sim­ply have no ef­fect.

For decades, di­etary rec­om­men­da­tions have been based on nu­tri­ents in food, not on the foods them­selves. That in­cludes dairy foods, which are an im­por­tant source of some nu­tri­ents that many peo­ple don't get enough of, such as cal­cium and vi­ta­min D. Be­cause we need th­ese other nu­tri­ents, the rec­om­men­da­tion in the US Di­etary Guide­lines has been to con­sume low-fat dairy.

In­ter­est­ingly, Euro­pean-based stud­ies on dairy fat, which tends to be con­sumed in the form of qual­ity cheese and yo­ghurt, are more likely to find pos­i­tive ef­fects on health than US stud­ies, where peo­ple eat more full fat dairy com­bined with su­gar and re­fined car­bo­hy­drates, as in ice cream, pizza and fast food.

Here are a few things to con­sider when con­sum­ing dairy:

- What type of dairy do you en­joy? Some peo­ple find full-fat dairy more sat­is­fy­ing, but if you like your non-fat Greek yo­ghurt in the morn­ing, you don't have to switch to full fat.

- Yoghurts with live cul­tures and nat­u­ral cheese (not pro­cessed cheese) ap­pear to have more ben­e­fits, pos­si­bly be­cause they are more highly fer­mented foods. On the other hand, ice cream and cheese-loaded pizza are more about plea­sure than nu­tri­tion.

- Cheese is calo­rie-dense (a lot of calo­ries in a small vol­ume), so be thought­ful about por­tions. Choos­ing flavour­ful va­ri­eties such as sharp ched­dar, Parme­san and blue cheese can pro­vide more sat­is­fac­tion with less. En­joy your cheese on a salad or a veg­etable-packed scram­ble in the morn­ing.

- Love but­ter? Use it where you want its spe­cific flavour in cook­ing.

NNew York Times o one can even agree on milk any more.

What is it? Where does it come from? Must it be lac­tated?

This seem­ingly ex­is­ten­tial de­bate is now pit­ting the dairy in­dus­try against the mak­ers of what are known as “al­ter­na­tive milks” and neigh­bour­hood baris­tas. It was set off most re­cently by the com­mis­sioner of the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Dr Scott Got­tlieb, when he made a sur­pris­ing re­mark in July at a panel dis­cus­sion in Washington.

“An al­mond,” he said ca­su­ally at the end of the event, “doesn’t lac­tate.”

With his com­ment, Got­tlieb plunged into the ten­sions over al­ter­na­tive milks — the plant-based beverages made from macadamias, al­monds, quinoa, peas, rice, co­conut, oats, soy, wal­nuts or cashews. A grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple are em­brac­ing th­ese

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