‘Where is the science?’
While milk products continue to be part of the revised Canada Food Guide, Dairy Farmers of Canada remains concerned it does not reflect the most recent and mounting scientific evidence available.
There is abundant research that demonstrates that milk products with various fat content can be a part of healthy diet, DFC contends.
“While the food guide has changed, milk products continue to play a valuable role in helping Canadians make healthy-eating decisions on a daily basis,” says Isabelle Neiderer, Director of Nutrition and Research at Dairy Farmers of Canada.
“The scientific evidence supporting the nutritional benefits of milk products in the promotion of bone health and prevention of chronic diseases, for instance, is stronger than ever, and new evidence continues to accumulate,” she added. “Current and emerging scientific evidence does not support a continued focus on lower fat milk products as it reveals that milk products that contain more fat are not associated with harmful health effects and could even provide benefits.”
DFC notes that research continues to confirm that milk proteins rank as some of the highest quality available, but the nutritional benefits of milk products go far beyond their protein content.
Milk products are a key source of 6 of the 8 nutrients that most Canadians already fall short of: calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, and potassium.
Milk products are a leading source of calcium. Although other foods may contain calcium, milk products generally contain a higher amount – in a form that is more easily absorbed by the body.
For example, a person would have to eat eight cups of spinach, or more than two cups of broccoli, for their body to obtain the same amount of calcium as they would from a single cup of milk.
Research continues to confirm that milk products are particularly important for the optimal growth and development of children and preserving healthy bones and muscles in aging adults.
Scientific evidence confirms the nutritional benefits of dairy and that dairy plays a role in reducing the same chronic diseases prioritized by Health Canada.
Health Canada's own 2015 evidence review shows that, when it comes to reducing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer, the evidence for milk products is as strong, if not stronger, than it is for vegetables, fruit, whole grain, and plant-based protein foods.