Since childhood, we’ve been told to drink lots of milk to help keep our bones strong. Up until recently however, there has been some controversy surrounding dairy and its detrimental effects. Many people now believe that dairy products are unhealthy and can have a negative impact on our bones and body. In this post, we'll break down several of the arguments.
Dairy is a good source of calcium, protein, fortified vitamin D and potassium. These nutrients are essential for bone health because they increase bone density and maintain bone mass, which reduces your risk of osteoporosis. Moreover, yogurt and kefir are a great source of probiotics. A meta-analysis showed that certain dairy products such as yogurt can help reduce risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Although you can still obtain these nutrients from a well balanced diet, not many people eat a healthy balanced diet. Therefore, dairy is the easiest way to get the nutrients necessary to keep our bodies functioning. Unfortunately, dairy products can contain large amounts of saturated fats, sugar, and sodium, which increases your risk of chronic diseases. Also, more than half of the population is lactose intolerant so dairy can cause gastrointestinal issues in people who can’t digest lactose. They also contain artificial hormones and probiotics as well as cause skin and digestive issues in certain people.
Overall, dairy products are neither good nor bad, because it all depends on the type of dairy you consume. It also comes down to the individual and their personal preference/beliefs. Dairy isn’t the superfood we were led to believe years ago and it should be eaten in moderation just like everything else in our diet because balance is key. It’s important to eat healthy foods, manage your calorie intake and exercise daily. If you decide not to consume dairy, keep in mind that plant based alternatives don’t have as much calcium or protein. If you do choose to consume dairy however, low fat dairy products that are low in sugar are the best way to go.
Healthy Dairy Recipes
Dairy Alternative Recipes
About the Author: Duaa Abdullah and is currently a dietetic intern in the Coordinated Nutrition program at University of Illinois Chicago.