Dairy Products in Your Diet – Pros And Cons

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Dairy products include milk and everything made from milk. Common dairy products include:

  • Milk, cream and buttermilk.
  • Cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt.
  • Butter, sour cream and ice cream.

There are differing opinions as to whether you should include dairy products in your daily diet. The nutritionist will point out that milk products are a rich source of calcium and protein. Dairy products provide:

  • Protein for the growth and repair of cells and tissues.
  • Calcium for growing bone, teeth and muscle.
  • Vitamins A, C and D which support healthy eyesight, immunity and strength.
  • Phosphorus and Magnesium required for muscle function and energy release.

Milk is still considered beneficial for expectant mothers and growing children; however, milk and dairy products may not be a good choice for those who can’t digest it or choose not to consume it for health (cardiovascular, diabetes) or ethical reasons.

In addition to the nutrients listed above, dairy products also contain:

  • Fat – Milk, cream, yogurt, cheese and butter are made from milk and most of these are high in fat. When measured as a percentage of fat by calories, cow’s milk as whole milk is 49%, reduced fat (2%) milk is 35% calories from fat and low-fat (1%) milk contains 20% of calories from fat. Dairy products are loaded with fat, yogurt is 45% calories from fat, cheese contains 70% of calories come from fat and sour cream, almost 90% of calories come from fat.
  • Cholesterol – Fat in milk and dairy products is saturated fat which raises blood cholesterol levels and increases insulin resistance. Dairy products labeled “low-fat” still contain a disproportionate amount of cholesterol.
  • Sugar – Milk and dairy products contain carbohydrates (sugars) in the form of lactose. Cows’ milk contains about 5% sugar by weight. When expressed as a percentage of calories derived from carbohydrates, whole milk is 30% and 54% for skim milk. Skim milk is lower in fat, but higher in sugar as a percentage, as the majority of its calories are from lactose. According to the National Institute of Health, lactose intolerance affects nearly 65% of the world’s population. [1] They are unable to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products.
  • Hormones and Antibiotics – Commercial dairies use hormones to increase milk production. These hormones in turn cause complications that require antibiotics. Both hormones and antibiotics are passed from the cow to meat and milk. The administration of the growth hormones rBST and rBGH to dairy cows is allowed in the US, however the practice is illegal in Canada and Brazil.

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