Indiana dairy industry stakeholders were given a dairy checkoff update this week when Dr. Greg Miller made the trip to West Lafayette for American Dairy Association Indiana’s Dairy Scientific Advisory Panel meeting. Miller had exciting news to share about the dietary guidelines for milk consumption.
“The consumption of milk and milk products is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and with lower hypertension,” he told HAT. “To me that’s so exciting, and they don’t talk about low fat dairy, they talk about dairy regardless of the fat level. So to me we’ve neutralized the negative image of milk fat as it relates to risk of heart disease. That’s a huge step forward and the dairy industry should be very proud because they funded a lot of the research that led to that conclusion.”
It’s a great health story for dairy farmers but communicating the news is essential now, a time when some consumers are getting messages encouraging them to eliminate dairy intake.
“We continually have to work to communicate. We’re getting more engaged in social media and traditional media to bring that science out to consumers and to key thought leaders in the community so we continue to get that strong support for dairy and a healthy diet. And the good news is that we have strong health professional and scientific support for the role of dairy in a healthy diet and the nutrient contribution it makes.”
In calcium replacement alone, a non-dairy diet is sure to leave the body very deficient.
“If you’re going to try to backfill that calcium you’re going to have to eat like 11 servings of broccoli each day. There’s a calorie cost. You’re going to have to eat a lot more calories than you would if you got that calcium from dairy. There’s a cost, cost in terms of dollars and there’s a volume cost. So realistically on a practical basis and on a science basis, you need dairy in your diet to meet your calcium needs. There’s no other practical way to meet it.”
Research from the Dairy Research Institute, for which Dr. Miller serves as president, says if Americans all consumed the recommended 3-4 servings of dairy a day, over $2 billion in health care costs would be saved in a 5 year period.