Interesting Facts

Milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium. It has long been recognised for its important role in bone health. Nutritionists recommend that milk and other dairy products should be consumed daily as part of a balanced diet.

There is some inaccurate information around in the general community about the health benefits of milk. Changing your milk intake on the basis of these fallacies may mean you are unnecessarily restricting this highly nutritious drink.

MILK CONTAINS MANY DIFFERENT NUTRIENTS

Milk and milk products contain a good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate and are a very important source of essential nutrients including:

  • Calcium
  • Riboflavin
  • Phosphorous
  • Vitamins A, D and B12
  • Pantothenic acid

Milk products also contain ‘high quality proteins’ that are well suited to human needs. Milk proteins increase the value of poorer quality cereal and vegetable proteins in the diet by providing the amino acids these proteins lack.

SOME RESEARCH FINDINGS


Osteoporosis –

if milk and milk products are removed from the diet, it can lead to an inadequate intake of calcium. This is of particular concern for women, who have high calcium needs. Calcium deficiency may lead to disorders like osteoporosis (a disease characterised by bone loss).

Blood pressure –

research in the US found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables, combined with low fat dairy foods, lowered blood pressure more than fruits and vegetables alone.

Type 2 diabetes –

a 10-year study of 3,000 overweight adults found that consuming milk and other milk products instead of refined sugars and carbohydrates may protect overweight young adults from developing type 2 diabetes.

Colon cancer –

recent studies have found that people who regularly eat dairy products have a reduced risk of developing colon cancer.

MILK AND TOOTH DECAY

Milk and milk products are thought to protect against tooth decay. Eating cheese and other dairy products:

  • Reduces oral acidity (which causes decay)
  • Stimulates saliva flow
  • Decreases plaque formation
  • Decreases the incidence of dental caries (tooth decay).

FLAVORED MILK

A recent study reported that children who avoid milk tend to be fatter than children who drink milk. This may be because milk is being replaced by high energy drinks such as fruit juice or soft drinks.

As children move into adolescence, the time when they need the most calcium, they tend to drink less milk and more sugary soft drinks. As milk is a healthier choice, it is worth encouraging children to drink flavored milk rather than soft drinks.

DAILY CALCIUM REQUIREMENTS

To meet the body’s daily calcium requirement, it is recommended that you eat three serves of dairy products a day. One serve is equivalent to:

  • 250ml of milk
  • 35g (one matchbox-sized piece) of cheese
  • 200g yoghurt
  • 200g (four small scoops) of ice-cream.

People who do not eat any dairy products may have difficulty meeting their daily calcium requirements. They will need to pay special attention to other dietary sources of calcium.

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