Love dairy, but confused by the mixed health messages surrounding it? Do you wonder if you should be skipping dairy altogether, rather than savoring it?
Dairy foods have been enjoyed in traditional diets the world over for centuries, and research today supports that dairy foods can have a role in a healthy diet. In our recent Delicious Dairy toolkit, we explore dairy foods in depth. We explain how milk is produced, the art of cheesemaking, how to shop, store and serve dairy foods, as well as share the latest research, recipes, and tips for enjoying dairy to its fullest. Along the way, we bust a few myths, too.
Here are a few favorite myths and the truth behind them:
Myth: Dairy can make me fat.
Busted! Nope. In fact, eating cheese in moderation can actually aid in satiety. Perfect as a snack between meals, a slice or two of cheese, or chopped veggies dipped in plain Greek yogurt can help keep you from overeating at meals or snack time.
Myth: Dairy products are unhealthy and should be avoided.
Busted! False. Research has shown that dairy provides essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein. Fermented dairy foods, such as Greek yogurt and aged cheese, contain good bacteria that support a healthy gut. According to the USDA, eating dairy can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and may even help lower blood pressure in adults.
Myth: People who are lactose intolerant must avoid all dairy products.
Busted! Fortunately for these folks, this is not true. Lactose is a natural sugar found in cow’s milk, and when someone is lactose intolerant, it means they can’t digest this sugar, resulting in gastrointestinal discomfort. The good news is that they can try eating dairy foods that are fermented (such as some cheese, Greek yogurt, and keﬁr). The process of aging and fermenting helps break down the lactose naturally, making them more easily digested by humans.
So, go ahead and relish your dairy. Just keep in mind that like most foods, it’s best eaten in moderation. Here’s an example how you can enjoy the recommended three servings a day:
- ½ cup of milk (alone or with cereal) for breakfast
- 8-ounce container of plain Greek yogurt and sliced fruit or veggies for a mid-day snack or lunch
- 1-½ ounces (approximately 2 slices) of hard cheese, such as cheddar or Swiss, at dinner time
In addition to our Delicious Dairy toolkit, Daisy Brand brings recipes and ideas for cottage cheese, a versatile and healthy, protein-ﬁlled dairy food, to the table in this special toolkit.
And if you love cheese, don’t miss Oldways Cheese Coalition’s global holiday, Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day on April 16! More than 100 events in 10 countries will highlight the distinctive cultural heritage of raw milk cheeses — from tastings in Denver to special classes in São Paulo; producers will oﬀer samples in San Francisco, and cheesemongers will share their love of fromage au lait cru in Paris and Boston. Show your appreciation for raw milk cheese on April 16 and ﬁnd an event near you at oldwayscheese.org/appreciation-day.