Dairy Diet

UK - Dairy products can play a key role in dieting and weight loss and are unfairly branded as unhealthy in the debate on obesity, an international conference was told on Tuesday.
calendar icon 24 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Photo: StockXchange

Leading nutritionists say that people who consume too few dairy products are at greater risk of being overweight, and research in the United States has shown that pre-school children who didn't have enough milk and milk products in their diet gained more body fat over time compared with children consuming the recommended amount.

Dr Cindy Schweitzer, technical director of the international dairy consortium, Global Dairy Platform, said: “According to over 30 studies, milk products could play a role in losing and maintaining weight. In fact, these studies reveal that milk products may help you lose weight as part of a low-calorie diet, or help prevent weight gain.”

Dr Schweitzer was speaking at Dairy UK’s conference on obesity and the dairy industry. She said: “One of the first things many people do when trying to lose weight is to get rid of dairy foods from their diet. Many diet experts suggest this approach could be counterproductive.

“Obesity is a multifactorial problem. Although milk products are not a magic solution, it would seem that consuming adequate quantities could provide an added benefit in weight management. Scientific evidence shows that consuming three daily servings of dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese as part of a reduced calorie diet actually increases weight loss. This is because calcium-rich dairy foods are thought to help certain tissues store, mobilise and oxidise fat to regulate our body weight.”

Nutritionist Dr Theo Ockhuizen, who chairs several international committees on nutrition, told the conference that the introduction of nutrient profiles internationally was a political decision.

He said: “It is an emotional decision provoked by pressure from consumer organisations. The emphasis on nutrients rather than on healthy dietary patterns could lead to unbalanced dietary patterns.”
Dairy UK Chairman David Curry MP, told the conference: “Our industry believes very firmly that as far as food is concerned, Government activity and education should be dedicated to the adoption of a balanced diet. Only then can you communicate true nutritional advice, so we struggle with strategies which seek only to reduce targeted single components in food.”

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