Weighing in on Dairy: Surprising New Research

May 5, 2016
woman drinking milk

Summer’s coming and that means swimsuit season. It also means that many people will be looking towards the best new diet for summer. Stepping on the scale is not all about vanity. As health professionals, we’re aware of the growing obesity epidemic. Additionally, many Americans are overweight, but undernourished. They’re missing out on key nutrients because they aren’t choosing to eat nutrient-rich foods first. Realistic goals and solutions are key to helping them improve their health.

Many Americans are simply consuming too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right foods. Touting the benefits of nutrient-rich foods can be one way to help them fight the battle of the bulge. Dairy foods remain an underconsumed food group, along with fruits, veggies and whole grains.  Most people are only consuming two servings of dairy a day. When you don’t get the three recommended servings of dairy foods, you miss out on the nine essential nutrients you need every day, including three of the four nutrients of concern: calcium, potassium and vitamin D. And elimination of a whole food group, like dairy, can lead to nutrient shortfalls without benefits to weight.

Trimming the Waistline

Making that shift towards nutrient-rich dairy can benefit your waistline. Those key nutrients in dairy foods play a strong part in helping achieve a healthy weight:

  • Studies show that enjoying three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day as part of a nutrient-rich, balanced diet may help maintain a healthy weight.
  • Dairy foods, even full-fat dairy foods, can be linked to favorable weight outcomes.
  • Dairy foods provide 8 grams of high-quality protein. Protein aids with satiety, weight maintenance and new muscle creation. Recent research shows that getting more protein at breakfast provided these benefits along with benefits for bones as well as increased energy and focus. And the benefits don’t stop there; higher protein diets for weight loss have even been linked to better sleep.

Eating Right

Choosing nutrient-rich foods has benefits beyond swimsuit season. Healthy eating is linked to reduced risk of certain chronic diseases, specifically cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Along with health benefits, dairy foods also taste great. They are a delicious and nutritious part of any healthy eating plan. Encouraging your patients to choose nutrient-rich foods including milk, cheese and yogurt helps them meet their nutrient needs each day. It also gets them closer to healthy eating styles recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Find more ways dairy fits in a healthy eating style