Live Better
 
 

Should you include dairy in your diet?

Dairy – good or bad? Dietitian Joel Feren busts a few myths.

Woman eating yoghurt

I find myself endlessly spruiking the benefits of dairy foods, and with good reason too. Not only are dairy foods downright delicious, they are also extremely healthy – the evidence doesn’t lie.

Dairy foods provide a nutritional punch. They contain more than 10 nutrients important for our general health, nervous system, muscle function, energy levels and of course bone health.

More specifically, dairy foods are a rich source of vitamins A, B1, B12, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous, as well as protein and low GI carbohydrates. Eliminating dairy foods unnecessarily from your diet means you’ll be missing out on more than just calcium.

“Dairy foods are a rich source of vitamins A, B1, B12, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous, as well as protein and low GI carbohydrates.”

Is dairy fattening?

I often get asked if dairy foods are fattening. The answer is that some are – ice cream and cream are high in calories and should only be included occasionally. But milk, cheese, yoghurt and even custard should form part of your daily intake.

In fact, studies show that people who regularly consume dairy foods as part of energy-restricted diets may be better able to maintain their weight and have a reduced risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. The reason may be due to dairy’s impressive nutritional profile.

What about inflammation?

There is a commonly held myth that dairy foods increase inflammation. This can indeed be true if you have an allergy or intolerance.

However, a 2015 review of the current clinical evidence, published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, actually showed that dairy has significant anti-inflammatory properties for people without dairy intolerances.

How to increase your dairy intake

Most of the population does not meet their recommended intake of dairy foods. This may help explain the high rates of osteoporosis in the elderly population.

Luckily, including more dairy into your daily diet is easy. Add milk to your cereal or porridge and perhaps include a dollop of yoghurt on top too. Snack on yoghurt, custard, cheese and crackers in between meal times. Add ricotta or feta cheese to salads and pasta dishes. Down a glass of milk after the gym or before bedtime.

Embrace dairy foods as part of your diet. Go and get yourself a milk moustache and wear it proudly. I certainly do.

Recommended Reading

Food

Roasted capsicum recipe

A simple side dish, or delicious in sandwiches or pasta. Read more

Food

Veggie-packed penne pasta salad with smoked salmon recipe

Add loads of fresh veggies for a delicious pasta dish. Read more

Food

Stove-baked weekend eggs recipe

A warming weekend breakfast, full of energising protein. Read more

Food

The best healthy snacks for work

Try these dietitian-approved ideas for a quick energy boost. Read more

Food

Food for winter cosiness

Dietitian Lisa Donaldson shares some tips for warming up. Read more

Food

Meal planning made easy

Save time and money by getting organised in the kitchen. Read more

Food

A dietitian’s guide to the supermarket

Healthy eating starts with healthy shopping. Read more

Food

Going meat-free? Stay healthy on a vegan diet.

Practical tips for cutting out meat and staying healthy. Read more

youtubetwittersign-up-userArtboard Copynp_phone_503983_000000download_red4xdownload_red4x copyArtboardmember-offer-starLogoMedibank - Logo - ColourOval 5Instagram iconicon-editdownload_red4x copygive-back--spinesgive-back--moneygive-back--massagegive-back--likegive-back--jointgive-back--emailgive-back--dislikedownload_red4xdownload_red4xGroup 5filter-iconfacebookMobile Navcheckcarret-upcarret-rightcarret-leftcarret-downGroup Copy 2arrowarrow-circleanimated-tick