Celebrate National Dairy Month and Separate Milk Myths from Facts
Published: June 5, 2021
Options in the dairy case have expanded tremendously in the past decade and with so many choices, it’s no wonder that parents are overwhelmed and confused. Everyone from your hairdresser to online health gurus have something to say about the foods you eat—and with that comes many myths. To help you make the best decision for you and your family, let’s tackle a few of the most common myths about milk and dairy foods.
Lactose intolerance is one of the leading reasons people cut dairy from their diets. However, you can still enjoy dairy foods with these strategies:
- Try lactose-free products like milk or ice cream.
- Enjoy yogurt. The live, active cultures help to break down the lactose.
- Choose natural cheeses, like Cheddar or Swiss, which have little to no lactose.
- Incorporate milk into meals. Whether as a drink or an ingredient, milk with food will help slow digestion and give your body more time to digest the lactose.
Consumers are choosing plant-based beverages over real cow’s milk due to the perception that plant-based beverages are healthier. The reality is that there is no alternative to real cow’s milk when it comes to nutrition. Plant-based beverages do not provide the amount of protein or package of essential nutrients— calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12, pantothenic acid, zinc, selenium, iodine, riboflavin and niacin—found in real cow’s milk. One 8-ounce glass of almond beverage only provides 1 gram of protein, compared to 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8-ounce serving of real dairy milk.
While nutrition experts recommend limiting added sugar in the diet, it’s important to look at the full nutrient package when selecting a food or beverage. Research shows that flavored milk, which provides the same nutrients as white milk, contributes just 3 percent of added sugars to childrens’ diets versus sodas and fruit drinks, which account for close to half of the added sugar and deliver far less, if any, nutritional value. Research also indicates that children who drink flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs, do not weigh more and do not consume more added sugar, fat or calories than non-milk drinkers.
When cows become ill, farmers and veterinarians may need to treat them with antibiotics, just as people sometimes need medication when they are sick. When this happens, the cow is removed from the herd, treated and the milk that is produced during this time is discarded. The cow is not placed back into the herd until all antibiotics have cleared her body.
All milk is strictly tested for antibiotics on the farm and at the processing plant. Any milk that tests positive cannot be sold to the public. The farmer is responsible for any milk that tests positive and required to pay for the full truckload.
Organic vs Conventional
There is no scientific evidence concluding that organic dairy products are safer or healthier than conventional dairy products. Strict government standards ensure that both conventional and organic milk are wholesome, safe and nutritious. Both products contain the same combination of nutrients that makes dairy an important part of a healthy diet, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Don’t let myths cause you to miss out on dairy’s true nutrient package. Celebrate National Dairy Month with a tall glass of milk and visit TheDairyAlliance.com for delicious dairy recipes!
Courtesy of The Dairy Alliance