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Dairy Benefits

  • Milk and dairy products are an important part of the dietary guidelines and recommendations.
  • A natural source of quality protein, as well as essential vitamins B2, B12 and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iodine.
  • Contains small amounts of vitamin A, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin D, magnesium, selenium and zinc. 
  • Calcium from dairy is in more easily absorbed by the human body than from plant origins.


Dairy products of all sorts have been recognized historicaly as integral foods for human consumption. The dairy sector has made continuous advancement over the years and these products are certainly a beneficial source of key nutrients including high quality protein, energy, and many essential minerals and vitamins. While there has been a perception that a food containing saturated fat is unlikely to be beneficial to health recent estimates indicate that close to 30% of individuals dietary intake of saturated fat comes from dairy products with cheese being the major source. Recently, evidence has accumulated expressing how the composition and quantities of dietary fat are actually important in determining the relative risk to diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Milk-derived fat may offer significant health benefits compared with some common sources of dietary fats! It is also worth recognizes that individuals consuming dairy fats do not just consume saturated fat, but rather an array of complex and beneficial ingredients.

Challenging Assumptions

A meta-analysis that examined the associations between dairy products and health showed convincing evidence that increasing your intake of dairy can provide long-term reductions in the risk of heart disease. In the study the relative risk of stroke and heart disease in subjects with high dairy consumption was 0.79 and 0.84, respectively, relative to the risk in those with low consumption. This means that subjects with higher dairy consumption levels had a 16% reduction in risk of developing stroke and heart disease. Calcium plays an important role in mediating vascular contraction and vasodilatation, muscle contraction, nerve transmission and glandular secretion. The results provide evidence that those who consume large quantities of milk are at no greater risk of heart disease than those who consume little. Indeed, there appears to be a small but valuable reduction in risk of heart disease from increased consumption. It is suggested that despite milk fat being rich in saturated fat, the product has other benficial properties in respect to avoiding heart disease.


High quality protein and calcium are integral for normal growth and development of bones in children and adolescents, as well as, for the maintenance of bones later in life. Calcium is also important for the maintenance of healthy teeth, and proteins significantly contribute to the maintenance of muscle mass. During pregnancy and breast-feeding, many of the nutrients such as protein, phosphorous, magnesium, iodine, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 are required in larger amounts, and this can be found easily in dairy compared to other plant-based options. Scientific studies show that as part of a healthy diet dairy is associated with many health effects, including body weight management and composition, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Work Cited

1. Mohammed Abdalbasit A Gasmalla,1,2 Habtamu A Tessema,1,3 Ayah Salaheldin,4 Kamal Alahmad, Hinawi AM Hassanin, Waleed Aboshora, School of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, China, Department of Nutrition & Food technology, Omdurman Islamic University, Sudan, Department of Food process Engineering, Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Ethiopia, Department of Animal Science, University of Gezira, Sudan 5Department of Food Processing Engineering, Al Imam Almahdi University, Sudan, Correspondence: Mohammed Abdalbasit A Gasmalla, School of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, Received: January 26, 2017 | Published: June 22, 2017 

2. IRENA ROGELJ: Milk, Dairy Products, Nutrition and Health, Food technol. biotechnol. 38 (2) 143–147 (2000) 

3. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung. 12. Ernährungsbericht 2012: 43-47

3. Coudray B. Contribution of dairy products to micronutrient intake in France. J Am Coll Nutr. 2011;30 (5 Suppl 1):410S‐14S.

4. Vissers PA, Streppel MT, Feskens EJ, de Groot LC. Contribution of dairy products to micronutrient intake in The Netherlands; J Am Coll Nutr. 2011;30 (5Suppl 1):415S‐21S.

5. Van Staveren WA, de Groot LC. Evidence‐based dietary guidance and the role of dairy products for appropriate nutrition in the elderly. J Am Coll Nutr. 2011;30 (5 Suppl 1):4429S‐437S.

6. Gaucheron F. Milk and Dairy Products: a unique micronutrient combination, J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Oct;30(5 Suppl 1):400S-9S.

7. Miller GD, Jarvis JK, McBean LD. The importance of meeting calcium needs with foods. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Apr;20(2 Suppl):168S-185S. Review.

8. Commission Regulation (EC) No 983/2009 of 21 October 2009 on the authorisation and refusal of authorisation of certain health claims made on food and referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health.

9. Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health.

10. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for protein. EFSA Journal 2012;10(2):2557 [66 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2012. 2557. Available online: www.efsa.europa.eu/efsajournal

11. Astrup A, Chaput JP, Gilbert JA, Lorenzen JK. Dairy beverages and energy balance. Physiol Behav. 2010 Apr 26;100(1):67-75. 12. Van Loan M. The role of dairy foods and dietary calcium in weight management. J Am Coll Nutr 2009; 28: 120S-129S

13. Astrup A, Chaput JP, Gilbert JA, Lorenzen JK. Dairy beverages and energy balance. Physiol Behav. 2010 Apr 26;100(1):67-75. 14. Van Loan M. The role of dairy foods and dietary calcium in weight management. J Am Coll Nutr 2009; 28: 120S-129S

15. Abargouei AS, Janghorbani M, Salehi-Marzijarani M, Esmaillzadeh A. Effect of dairy consumption on weight and body composition in adults: a

systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Dec;36(12):1485-93.

16. Rice BH, Quann EE, Miller GD. Meeting and exceeding dairy recommendations: effects of dairy consumption on nutrient intakes and risk of chronic disease. Nutr Rev. 2013 Apr;71(4):209-23.

17. Soedamah-Muthu et al. (2011). Milk and dairy consumption and incidence of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality: dose-respond meta- analysis of prospective cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr, 2011, vol. 93, pp 158-71.

18. de Oliveira Otto et al. (2012). Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug; 96(2):397-404.

19. Elwood et al. (2010). The Consumption of Milk and Dairy Foods and the Incidence of Vascular Disease and Diabetes: An Overview of the Evidence. Lipids, 16 April 2010.

20. Bonthuis et al. (2010). Dairy consumption and patterns of mortality of Australian adults. Eur J Clin Nutr, vol. 64, pp 569-577.

21. Hjerpsted et al. (2011). Cheese intake in large amounts lowers LDL-cholesterol concentrations compared with butter intake of equal fat content. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Dec vol. 94 no. 6 1479-1484.

22. Nestel et al. (2012). Circulating inflammatory and atherogenic biomarkers are not increased following single meals of dairy foods. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012, 66, 25–31.

23. Nestel PJ (2008). Effects of Dairy Fats within Different Foods on Plasma Lipids. Review. J Am Coll Nutr. Vol. 27, no 6, pp 735S-740S.

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