Is Dairy Good Or Bad For You? In the last few years, there has been an abundance of information about the health benefits or risks of consuming dairy products. Some research suggests that drinking milk can reduce your risk of osteoporosis, while other data indicates that dairy may increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
There are even rumors that drinking too much milk may lead to an early death! If you are like many readers, you are probably wondering: Is dairy good or bad for you? The answer is neither. It all depends on how much and which type of dairy you consume. While some people should limit their intake of certain types of dairy, others could benefit from increasing their consumption. Keep reading to understand the true pros and cons of dairy so that you can make informed decisions about your diet.
Is Dairy Good Or Bad For You?
The truth is that consuming dairy products is neither good nor bad for your health. Instead, it depends on your current diet and health status, as well as your body’s ability to digest and metabolize dairy. This is because all foods contain a mix of health-promoting and disease-risking nutrients.
Some of these nutrients are found within the protein and fat content of the food, while others are found in the vitamins and minerals that are added during processing. In other words, it is not the dairy itself that is good or bad, but the specific nutrients that are in each type of dairy. This means that you should re-frame your thinking to focus on the specific nutrients found in dairy products and the effect they have on your health.
The Health Benefits Of Dairy
The health benefits of dairy include improved bone health, reduced risk of certain cancers, and reduced risk of diabetes. On the other hand, consuming too much dairy can also lead to negative health consequences, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. Dairy products are naturally rich in calcium, which is essential for building healthy bones. The calcium in milk has long been promoted as an important tool for preventing osteoporosis, a disease that causes your bones to become weak and brittle.
The link between dairy and bone health is so strong that organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Society for Nutrition recommend that children and adolescents consume two servings of dairy each day. People of all ages who want to prevent osteoporosis should aim to consume around one to two servings of dairy every day.
The Risks Of Consuming Dairy
The risks of consuming dairy include increased risk of acne, increased risk of certain cancers, and reduced absorption of iron. Increased acne. Although acne is often associated with adolescence, many people continue to struggle with acne as adults. Some research suggests that dairy could be one of the factors that contribute to acne. In fact, one study found that acne was three times more common in people who consumed the most dairy products compared to those who consumed the fewest dairy products. Increased cancer risk.
In addition to acne, a few studies have found that increased dairy consumption may also increase your risk of developing certain cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer. Higher risk of breast cancer. Some research suggests that high dairy intake may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Higher risk of prostate cancer. In men, high dairy intake may be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, a disease that affects roughly one in eight American men.
Which Types Of Dairy Are Good And Bad For You?
All types of dairy are high in both protein and calcium, which are important nutrients for promoting good health. However, not all dairy products are created equal. In fact, some types of dairy are better for your health than others.
- Milk: Milk is the most common type of dairy consumed in Western nations. Although milk is naturally rich in calcium, not all milk has the same amount of calcium. In fact, the amount of calcium found in each type of milk can vary by as much as 30%. For example, whole milk and 2% milk contain as much as 12 grams of calcium per cup, but skim milk contains only about 8 grams of calcium per cup. Milk is also naturally high in protein, with 8 grams of protein per cup.
- Yogurt: Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that contains naturally occurring bacteria, such as lactobacillus. These bacteria are believed to be beneficial to the health of your digestive system because they help break down the food you eat. Although yogurt naturally contains calcium, it also contains more sugar than milk.
- Cream: Cream is dairy that has been concentrated by removing some of the water content. Cream is naturally high in fat, as well as high in saturated fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cream is also naturally high in sugar, as well as in calories.
- Cheese: Cheese is a fermented dairy product that contains a significant amount of protein and calcium. Cheese is rich in saturated fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cheese is also high in sodium, which has been associated with high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
How Much Should You Consume?
Based on the health benefits and risks of consuming dairy, your individual needs will vary. Individuals who eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods, including dairy, do not need to take any special supplements. However, if you are not getting enough calcium from your diet, you may benefit from taking a calcium supplement.
The current dietary guidelines recommend that adults over the age of 50 consume 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day. The recommended daily calcium intake is lower for younger adults, adolescents, and children.
Summing It Up
In conclusion, dairy is neither good nor bad for your health. Instead, it depends on the type of dairy that you consume, as well as your current diet and health status. Indeed, some people should avoid consuming certain types of dairy because of their individual medical conditions.
For example, people who have lactose intolerance, or who have had a gastric bypass or a colostomy, should avoid or reduce their intake of dairy products that contain lactose. People who do not consume dairy should aim to consume a wide variety of plant-based foods that are naturally rich in protein and calcium, such as legumes, leafy greens, and beans.