Are dairy products good or bad?
As a species, we have used dairy products in one way or another for thousands of years. For centuries, milk has been considered "good", but it is increasingly being written and said that milk is full of "bad" fats, unhealthy chemicals, hormones and substances that our body cannot digest. That milk damages our gastrointestinal tract, causing a variety of health problems - from pimples to an increased risk of cancer.
The good news - there is a lot of research on milk and dairy products, the bad - it's pretty complicated.
Not all dairy products are the same
It is important to understand that dairy products are very different. Although most dairy products are derived from cow's milk, relatively large amounts are also made from goat's and sheep's milk, especially cheeses and yoghurts, buffalo dairy products (mozzarella di bufala) are widespread in Italy, yak milk is widely used in Mongolia and mares in Central Asia. milk, etc.
Naturally, milk is a mixture of water, protein, sugars, minerals and vitamins. The nutritional value of dairy products depends on:
- The type of animal and the way in which these animals are fed, such as seal milk, has a fat content of more than 50%;
- Type of milk processing - whether it becomes skimmed milk, cheese, ice cream, yoghurt, butter, etc. The type of milk treatment affects the percentage of water, protein, fat and other nutrients in the final product;
- Is the milk heated (pasteurized) and heated to what temperature.
Calorie comparison of some dairy products (calories per 100 g of product)
Non-fat Greek yogurt
And nutrient comparison (100 g of product)
Non-fat Greek yogurt
Not all people are the same
People's ability to digest dairy products varies depending on their genetics, age, digestive tract health and intestinal micro-flora.
The choice of dairy products is also determined by factors such as taste, cultural differences and renunciation of certain products due to beliefs or religious considerations.
That is, even if dairy products are theoretically "good", there are many reasons why they can be "bad" for a particular person.
Nutrients in dairy products
The primary function of milk is to feed a growing mammal - therefore milk contains many useful nutrients, including the most important for us are:
- Fatty acids such as:
- Saturated, monounsaturated and unsaturated fats;
- CLA or conjugated linoleic acid;
- Trans-palmitolenic acid.
- Carbohydrates such as:
- Proteins such as:
- Minerals such as:
- Fat-soluble vitamins, such as:
- Vitamin A;
- Vitamin D;
- Vitamin K2;
- B vitamins such as: Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which is needed for growth, respiration, red blood cell production and central nervous system functions, Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which promotes nerve and blood cell health. Read more about vitamins HERE.
- Iodine needed to produce thyroid hormones.
Differences between dairy products
We all understand that by drinking a pint of yogurt, we ingest different nutrients than by eating a pint of ice cream.
The types of dairy products differ in:
- Percentage of macronutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein) and trace elements (vitamins, minerals, specific fatty acids, etc.);
- Type of treatment;
- Bacterial content;
- Liquid to solid ratio;
- How easily they are digestible and how fast they are digestible.
With dairy products, you can get almost 100% of fat (such as Ghhe's butter) and almost 100% of protein (such as Whey protein powder).
For most, breast milk is the first food. At the beginning of our lives, milk efficiently supplies us with water and the nutrients we need for development.
Milk has been an important agricultural product for thousands of years, absorbing much of the nutrients we need.
Using milk in a calorie-deficient diet can help increase muscle mass and reduce body fat by improving your intake of protein, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.
Due to its relatively high water content, milk can also be an effective way to restore fluid, electrolytes and amino acids after a workout.
This does not mean that milk is healthy for everyone and always. Studies vary, but there is no clear link between milk consumption and illness or health problems. However, it is undeniable that different people react differently to milk.
Milk is clearly an important source of nutrients, but people's reactions to milk and / or lactose are different. If the consumption of milk causes unpleasant side effects, try other dairy products, such as sour milk products, cheeses, etc.
Yoghurt, kefir and other sour milk products
Under the influence of bacteria (fermentation), milk is turned into products such as kefir, buttermilk, yoghurt, skyr, cottage cheese, cheese… It seems that sour milk products are the healthiest. Many of my clients, who experience unpleasant symptoms while drinking milk, do not.
Sour milk products differ significantly from raw milk because:
- Contains probiotics (which improves our gut function);
- Contains bioactive lipids (fats) produced by probiotic organisms;
- They have lower levels of lactose (because the bacteria process the sugar);
- Proteins are easier to digest;
- They contain more of some beneficial nutrients (such as vitamin K2)
Constant consumption of yoghurt (or other fermented milk products) seems to reduces type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease by improving the health of our digestive tract, insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation and improving both innate and adaptive immune functions.
In many studies The healthy effects of fermented milk products, especially yoghurt, on the intestinal microflora have been convincingly demonstrated, which in turn has a positive effect on our overall health.
Studies on different cheeses and cheese products are different.
Cheeses that are produced by fermenting milk and are matured, in their final form, like yoghurts, sour milk, kefir, etc., contain a lot of bacteria (probiotics) that are friendly to us. But cheese products, such as processed cheeses, cheese sauces, etc., do not contain live bacteria but contain additives such as soybean oil, artificial colors and flavor enhancers.
Conclusions: Natural, aged cheeses, like sour milk products, have a positive effect on our health, but this does not apply to various cheese products.
Butter and Ghei butter
Butter and Ghee butter differ in that the ghee butter removes solid particles from the milk when heated, resulting in a more liquid consistency of the ghee butter and a reduction in the amount of lactose (milk sugar). For this reason, ghi butter can also be consumed by people with lactose intolerance.
Although butter and ghi butter contain mainly saturated fats, they also contain monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Fat content per tablespoon:
Ghee butter has a higher smoke point than butter (the temperature at which the fat begins to break down) - 250 ° C for ghee butter and only 175 ° C for butter. Therefore, it is recommended to use ghi butter instead of butter for frying. You can read more about frying oils HERE.
In general, the differences between butter and ghee butter are small, except that ghee butter does not contain lactose (milk sugar) and casein (milk protein), while butter contains a small amount of lactose and casein. For people who are sensitive to these ingredients in milk, it would be better to choose ghi butter.
The differences in fat and calories between Ghee butter and butter are negligible. That is, your choice will not significantly affect the amount of calories and fat you consume. There is also no evidence that Ghi is generally healthier than butter.
Ice cream and frozen dairy desserts
Ice cream and frozen dairy desserts are clearly less healthy than milk, cheese and yoghurt because, although they contain a wide range of nutrients typical of dairy products, they also contain added sugar, flavorings, oils, emulsifiers and other substances, often naturally occurring. non-existent, fully synthetic substances.
Everyone tastes ice cream, including me, but read the labels and avoid ice cream with a long list of ingredients.
So how do dairy products affect our health?
The short answer is - It's complicated.
Health or lack of it is the result of a complex interaction between many factors - our diet, our activities, our lifestyle, our genetics, age, the environment in which we live…
What I mean is that there is no "magic wand" or "magic food" that will automatically improve your health and fitness and / or change your body. Dairy products, despite being a very good source of many nutrients, are only one small part of the overall "big picture".
Milk is a good source of quality protein
Milk is a rich source of high-quality protein, containing all nine essential amino acids needed for our bodies to function. One glass of milk contains 8 grams of protein. Milk can help reduce age-related muscle loss and also promote muscle recovery after exercise.
Protein is needed important body functions such as growth and development, cell regeneration, regulation of the immune system… The two main types of milk protein are casein and whey protein. Both are considered high quality proteins.
Whey protein contains the branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, which are involved in building muscle and can help reduce muscle mass loss and provide them with "fuel" during exercise.
Milk has been shown to promote muscle regeneration in athletes and that drinking milk after a workout can reduce muscle damage, promote muscle regeneration, increase strength and even reduce muscle pain. Therefore, milk is a good, natural alternative to industrially produced protein drinks.
Milk has a beneficial effect on bone health
Drinking milk has long been associated with healthy, strong bones, as milk contains calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium - nutrients that are essential for bone health. Studies show that the use of milk and milk products can prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures, especially for the elderly.
As I mentioned, milk is a good source of protein, and protein is an important component of bone, accounting for about 50% of bone volume and about one-third of bone mass.
Milk helps to reduce weight gain
Consumption of milk, especially whole milk, can prevent weight gain. Several studies have linked drinking milk to a lower risk of obesity.
Interestingly, this effect was observed only for whole milk. A study of 145 three - year - old Latin American children found that higher consumption of milk fat is associated with a lower risk of childhood obesity.
Another study involving more than 18,000 middle-aged and older women found that more Eating whole milk products is associated with lower weight gain and a lower risk of obesity.
This is due to the high content of protein in the milk, which helps to maintain a longer feeling of satiety. In addition, there are studies on the presence of milk the ability of conjugated linoleic acid to promote weight loss, promoting fat breakdown and inhibiting fat formation. There are also studies that show that High levels of calcium in the diet promote the breakdown of fat and inhibit the absorption of fat in the body.
Milk is a nutritious product that can have a beneficial effect on our health, and we can take it in many different ways, from adding it to coffee or smoothies to milk soups and morning porridge.
If fresh milk makes you feel unwell - you can choose, for example, cheese, cottage cheese or yoghurt, which contains almost the same amount of protein, calcium and phosphorus.
Drinking milk and using other dairy products can prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures and even help maintain a healthy weight.