Assessment of the impact of milk and dairy on human metabolism and on health
Project code: MRI-PBE-08-48
Contract period: 01.01.2001 - 31.12.2021
Purpose of research: Inventory & Assessment
Milk and dairy are established food products in central and northern Europe. In many countries with no or little tradition of dairy consumption (e.g. China) the population increasingly eat milk and dairy. More than 42 countries make recommendations for a regular milk/dairy intake, mostly 2 to 3 servings per day. On the other side there are reservations about milk and dairy because of the high proportion of saturated fats and their cholesterol-increasing potential . Therefore, and because fat provides more energy per gram than protein or carbohydrates, low-fat dairy products are recommended. In recent years there is a growing critical look at lactose. Lactose-free milk and dairy are increasingly promoted and consumed. Furthermore some scientists warn against the consumption of milk and dairy overall.
Milk and dairy are an important source of calcium (Ca), but they provide benefits beyond. They have a high nutrient density for several minerals and vitamins ((Mg, Zn,Iodine, Vitamin B2, B12). Milk fat had long been considered unfavorable because of the high content of saturated fat, but s currently a reassessment is going on. Furthermore, epidemiologic findings suggest that the habitual consumption of milk and dairy is either neutral with respect to the risk of several diseases (like CVD, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer), or is associated with a somewhat decreased risk. Only for prostate cancer there may be an increased risk with a very high intake. Beyond that there are no unfavorable effects. Milk and dairy are useful foods on their own and particularly as a component of a prudent diet pattern. The average current intake in Germany is 190 g/d, which is below the recommendations of the DGE (German Nutrition Society.