by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Dairy

Nov 11 2019

Industry-funded study of the week: Dairy foods again and again

The Study:  Dairy Foods and Dairy Fats: New Perspectives on Pathways Implicated in Cardiometabolic Health.  Kristin M Hirahatake; Richard S Bruno; Bradley W Bolling ; Christopher Blesso; Lacy M Alexander, et al.  Advances in Nutrition, nmz105, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz105  Published: 25 September 2019

The Conclusions: Most observational and experimental evidence does not support a detrimental relationship between full-fat dairy intake and cardiometabolic health, including risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Indeed, an expanded understanding of the dairy food matrix and the bioactive properties of dairy fats and other constituents suggests a neutral or potentially beneficial role in cardiometabolic health.

The Conflicted Interests (my emphasis): SHA’s research is funded in part by USDA-Agricultural Research Project…Support for RSB is provided by USDA-NIFA…the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center at the Ohio State University, and the National Dairy Council. BWB’s research is funded in part by the National Dairy Council. Author disclosures: SHA has received honoraria from ILSI North America, the National Dairy Council (NDC), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Herbalife, and the Council for Responsible Nutrition as a presenter and participant at sponsored scientific conferences. RSB has received honoraria from NDC to serve as an external research advisor and from Abbott Nutrition for serving as a presenter at a sponsored scientific conference. BWB has received honoraria from NDC and Nederlanse Zuivel Oranisatie for presenting research at scientific conferences. CB has received honoraria from NDC and the America Egg Board as a presenter and participant at sponsored scientific conferences. LMA has received funding from NDC, NHLBI, and Performance Health. KMH has received funding from NDC to coordinate author contributions and to write the article. The National Dairy Council (NDC) sponsored the 2018 Scientific Summit: A New Look at Dairy Foods and Healthy Eating Patterns. The sponsor reviewed this manuscript prior to submission. All editorial decisions were solely left to the authors, and this report reflects the independent opinions and views of the authors.

Comment: The National Dairy Council funded this study and reviewed its manuscript.  The authors receive funding from the Dairy Council.  This review should be considered a paid advertisement.  Do dairy foods have any special role in cardiometabolic health?  I doubt it, but we are unlikely to find out until such questions are investigated independently.

Nov 7 2019

The dairy industry in Asia: a round up

DairyReporter.com, one of those industry newsletters I love getting every day, tracks the international dairy industry and occasionally collects them in one place.  Here is an example.  I never can get over how the dairy industry has worked its way into countries where populations never consumed such products and are largely lactose-intolerant.  The industry has gotten the word out that children grow faster and bigger if they consume dairy foods.  That’s all it takes, and Asia is a huge consumer market.  To wit:

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Oct 22 2019

The U.S. Dairy Industry: A disaster (especially for small farmers)

Rick Barrett at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has written a series of articles under the heading “Dairyland in Distress.”  

  1. Chapter One: “Dairy farmers are in crisis — and it could change Wisconsin forever”
  2. Chapter Two:‘Struggling to tread water’: Dairy farmers are caught in an economic system with no winning formula”
  3. Chapter Three: “Americans love soda, fancy water and fake milk. Can the dairy industry keep up?”
  4. Chapter Four:Wisconsin farmers helped the world get hooked on dairy, but those customers are becoming competitors”

The articles come with data: The changing market for dairy in 7 charts

These explain the enormous increase in world milk production and its effects on Wisconsin farmers.  The supply is so great that farmers cannot sell their milk at a price high enough to break even.

 

The answer, of course, is production controls but good luck with that in today’s agricultural politics environment.

USDA policies include incentives for increasing production; they work well for doing precisely that.

Rescuing small and mid-size dairies requires political will and willingness to pay the real costs of milk production.

Otherwise, we will be getting our milk from the cheapest possible sources, and that does not bode well for quality or public health.

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Oct 21 2019

Industry-funded study of the week: Dairy yet again

This one was sent to me by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous (thanks!).

The Study: Dairy Fat Consumption and the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome: An Examination of the Saturated Fatty Acids in DairyAllison L. Unger,Moises Torres-Gonzalez, and Jana Kraft.  Nutrients 2019, 11(9), 2200; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11092200

The review argues: “it is likely that the diverse array of SFA [saturated fatty acid] constituents within full-fat dairy foods contributes to favorably modulating cardiometabolic health.”

It concludes: “In summary, previous work on the impact of dairy-derived SFA consumption on disease risk suggests that there is currently insufficient evidence to support current dietary guidelines which consolidate all dietary SFA into a single group of nutrients whose consumption should be reduced, regardless of dietary source, food matrix, and composition.”

Funding and Conflicted Interests (my emphasis): “The work involved for this manuscript was funded by National Dairy Council….M.T.-G. is employee of National Dairy Council. J.K. has received research funding from National Dairy Council.

Comment: This purpose of this dairy-funded review is to demonstrate that contrary to contradictory information, the saturated fatty acids in dairy foods are not only benign, but beneficial. The dairy industry would love that to be true.

This particular sponsored review is exceptionally well organized and illustrated.  I especially appreciated the timeline of dietary recommendations for saturated fat from 1977 to the present.  This is the bottom half:

This is a classic industry-funded review arriving at the desired conclusions.  In essence, it is a dairy industry advertisement and should be understood as such.

Why do this?  The dairy industry is in serious economic trouble these days, as I will discuss tomorrow.

Oct 17 2019

Plant-based meat and dairy: recent innovations

I’ve been collecting items related to plant-based meat and dairy foods from the various newsletters I read.  I am having a hard time keeping up.  This is a super-hot topic with investors pouring money into these products.

Things are moving so quickly that Food Dive has established a plant-protein tracker to help readers keep up.

Even a quick scan of just the titles of these articles will make clear just how hot this area is.

Let’s start with the in-fighting.

Here’s what he’s talking about.  I’ll bet they don’t agree.

As for what the meat industry thinks of all this…

And the New York Times’ take on Big Meat’s getting in on this action.

Sep 30 2019

Industry-funded studies of the week: Yogurt

These three papers were part of a supplement to Advances in Nutrition published in September 2019: Supplement—6th Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative (YINI) Summit / More than the Sum of Its Parts, sponsored by Danone Institutes International. Publication costs for this supplement were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges.

I.  Introduction to the Sixth Global Summit on the Health Effects of Yogurt: Yogurt, More than the Sum of Its Parts.  Sharon M Donovan ; Olivier Goulet. Advances in Nutrition, Volume 10, Issue 5, September 2019, Pages 913S–916S.

Conclusion: “Ultimately, the inclusion of fermented dairy products in food-based dietary guidelines, not only as a dairy option, but as a significant source of viable bacteria and fermentation products, could contribute to improved public health and should be considered.”

Author disclosures: “The guest editor of the supplement has the following conflict of interest: SMD co-chairs the Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative. She received reimbursement for travel expenses and an honorarium from Danone Institutes International for chairing the Sixth International Yogurt in Nutrition Summit at the Nutrition 2018 meeting in June 2018 in Boston, MA….SMD and OG are co-chairs of the Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative. Travel expenses and an honorarium were paid to SMD and OG by Danone Institutes International for chairing the Sixth International Yogurt in Nutrition Summit at the Nutrition 2018 meeting in June 2018 in Boston, MA. OG is also the Chair of Danone Institutes International.

II.  Dairy Foods, Obesity, and Metabolic Health: The Role of the Food Matrix Compared with Single Nutrients.  Dariush Mozaffarian.  Advances in Nutrition, Volume 10, Issue 5, September 2019, Pages 917S–923S,

Conclusion: “The present evidence suggests that whole-fat dairy foods do not cause weight gain, that overall dairy consumption increases lean body mass and reduces body fat, that yogurt consumption and probiotics reduce weight gain, that fermented dairy consumption including cheese is linked to lower CVD risk, and that yogurt, cheese, and even dairy fat may protect against type 2 diabetes. Based on the current science, dairy consumption is part of a healthy diet, without strong evidence to favor reduced-fat products; while intakes of probiotic-containing unsweetened and fermented dairy products such as yogurt and cheese appear especially beneficial.”

Disclosures: “DM received an honorarium from the American Society of Nutrition for the preparation of this manuscript. A freelance science writer, Denise Webb, was supported by Danone Institute International to prepare an initial draft of this manuscript for DM based on a recording of his talk and slides at the American Society of Nutrition 2018 Congress. The final manuscript was edited in detail and approved by DM. The funders had no role in the design, analysis, interpretation, review, or final approval of the manuscript for publication…DM reports research funding from the NIH and the Gates Foundation; personal fees from GOED, Nutrition Impact, Pollock Communications, Bunge, Indigo Agriculture, Amarin, Acasti Pharma, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and America’s Test Kitchen; scientific advisory board, Elysium Health (with stock options), Omada Health, and DayTwo; and chapter royalties from UpToDate; all outside the submitted work.”

III.  Effects of Full-Fat and Fermented Dairy Products on Cardiometabolic Disease: Food Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts.  Arne Astrup; Nina Rica Wium Geiker; Faidon Magkos.  Advances in Nutrition, Volume 10, Issue 5, September 2019, Pages 917S–923S.

Conclusion: “Although more research is warranted to adjust for possible confounding factors and to better understand the mechanisms of action of dairy products on health outcomes, it becomes increasingly clear that the recommendation to restrict dietary saturated fat to reduce risk of cardiometabolic disease is getting outdated. Therefore, the suggestion to restrict or eliminate full-fat dairy from the diet may not be the optimal strategy for reducing cardiometabolic disease risk and should be re-evaluated in light of recent evidence.”

Disclosures.  “NRWG and FM, no conflicts of interest. AA is a member of advisory boards/consultant for BioCare Copenhagen, Denmark; Dutch Beer Institute, Netherlands; Gelesis, United States; Groupe Éthique et Santé, France; McCain Foods Limited, United States; Novo Nordisk, Denmark; Pfizer, United States; Saniona, Denmark; and Weight Watchers, United States. AA has received travel grants and honoraria as a speaker for a wide range of Danish and international consortia. AA is co-owner and member of the board of the consultancy company Dentacom Aps, Denmark; cofounder and co-owner of UCPH spin-outs Mobile Fitness A/S, Flaxslim ApS, and Personalized Weight Management Research Consortium ApS (Gluco-diet.dk). He is coinventor of a number of patents owned by the University of Copenhagen, in accordance with Danish law. He is coauthor of a number of diet and cookery books, including books on personalized diet approaches. AA is not an advocate or activist for specific diets and is not strongly committed to any specific diet.”

Comment

These papers aim to dispute the idea that full-fat dairy products but have negative health effects. This is a legitimate scientific question that deserves investigation and analysis, preferably by studies funded by independent sources.  Industry-funded studies and opinion pieces are well known to produce results and conclusions favorable to the sponsor’s interest, as is the case here.

 

Sep 5 2019

Industry-influenced study of the week: dairy and blood pressure

A reader, Gema Flores Monreal, who holds a doctorate in Food Science and Nutrition, pointed me to this study.  She noted that it examines the effects on blood pressure of eating 5 to 6 servings of dairy per day, twice what is typically recommended. 

it is easy to understand why a dairy company would want research like this.  People are consuming less dairy food, and the industry wants to reverse the decline.

The study:  Effect of high compared with low dairy intake on blood pressure in overweight middle-aged adults: results of a randomized crossover intervention studyRietsema S, and 11 other authors.  Am J Clin Nutr 2019;110:340–348.

Conclusions: “This intervention study shows that an HDD [high dairy diet] results in a reduction of both systolic and diastolic BP [blood pressure] in overweight middleaged men and women. If the results of our study are reproduced by other studies, advice for high dairy intake may be added to treatment and prevention of high BP.”

Funding: “Supported by the Public–Private Partnership Topconsortium voor Kennis en Innovatie (TKI) Agri & Food (TKI-AF-12104).”  FrieslandCampina, a Dutch multinational dairy cooperative, is part of the partnership.  Two of the authors are employed by FrieslandCampina.

Comment: As I discuss in Unsavory Truthresearch like this has a high probability of producing biased results.  I’m reserving judgment about dairy foods and blood pressure until results like these are confirmed by independent research.

Jun 10 2019

Industry-funded study of the week: dairy foods, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease

Knowing that this review was sponsored by the dairy industry, can you predict its conclusions?

Association between dairy intake and the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis with subgroup analysis of men versus women. Moshe Mishali, Shiri Prizant-Passal, Tova Avrech, and Yehuda Shoenfeld . Nutrition Reviews 2019;77(6):417–429.

Conclusions: “In conclusion, these results, indicating that dairy product consumption decreases the risk of T2D and CVD, are in line with the recommendations for the public to consume dairy products. The findings about sex differences and the positive effect of milk on women need further establishment. Future studies should focus on isolating the effect of dairy products for men and women throughout their life span

Funding. This work was financed by the Israel Dairy Board.

Declaration of interests. M.M. is a consultant for the Israel Dairy Board. S.P. was paid for her work by the Israel Dairy Board. T.A. is Chief Health Officer at the Israel Dairy Board. Y.S. is a consultant for the Israel Dairy Board.

Comment: This is a study paid for by the Israeli dairy industry.  As such, it can well be considered an advertisement.  Like other such industry-funded studies (as I discuss in Unsavory Truth), it puts a positive spin on equivocal results (“need further establishment”).