by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Dairy

Nov 23 2020

Industry-funded study of the week: dairy foods and child growth

Growth and Development of Preschool Children (12–60 Months): A Review of the Effect of Dairy Intake.   David C. Clark, Christopher J. Cifelli, Matthew A Pikosky.  Nutrients 202012(11), 3556; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113556

The study:  A narrative review of studies of dairy intake and child growth, cognitive development, and weight gain.
Results: there is a positive association between dairy intake and linear growth. The impact of milk or dairy products on cognitive development is less clear due to a lack of evidence and is a gap in the literature that should be addressed. Regarding the impact on body weight, the majority of evidence suggests there is either no association or an inverse association between milk intake by preschool children on overweight and obesity later in life.
Funding: “The work involved for this manuscript was funded by National Dairy Council (provided to D.C.C.).”
Conflicts of interest: “C.J.C. and M.A.P. are employees of National Dairy Council.”
Comment: The Dairy Council has a vested interest in demonstrating that dairy foods promote linear growth and cognitive function in young children, but do not promote overweight or obesity. This dairy-funded literature review is remarkable for its cautious interpretation: “the absence of data from studies conducted in low- and middle-income countries is a serious gap, especially given the dual burden of undernutrition and overnutrition that is becoming prevalent in developing countries.”  That’s another reason for this study: sell more dairy foods in middle- and low-income countries.  China, for example, is pushing dairy products as a means to grow taller children; it does so despite widespread lactose intolerance among the Chinese population.
Oct 22 2020

USDA data on dairy products

The USDA destroyed the ability of its Economic Research Service (ERS) to do investigations that might prove inconvenient for this administration (see my most recent post on this topic), but this agency is still producing reports on specific commodities.

Here are the latest dairy reports.  You have to be pretty nerdy to delve into these Excel spreadsheets but if you do, you will get a good idea of what ERS staff are doing these days as well as learn details about dairy production.  TMI?  Maybe.

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Aug 13 2020

Annals of marketing: Lithuanian ice cream flavors

I am indebted to DairyReporter.com for this item, which especially interested me because one set of my grandparents immigrated to the United States from Lithuania in the very early 1900s.  Perhaps this explains why I like ice cream so much.

The item:”12 bizarre ice cream flavors from Lithuania.

It seems plain vanilla ice cream might soon be out of fashion in Lithuania, where chefs are experimenting with natural flavors, including plenty not normally associated with ice cream.”

He’s not kidding.  Try these:

    • Pine needle
    • Peony
    • Carrot
    • Rhubarb
    • Beetroot
    • Lavender
    • Quark and nettle ice cream (I had to look up quark.  No, not a subatomic particle: a curd-type cheese).
    • Linden honey and dill
    • Seaweed and caviar
    • Spinach and tarragon
    • Beer
  • Smoked mackerel
Chacun à son goût seems appropriate here.  
Personally, I’ll take vanilla.
Jul 10 2020

Weekend reading: more reports

CAST [Council for Agricultural Science and Technology: Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Food and Agricultural Markets:  This is a collection of 16 articles by various experts on the effects of Covid-19 on food, agriculture, and forestry.  The report is here.

IATP (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy): Milking the Planet: How Big Dairy is Heating Up the Planet and Hollowing Rural Communities: The report is here.

FAIRR (a global network of investors addressing issues in meat production): An Industry Infected: Animal Agriculture in a post-COVID world.  The report is here.

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds globally, we are presented with a real-time case study into the vulnerability of animal agriculture systems to external shocks. It has reminded us of the vulnerability of human health to disease risks stemming from both wild and domestic animals, and has served as a warning of the role modern animal production systems can play in increasing zoonotic disease risk.

The British Meat Processors Association is not happy with this one, it seems.

 

Mar 10 2020

The heartbreaking decline in American agriculture and especially dairy

Farm bankruptcies rose again in 2019 painting a bleak picture on maps of the U.S.

Dairy farms showed the largest decline in 15 years.

As for dairy consumption, take a look at this collection of charts.

Butter and cheese are up; milk is down.

Even ice cream is down.

That leaves us with yogurt as the one product that was doing well, but then wasn’t.

I like dairy foods and don’t want farms to go under, but dairy products are way overproduced so it’s hard to make a living from them.

On another dairy matter, the International Dairy Federation has just issued new guidelines for the welfare of dairy cattle.   Let’s give this industry credit for trying to do right by dairy cattle.  But the real problem, which nobody wants to address right now, is that there are too many of them in the wrong places.

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Mar 2 2020

Industry-funded reviews of the week: dairy foods

The dairy industry, ever under siege, is doing its best to convince us to eat dairy foods.  Full disclosure: I eat and like dairy foods.  I do not, however, like the way the dairy industry funds research aimed at marketing its products.  Here are two examples.

Example 1: Full-fat dairy foods are good for you [yes, they can be, but in moderation]

The study: Potential Cardiometabolic Health Benefits of Full-Fat Dairy: The Evidence Base.  Kristin M Hirahatake, Arne Astrup, James O Hill, Joanne L Slavin, David B Allison, and Kevin C Maki.  Adv Nutr 2020;00:1–15.

Conclusions: “Emerging evidence shows that the consumption of full-fat dairy foods has a neutral or inverse association with adverse cardiometabolic health outcomes, including atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and associated risk factors.”

Conflicts of interest and funding (dairy groups are highlighted):

Example 2: Dairy foods can help reduce world hunger [of course they can]

The report: Dairy’s Impact on Reducing Global Hunger

Major finding: “The remarkable consistency of the positive association between dairy animal ownership,
milk/dairy intake, and child growth across the experimental and observational studies, and
the dose-response relationship between dairy consumption and child growth…provide strong evidence that, in rural
low-income settings, household milk production increases household milk consumption, and increased milk consumption results in improved child growth and reduced stunting.”

Recommendation: “dairy development needs to be accompanied by nutrition education of caregivers to ensure that milk is provided in the most critical phase of childhood, namely in the 0.5 to 2-year age group”

Sponsors: “Published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Global Dairy Platform and
IFCN Dairy Research Network.

Comment:  It’s interesting to compare the first paper to another one done by investigators who are not funded by the dairy industry.  They don’t disagree, exactly, but spin the results much less favoably.  See: Milk and Health, by Walter C. Willett and David S. Ludwig. N Engl J Med 2020;382:644-54.

…guidelines for milk and equivalent dairy foods ideally should designate an acceptable intake (such as 0 to 2 servings per day for adults), deemphasize reduced-fat milk as preferable to whole milk, and discourage consumption of sugar-sweetened dairy foods in populations with high rates of overweight and
obesity.

Dairy foods are foods.  Like any other, they are not essential.  If you like them, eat them—in moderation, of course.

Dec 18 2019

The latest in superfoods: camel’s milk?

Really?  Camel’s milk?  I am indebted to DairyReporter.com for a review of research on the health benefits of camel’s milk.

According to this overview, camel’s milk can

  • Prevent colorectal cancer
  • Reduce cellular inflammation due to diabetes
  • Cures autism
  • Enhances immunity
  • Cures hepatitis
  • Prevents food allergies

A miracle food?

Alas, the article explains, most of these studies were performed in mice or published in journals unlikely to be rigorously peer reviewed.

What can I tell you about the nutritional quality of camel’s milk?

Unfortunately, the USDA’s food composition data base does not have an entry for camel’s milk.  What looks like a reasonable review of the nutritional value of camel’s milk (which you can download from this site) suggests that there are differences in nutrient composition between cow’s and camel’s milks, but the differences are small.  Because the proteins differ, people sensitive or allergic to cow’s milk will have an easier time consuming camel’s milk.

The big issue with camel’s milk in the United States is that it is not pasteurized.  Raw milk carries a greater food safety risk than pasteurized milk.

The FDA also has issued a warning against unproven claims that camel milk prevents autism.

I’m not seeing any particular health benefits from drinking camel milk other than avoiding allergic reactions to cow’s milk.

If you insist on drinking it, make sure it comes from a producer who diligently tests it for pathogens.

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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.