Dairy - should I or shouldn't I?

Is Dairy the answer?

 For many years dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt were given a bad wrap for a variety of reasons from their fat content to causing kidney stones to humans simply not needing dairy past weaning.  However the tide is turning and dairy is now being seen in a new light.   Milk and yoghurt are very similar in nutritional composition containing a good amount of both protein and carbohydrate and provided the light, Trim, skim or no options are chosen, they are low in fat.  Cheese, however contains very little carbohydrate and is high in fat even when reduced fat options are chosen.

Milk and yoghurt contain two types of protein – whey and casein.  Whey protein is more quickly absorbed and utilized where as casein is more slowly taken up.  As milk and yoghurt contain both types, they make for an ideal pre or post resistance training recovery snack.

However there is more good news about dairy – it helps weight loss and weight maintenance!  Numerous studies have shown a good intake of dairy (2-3 serves per day) helps males and females to maintain their muscle mass and reduce body fat.  In fact, some more recent research has shown that females who had up to 6 serves of dairy per day were even more successful than those that had 3 serves per day.

So what is a serve?

  • 250mL low fat or skim milk
  • 200g low fat or no fat yoghurt
  • 200g low fat custard

Is eating dairy helps me lose weight?  Yes!  Even when chocolate flavouring was added to the low fat milk, participants still lost weight.  Drink chocolate milk and still lose weight – loving it!


How can I get more dairy in the diet?  Make sure you use a cup of milk at breakfast by adding more milk to your cereal, adding yoghurt into breakfast or having a milk based drink with breakfast.  You could also have a liquid breakfast such as a smoothie.  Now that the weather is getting colder, try having porridge made on low fat milk.  For snacks, include a yoghurt or skinny milk coffee or a low fat flavoured milk (300mL!).  You may like to include dairy as a dessert such as yoghurt or low fat custard or a hot chocolate made on low fat milk.


Does soy do the same thing? The short answer is no!  Soy protein did not have the same beneficial effects as whey protein (cows milk) so for those that are lactose intolerance lactose free cow’s milk may be your best option.


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