Five of the most common dairy myths are debunked here in honor of National Dairy Month!
Disclosure: This post is a part of my ongoing sponsored partnership with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.
~by Regan Jones, RD
As most of you know, I’ve worked in dairy for years. First, as a media spokesperson for the Southeast Dairy Association, as a longstanding consultant to Cabot Creamery and recently, as an ambassador for U.S. Farmers and Rancher’s Alliance. As such, I’ve heard every reason in the book why NOT to eat dairy foods, most of which have little to no merit.
In the spirit of June being National Dairy Month, I thought I would debunk some of most common dairy myths I’ve heard over the years:
1. Ditch Dairy for Heart Health
Believe it or not, dairy — yes, the foundation of my beloved cheese — actually has its place as a crusader for heart health. For years, research has shown that an eating plan rich in BOTH fruits/veggies AND low-fat dairy may be linked to lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. New studies show that the same dairy may actually improve insulin resistance if increased to around four servings per day for the long-term, while maintaining a healthy body weight.
2. If A Caveman Didn’t Do Dairy, Neither Should I
While there are certainly parts of a “paleo” eating plan I embrace (more protein, less refined carbohydrate), ditching dairy in the name of preserving ancient ways doesn’t hold weight with me. The genetics of our species has changed since the Stone Age and the premise that all human bodies are ill-equipped to process lactose is simply not the case. Furthermore, cheese making dates back some 4,000 years and came about by hunters and gatherers transporting milk in animal pouches, which actually transformed the milk into cheese.
3. Avoid Milk Because of the Antibiotics
I’m a firm believer that a healthy microflora in our gut is one of the foundations to good health. It’s why I take antibiotic use very seriously. So this myth hits especially close to home. While it is true that most dairy farmers treat their sick cows with antibiotics (just like I hope you or I would with our family or ourselves when needed), those cows are NOT kept in the milking herd. Subsequently, milk that those cows produce while they’re on antibiotics, or antibiotics are still in their system, never enters the food supply. In order to ensure this is the case, EVERY tanker of milk from EVERY farm all over the country is tested EVERY time it leaves the farm to make sure there is no antibiotic residue.
4. Dairy Farmers Don’t Care About Animals
The basic premise behind farmers NOT loving their animals has never made sense to me. Can you imagine making your whole life about farming and not loving the animals you tend to 24 hours a day, seven days a week? I’ve met dairy farmers all over the U.S., and universally, they love their animals AND they know that a healthy animal is a happy animal… and happy animals are the cornerstone of a sustainable, profitable farm.
5. Drinking Milk Makes Mucus.
When we have a cold we know to drink plenty of fluids, but did you know you can actually add milk to the list? Conclusive findings show that milk does not increase mucus secretion in the airways and throat. Some physicians say that milk thickens saliva, which may coat the throat – so that gooey feeling after drinking a glass of milk is actually more of a protective coating.
There you have it.
The five common dairy myths I hear most. I hope you’ve found this information helpful! Now, tell me — have you heard these myths before? Have you ever been on a dairy farm? And most important, what are your favorite dairy foods?
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