The type of dairy you should choose, according to a dietitian
SALT LAKE CITY — Dairy products are an often debated topic in the nutrition world. People debate what type you should consume and whether or not you should consume it all.
Melanie Douglass, a registered dietitian, gave her take about the dairy debate on Really Healthy Podcast.
Douglass said that during her 20+ years as a dietitian, she has heard every argument made for or against dairy.
Types of dairy include whole milk, skim milk, 2% milk and things like cheese, yogurt and creams.
When she first got her degree in nutrition, Douglass recalled dairy products labeled “low-fat” were all the rage. It was all about skim milk, low-fat yogurt, and more — and people were encouraged to drop butter from their diets.
“Anything was better than butter,” Douglass said.
Full-Fat Is Back
Full-fat dairy includes things like whole milk, whole fat yogurt, whole fat cheeses and products like half-and-half.
Last fall, while at the American Dietetics Association Conference, Douglass attended a session focused on full-fat dairy and according to the association: Full-fat is back and people should give it a try.
Douglass told listeners this is absolutely not a license to eat all of the dairy you can. Like most things in your diet, moderation is key.
“The small amount of dairy that you should consume can be full-fat if it comes from milk, yogurt or cheese; sorry, leave the ice cream out,” Douglass advised.
Benefits of Full-Fat
Fat used to be demonized, Douglass said. When you walked down aisles in the grocery store, they were filled with low-fat snacks and foods.
Now, according to Douglass, dietitians better understand how important fat is to our bodies.
Switching to full-fat dairy will be more satiating and help you feel fuller, longer. It is also has a more complete nutrient panel, including Omega-3s, which are an essential nutrient that most Americans lack, she said.
Do We Need Dairy?
Douglass said no, dairy is not a necessary part of a healthy diet. While it is a good source of calcium and a moderate source of protein, she said those nutrients can be found elsewhere.
You can get calcium from eating dark leafy greens like spinach or kale and Omega-3s from salmon or flaxseed.
“Dairy is a dietary preference,” she concluded.
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