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Top 7 Most Common Myths About Dairy That Everyone Should Know
Dairy products are still surrounded by myths, especially as Western diets are starting to shift and people are beginning to question more and more what they put into their bodies. The fact is that humans have domesticated cattle for thousands of years and consumed their milk for its impressive range of health benefits. Milk and other dairy products are both excellent, nutritious components of a varied and healthy diet. Read on to find out more about dairy products and some of the most talked-about myths associated with them.
1. Dairy produces mucus.
This one is one of the top dairy myths, but guess what? It’s not one bit true. Many people think that drinking milk or consuming other dairy products causes your body to produce more phlegm, that thick, sticky mucus at the back of your throat. While it may be true that the dairy makes you feel the phlegm more than normal, it does not cause your body to produce more, and research has proved this.
2. Drinking milk = strong bones.
It’s a common misconception that upping your calcium intake through dairy products increases bone strength and prevents fractures, breaks and bone disease such as osteoporosis. On the contrary research has in fact shown that adults who consume more dietary calcium, or, take it as a supplement, have an equal risk of fractures and other such bone issues as anyone else. It’s true that calcium is without a doubt one of the key minerals for healthy bone structure, but it alone will not give you this as the body also requires other essential nutrients such as potassium and protein as well as weight-bearing exercise such as tai chi, yoga and weight lifting.
3. Most people are lactose intolerant.
Lactose is the sugar found in cow’s milk and having a lactose intolerance means the body does not possess the enzyme necessary, lactase, to break the sugar down. This in turn causes nausea, sickness, and other digestive issues. However, while it is commonly believed that most people have this intolerance to any quantity of dairy products consumed, this is not the case. Having a small amount of dairy with a meal is unlikely to cause any issues, even if the person has trouble digesting it. In fact, ingesting more lactose can help your body to overcome any intolerance by making it more accustomed to it. Another option could be the wide variety of lactose-free dairy options on the market today, meaning you never even have to miss out!
4. Milk is the best source of calcium.
Another myth that all our parents and grandparents told us is that milk is the most potent source of calcium and that we should drink it every day. While it’s true that dairy is indeed rich in calcium, other excellent liquid sources include orange juice and enriched plant milks such as soy and almond. While food sources of calcium are extensive and include broccoli, kale, almonds and many types of fish. All of these sources actually contain more calcium than milk and other dairy products, so it might be worth mixing it up a bit in your diet. It’s also very important to remember that without vitamin D the body cannot actually absorb the calcium to make use of it in the body, so a good diet should contain plenty of vitamin D as well as calcium from a variety of sources.
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5. Low-fat and fat free options are the way to go.
Nope, nope and nope. Sure, many of us want to reach automatically for the low-fat yogurt, cheese and skimmed milk options at the store, but they can actually be the worse ones to go for. Not only do the fatty acids in full fat dairy leave you feeling fuller for longer, but low-fat and fat-free versions are often chemically modified and have other ingredients added to them to retain the flavour while cutting the fat.
6. Organic milk is better than ordinary milk.
Both types of milk, whether organic or regular milk, are highly nutritious containing many essential minerals and plenty of protein. The health of the cows who provide both types of milk are closely monitored, their diets are regulated, and all milk is fresh and pasteurised.
RELATED: The Many Benefits Of Buttermilk
7. Pasteurization depletes the nutrients in milk.
Pasteurization is the process which all milk must go through, whether organic or ordinary, to kill bacteria and make the milk safe for us to drink. Milk is highly nutritious and studies show that pasteurizing it does not affect this nutrient content. In fact, properly processed milk has vitamins A and D added to it, meaning it has an even more increased nutritional value, and remember what we said about the necessity of vitamin D combined with calcium!
In short, yes, dairy products are very high in calcium and other essential nutrients but, as with any food, they should not be relied upon as a sole source of these minerals, nor should they be cut out of a person’s diet if they are lactose intolerant. As the saying goes, all things in moderation! So, keep enjoying your daily glass of milk and all of the yummy cheeses the world has to offer as part of a healthy, balanced diet.