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The type of dairy you should choose, according to a dietitian

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09: Milk is displayed on shelves in a Brooklyn supermarket on June 9, 2014 in New York City. Milk prices for Americans have been on the rise recently with a 7.5% price increase for a gallon of fortified whole milk from last year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a gallon of whole milk cost $3.69 in April 2014, the highest price since September 2011. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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.

The History

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.

If you found this information helpful, subscribe to Really Healthy wherever you get podcasts or on the KSL NewsRadio app.

Watch the full episode below.