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Myths and facts about dairy

There are 3 different types of lactose intolerance; late onset lactase deficiency, congenital lactase deficiency and secondary lactose deficiency. Only congenital lactase deficiency patients, which is a particularly rare condition, need a complete lactose-free diet. However, self-diagnosis of lactose intolerance is very high (44% admit self-diagnosis).

Research shows most adults can comfortably tolerate 12g of lactose, which is equivalent to 250ml of cow’s milk, in a single dose. Yoghurt naturally contains less lactose than milk.

Factors involved in weight gain are multifaceted. There is a general perception that dairy fat is a negative component of milk and diary products. Research shows there is no correlation between dairy intake and risk of obesity.

Dairy contains saturated fatty acids, they are also packed with vitamins and minerals. Choose lower fat varieties but be aware of added sugar.

Previous research has linked the consumption of dairy products with higher levels of markers of inflammation in the body. However, such studies only tell us that two things are associated with each other, not that one thing is causing the other.

There’s mixed evidence on whether dairy is pro- or anti-inflammatory. When relevant studies are gathered together, four of these showed dairy products had a favourable effect on markers of inflammation. In the other four, they appear to make no difference. Overall, it appears dairy products are not particularly pro-inflammatory however, they should be eaten in moderation.