Growth standards and nutrition guidelines for infants and young children
When given an optimal start, children from all over the world have the potential to grow in similar patterns. There are always individual differences among children, but across large populations, regionally and globally, the average growth is remarkably similar. Differences in growth of children up to the age of five are more influenced by healthy nutrition, a healthy environment and good health care, than by genetics or ethnicity. (1)
Biomarkers of dairy fat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes
Fat-reduced dairy products are usually recommended over whole-fat dairy products, because they contain less calories and saturated fat. However, clinical trials do not consistently show an improvement of cardiometabolic risk factors when comparing low fat dairy consumption to whole-fat or overall dairy consumption. Similarly, the possible effects of dairy fat consumption on the risk of type 2 diabetes are not well established.
A more sustainable food pattern: what does that look like?
Due to a growing world population and increasing prosperity, the demand for good nutrition that provides an optimal intake of nutrients with a low impact on the environment is growing (1). The science behind food sustainability is a developing area and it is important to consider both the nutritional and environmental impact of dietary advice.
The history of dairy
Crop farmers and cattle farmers first began to keep cows about 10,000 years ago. They discovered that cows can convert grass, which is indigestible for humans, into the valuable food product milk. This was the perfect solution for people in areas where no other crops could grow.
Cow’s milk protein allergy
2-7% of babies and toddlers and 0.1-0.5% of adults are allergic to the protein in cow's milk. The duration of the allergy to the cow’s milk protein varies, but most children will have outgrown this allergy by the age of two to three years. Although it is often stated that the number of children with cow’s milk protein allergy is increasing, there is no scientific evidence to support this.
Calcium and the absorption of iron
Long-term studies have shown that calcium has no or just a limited effect on the absorption of iron in the body. A diet with a wide variety of food products probably contains dietary factors that promote as well inhibit the iron absorption.
Milk and weight management
Physical activity and a healthy and varied diet are important in maintaining a healthy weight. People who eat and drink more than the energy they expend will gain weight, no matter what they eat or drink. Some people believe that dairy foods like, milk, yoghurt and cheese are fattening. However science does not support this.
Does dairy have an effect on the health of heart and blood vessels?
Health authorities advises to consume skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and dairy products, because of the energy and saturated fat content. Recent scientific research shows that the relationship between milk and heart and blood vessels seems to be more complex than previously assumed.
The acid balance of the body
In a number of scientific studies done fifteen years ago it was stated that an increased protein intake would adversely affect bone health as a result of an increased calcium content in the urine and a reduced calcium supply in the bones. New scientific findings do not endorse this effect.
Is a calcium supplement a good alternative to drinking milk?
Milk provides a variety of essential nutrients such as protein, vitamin B2 and B12 and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iodine. Therefore, milk naturally contains much more than calcium. Calcium supplements may be seen as an addition to the amount of calcium that is obtained from food, but not as an adequate replacement of a healthy and varied diet.