A staggering 9 out of 10 Australians are failing to meet the daily recommended intake from the milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives food group says the Gut Foundation.
It’s believed people are blaming dairy for their digestive problems and cutting it from their diets. However, a leading US lactose digestion expert is urging people to rethink limiting or removing dairy.
According to the Gut Foundation president and founder Professor Terry Bolin, an increasing number of Australians are reporting digestive problems such as bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
“While these may be caused by any number of factors such as stress, medication, inadequate exercise and food intolerances, many believe dairy foods are the suspected culprits,” Prof Bolin says.
“This leads them to cut out or limit dairy foods from their diets without consulting a health professional.”
Half Of Us Not Getting Enough Calcium
He says currently 9 out of 10 Australians are failing to meet the daily recommended dairy intake. And more than 50 per cent of Australians are not getting enough calcium in their diets.
“Limiting or excluding dairy foods from your daily diet may have a negative effect on your future health,” he says.
“Consuming adequate amounts of milk, cheese and yoghurt can protect us against a number of diseases.
“But it also provides us with valuable nutrients such as calcium for healthy bones and teeth, protein for maintaining lean muscle and iodine for optimal brain function.”
Those With Digestive Problems Don’t Need To Cut Out Dairy
Late last year Professor Dennis Savaiano visited Australia to present the keynote address at the Nutrition Society of Australia 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting. He has studied lactose digestion for more than 30 years.
“The good news is that people with digestive problems, including lactose intolerance, do not need to cut out dairy foods,” Prof Savaiano says.
“In fact, by including dairy foods as part of their diet, many people are able to increase their tolerance.”
Prof Savaiano’s research has shown that people, who have cut out dairy foods from their diet due to digestive problems and try a 21-day milk-drinking intervention, see an improvement in symptoms.
In fact many go on to enjoy milk and other dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt as part of their everyday meals and snacks.
The intervention involves starting with half a cup of milk with a meal twice a day in week one. This is stepped up to two-thirds of a cup in week two and then one cup during week three.
For those who are limiting their dairy intake, Prof Savaiano says ‘there are ways to do dairy differently’.
This may include spreading your intake of dairy over the day. Or it could mean having dairy foods with meals or having smaller amounts at a time. This was you’re gradually building up tolerance.
There Are Ways To Do Dairy Differently
Prof Bolin says even those diagnosed with lactose intolerance can still enjoy the health benefits of dairy foods.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest that up to 250ml of milk may be well tolerated if broken up throughout the day and consumed with other foods.
Hard cheeses contain virtually no lactose and yoghurt contains good bacteria, which helps to digest lactose. Lactose-free milks are also a great alternative as they contain similar nutrients to regular milk.
“I urge people to rethink cutting out or limiting dairy foods from their diet without consulting their health professional. They may miss out on important nutrients and health benefits associated with dairy foods,” he says.
The Gut Foundation website features information about lactose intolerance. It provides tips on what to do if you suspect dairy foods are causing them digestive problems.
Here at The Healthy Mummy, we know the importance of including all food groups into your diet.
If you’re dairy intake is low, you could increase this by using lactose-free milk when making one of our smoothies.
It’s been formulated by leading nutritionists, dieticians and with the input from the Monash University. There are no added nasties such as weight loss accelerants or caffeine and it’s 96 per cent sugar free.
The smoothies offer an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and important antioxidants.