Dairy Products for a Healthy Diet - dummies

Dairy Products for a Healthy Diet

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

One of the first foods to be cut from many dieters’ shopping lists and menus is dairy. What a shame! Dairy foods are rich in essential nutrients. Most people, women in particular, need to increase their dairy consumption, because they don’t get enough precious bone-building calcium.

Incorporating more dairy products can actually enhance weight loss according to accumulating research. Research has indiciated that increasing dietary sources of calcium, especially from dairy products, reduces body fat, even without calorie restriction and accelerates weight loss when calories are reduced.

Lowfat dairy products are among the best-tasting fat-reduced items in the supermarket, and they have all the calcium of the full-fat varieties. Don’t cut out dairy products altogether — just cut down on the high-fat (and high-calorie) dairy foods. Look for the following when you shop:

  • Buy lowfat (1 percent) or fat-free (skim) milk. Two-percent milk isn’t lowfat. Lowfat or fat-free milk is often fortified with nonfat milk protein to improve its texture. An added bonus is that it has a bit more calcium than whole milk.

  • Buy lowfat or nonfat yogurt and cottage cheese. Creamed cottage cheese (4 percent milk fat) doesn’t have cream added to it; it’s made with whole milk. The name refers to the way it’s processed.

  • Search out and buy lowfat cheeses. They’re labeled part skim, reduced fat, or fat free. However, strongly flavored full-fat cheeses are fine if used sparingly.

  • Buttermilk contains no butter and is available in lowfat and fat-free varieties. Some dieters find that its thicker texture is more satisfying than that of fat-free milk.