Milk Manifesto: nutritionists fight dairy ‘myths’

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Dairy Council launched its Milk Manifesto yesterday (June 1)
The Dairy Council launched its Milk Manifesto yesterday (June 1)

Related tags: Nutrition

Dairy foods’ nutrition and health benefits must be recognised and celebrated, according to The Dairy Council, as it launches its Milk Manifesto, backed by nutritionists and academics.

The Milk Manifesto was signed by 12 nutritionists and academics, to dispel “the myths and misconceptions”​ about milk’s impact on health. The manifesto’s launch yesterday (June 1) came on annual World Milk Day, which is celebrated in more than 30 countries.

Milk was important for children’s growth and development, and had a protective effect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes, nutritionists said. Milk was not linked to obesity, and was just as effective in athletes’ recovery as commercially available sports drinks, they added.

‘Part of a healthy diet’

“Milk is an important part of a healthy diet,”​ said Durham University professor of nutrition Carolyn Summerbell. “Contrary to popular opinion, research has shown that milk consumption is not associated with obesity in population studies.

“For this reason, I am proud to sign the Milk Manifesto – milk is a healthy, nutritious food and World Milk Day provides the perfect opportunity to break the myths and remind ourselves why milk remains a great choice of drink.”

The manifesto urged the media and “self-style nutrition ‘experts’”​ to trust the science surrounding the dairy sector.

‘A little common sense’

The Dairy Council director of nutrition Anne Mullen said: “We need remind ourselves that when it comes to nutrition, sometimes all we need is a little common sense. For centuries, milk has been a staple in our diets, but recently in the era of fad diets and self-styled nutritionists offering ill-founded advice, it has come under criticism. That’s why we, along with a number of leading nutritionists, have launched the Milk Manifesto.

“It’s time we trusted the science. Milk is high in calcium, iodine and protein – all of which are all key nutrients that benefit children, teenagers and adults alike. Recent research also shows that milk has a protective or neutral or protective relationship with heart health and type 2 diabetes.”

Meanwhile, last month, University of Bath’s Javier Gonzalez said that increasing calcium in our diets could reduce the prevalence of obesity​. Calcium mimicked the effect of bariatric (weight loss) surgery, he said.

Milk Manifesto signatories:

  • The Dairy Council director of nutrition Anne Mullen
  • Durham University professor of nutrition Carolyn Summerbell
  • Imperial College London senior teaching fellow in preventative cardiology Suzanne Barr
  • Birmingham City University senior lecturer in applied physiology Melanie Wakeman
  • Team GB and Notts County Football Club nutritionist Matt Lawson
  • Newcastle University senior lecturer in nutrition Thomas Hill
  • Middlesex University senior lecturer in sports and exercise physiology Emma Cockburn
  • University of Surrey professor of nutritional medicine Margaret Raymond
  • University of Roehampton programme convenor for nutrition and health Sue Reeves
  • British Swimming performance nutritionist Richard Chessor
  • Nutricia advanced medical nutritionist Ben Green
  • Leaders in Oncology Care head of operations Kelly McCabe

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1 comment

Milking the benefits

Posted by Anya McKenna,

What a sigh of relief this article and entire campaign concept is. Milk has gotten a bad rap for too long now as the 'Dairy Alternatives' become more fashionably appealing than the staple part of our childhood that the majority of young 'uns in the UK grew up with.

As a 'Millennial' who attends the gym and is aware of what goes in my body, I fit the typical criteria for switching to solely plant based milk preferences.

I spent the majority of my childhood on the good white stuff and have wonderful memories of waiting for the milk man to arrive in the morning. I'd have my rollerblades on, ready for him to drop the milk on our doorstep and as he was driving off, myself and my friends would grab the back of the milk float and he'd tow us along the road for a bit before stopping and sharing some delicious chocolate flavoured milk.

Nowadays, I train hard at the gym after work and re-fuel with a carton of banana Bam milk. If anything, the quality has improved as the contents of my childhood choccie milk were laden with sugar, and now we are privy to the honeyed goodness of Bam.

Times may have changed but the fundamentals of milk have not. The same great calcium content that ensured my bones have stayed strong (none broken to date!) js there. The plethora of vitamins and minerals that helped grow my immune system are present. We need to remember those times before we give milk a bad rap. We need to continue to milk those benefits!

Anya McKenna
Milk Connoisseur since 1990

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