SPLASH!® milk science update: September 2017 Issue

This month’s issue features dairy’s effects on cardiovascular disease risk, the microbiome of mother’s milk, Holder pasteurization’s effect on immune proteins in human milk, and noncow’s milk’s effect on children’s height development.

Dairy’s Counterintuitive Effects on Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Dairy’s Counterintuitive Effects on Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Consuming fats, and particularly saturated fats, increases the odds of cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the major cause of death and disability worldwide, and many public health guidelines recommend diets that are low in saturated fats. Although dairy products are a major source of dietary saturated fats, they have been shown to have various beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, including a reduced risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. Read More...

Mother’s Milk Microbes

Mother’s Milk Microbes

Recent research suggests a link between the infant’s gut bacterial community, or microbiome, and the adult microbiome; starting out with the right mix of beneficial bacteria in the gut influences health throughout the lifespan. The infant’s gut is initially colonized by bacteria that may come from different sources, such as breast milk, or worse, such as a hospital environment. Special carbohydrates in breast milk, such as free oligosaccharides or glycans attached to proteins, then selectively nurture the good bacteria. What can a parent do to make sure their offspring’s gastrointestinal tract has the most beneficial strains of bacteria? The results of a new study out of UCLA and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles demonstrate that breast milk-derived microbes make up almost one-third of all beneficial bacteria in the infant’s gut. Far from contaminating, breast milk bacteria may be instrumental in getting the gut off to a good start. Read More...

Holder Pasteurization Damages Some Immune Proteins in Human Milk

Holder Pasteurization Damages Some Immune Proteins in Human Milk

When you heat proteins, you very often ruin their function. This is because bonds that maintain a protein’s final structure start to rupture—that is, segments that have folded and wrapped around themselves, forming a fiddly and exact arrangement in three dimensions, come apart. “Denaturation,” as the process is called, is why Holder pasteurization (HoP)—heating milk to 62.5°C for 30 minutes—successfully removes the potential growth of germs such as bacteria when mother’s milk is stored, as in a milk bank. But in defanging some microorganisms through heating, HoP risks destroying the function of a suite of human proteins in milk that are thought to have beneficial effects on infants’ immunity. This third article in our series on HoP considers how well human proteins survive this type of pasteurization. Read More...

Plant-Based Milk Beverages Affect Children’s Height

Plant-Based Milk Beverages Affect Children’s Height

A recent large-scale scientific study concluded that children drinking plant-based substitutes for cow’s milk were associated with slightly shorter height. The authors speculate the study provides the first indication that the increasingly popular consumption of nondairy milk substitutes may not adequately support the full nutritional requirements of rapidly growing young children. Read More...