species: monkey

Getting the Balance Right

Getting the Balance Right

Once described as an epidemic, obesity has now reached pandemic status with an estimated 600 million obese adults worldwide, and an additional 1.4 billion that are overweight. The cause of the pandemic is known—people consuming more energy (calories) than they expend—so it would seem that the solution would be to simply eat less. But a team of nutritional ecologists believes that cutting calories will not solve anything, because it ignores some basic tenets of human (and animal) biology. Using data from fruit flies, mice, birds, fish, monkeys, and humans, Raubenheimer, Simpson and their colleagues demonstrate a seemingly universal law of animal nutrition: a predominant appetite for protein. They propose that the human need to meet a fixed daily protein target leads to weight gain through the overconsumption of low protein foods that have come to dominate the Western diet. Rather than advocating for a high protein diet that eschews carbohydrates, they emphasize a balance of macronutrients for optimal health. Can dairy help strike this balance? Whole-food sources of protein that are easy to access, like dairy, can help balance out those beloved low-protein, high-carbohydrate processed foods and keep energy consumption in check. Read More...

Stop, Slow, & Go: Hormonal Signals from Mother’s Milk

Stop, Slow, & Go: Hormonal Signals from Mother's Milk

Hormones are not just for women! From babies to the elderly, both females and males have these chemical messengers circulating throughout their bodies. Astonishingly, milk contains hormones too. Read More...

Monkey Model of Milk and Lactation

Monkey Model of Milk and Lactation

Like humans, monkeys generally give birth to one baby at a time and nurse them for extended periods during a time of infant and toddler-like development. Primates need this extended lactation period for social development. Just as humans need to learn interpersonal and societal rules, monkeys also need to learn how to find food and not kill each other. Thus, monkeys, like humans, produce a dilute milk to feed slow-growing young. Read More...

Weaning in TEETH!

Weaning in TEETH!

Weaning in primates is a fascinating process in which ingestion of mother’s milk, as a proportion of daily dietary intake, incrementally declines as the infant ages. From moment to moment, this exquisite negotiation of nipple access between mother and infant can vary in relation to food availability, maternal style, and the compelling power of the infant demand (a.k.a. weaning tantrum). And lots of other factors can influence the weaning process, too. Read More...

The Evolutionary Origins of Milk Letdown

The Evolutionary Origins of Milk Letdown

The production of milk by the mammary gland is a key adaptation of mammals. But simply producing the milk is not enough; that milk needs to get from the mammary gland to the nipple to be ingested by the infant. But how is this movement of milk accomplished? An amazing hormone called oxytocin. How did oxytocin, and therefore milk letdown, it evolve? Read More...

Hormones in Mother’s Milk Influence Baby’s Behavior

Hormones in Mother’s Milk Influence Baby’s Behavior

Mammalian young are not just passive creatures allocating mother’s milk solely to survival and growth. The calories young need to be behaviorally active, from the hesitant romping of the young foal to the arm-waving, ear-splitting tantrum of a newborn baby, come from mother’s milk (Hinde and Capitanio, 2010). But other bioactive constituents in mother’s milk, namely hormones, may also influence HOW the infant behaves. Read More...

Milk: Not just for moms, not just for mammals

Milk: Not just for moms, not just for mammals

Last month was Movember, during which men grow facial hair to raise awareness of men's health. I started thinking about milk moustaches and realized you can't have a milk moustache if you don't have lips. I guess we won't be seeing pigeons in any upcoming dairy ad campaigns- even though they make "milk," and it functions like the milk of mammals. "Pigeon milk" was first systematically described in the 1930s and continues to intrigue dairy scientists through today. Read More...

Boy milk vs. girl milk

Boy milk vs. girl milk

At the grocery store, there are formulas for infants with very low birth weights, soy-based formulas for infants with dairy allergies, and low-sodium formulas for infants who need restricted salt intake. Should there also be Boy Formula or Girl Formula? The answer is...maybe. Recent research has shown that mothers make different milk for sons and daughters Read More...

Dinosaur aunts, bacterial stowaways, and insect milk

Dinosaur aunts, bacterial stowaways, and insect milk

Milk is everywhere. From the dairy aisle at the grocery store to the explosive cover of the Mother's Day issue of Time magazine, the ubiquity of milk makes it easy to take for granted. But surprisingly, milk synthesis is evolutionarily older than mammals. Milk is even older than dinosaurs. Read More...