subject: dairy

Dairy Pastoralism in Mongolia Began at Least 3,300 Years Ago

Dairy Pastoralism in Mongolia Began at Least 3,300 Years Ago

People have been migrating since the dawn of human existence. It’s in our nature to survive and that drove generations of ancient humans to walk to nearly all corners of the world. The history of human migration is inscribed in detail within the DNA code of modern-day people. It is a fantastic book to read, full of drama and intrigue. One chapter contains descriptions of an ancient population migration into Europe that resulted in major cultural changes. Scientists recently concluded that the Eurasian steppe was the ancient cradle for today’s European populations and it was also one of the primary origins of dairy pastoralism. How and why ancient Eurasian populations migrated into Europe are being revealed by scientists using new technologies that trace massive ancient population migrations, changes in diets, and the movement of dairy pastoralism beginning about 4,500 years ago. The scientists along the way have answered one of the most debated questions of history. How did new ideas, especially knowledge of dairying, spread in ancient populations? Was it due to population migration and then replacement of indigenous populations or the adoption of new ideas taken from neighbors? The answer is both, but in different places. Read More...

More Dairy Means Lower Cardiovascular Disease Globally

More Dairy Means Lower Cardiovascular Disease Globally

For many years, researchers have been gathering and analyzing different sources of data to try to figure out definitively whether consuming dairy products has a net positive or net negative influence on cardiovascular health. Naively, the fact that dairy contains saturated fat suggests the proposition that it might raise the odds of having a heart attack or a stroke. However, the diversity of dairy fats, alongside a host of other health-promoting molecules found in milk, cheese and yogurts, has led many researchers to suspect the opposite might be true. A consensus has been forming that dairy products either have no noticeable effects or have protective effects on the cardiovascular system, though this has rested upon data drawn heavily from a few wealthy countries. A new study known as “PURE”— “The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology” study—has just filled in this gap. Taking in data from five continents, it reports that higher dairy consumption is linked to lower cardiovascular disease the world over. Read More...

Large Study Finds Consuming Milk Cuts the Odds of Crohn’s Disease

Large Study Finds Consuming Milk Cuts the Odds of Crohn’s Disease

For years it has not been clear how consuming dairy products affects one’s chances of developing the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. On the one hand, saturated fats are thought to contribute to the risk, and dairy products contain these. But on the other hand, various unique components of milk, yogurt and cheese, such as certain anti-inflammatory factors and, depending on the product, even particular bacteria, are thought to be protective. Now, by far the largest epidemiological study of dairy consumption and the development of these diseases has been published. It reports that people who consume milk are significantly less likely to develop Crohn’s disease than those who do not. The data for ulcerative colitis were less conclusive. Read More...

Dairy Fat Is Not Associated with Heart Disease

Dairy Fat Is Not Associated with Heart Disease

The defense attorney summed up. “The prosecution’s case against dairy fat’s alleged health misdeeds is flawed and circumstantial. The flimsy forensic evidence does not stand up to repeated scientific inspection. The accused just looked like one of the suspect crowd and became wrongly branded with their guilt.” Now, a clinical trial following an elderly population for a remarkable 21 years, as well as mounting independent evidence, reports on dairy fat’s innocence. Dairy fat is not associated with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Four past articles in SPLASH! have also summarized related aspects of the growing body of scientific evidence supporting this conclusion. Read More...

Almond “Milk”: A Case of Identify Theft?

Almond “Milk”: A Case of Identify Theft?

Juliet Capulet famously asked, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet was able to look past “Montague” and love Romeo in spite of his surname. But when it comes to food and nutrition, names matter. Case in point—plant-based “milks.” Their placement in grocery stores in the dairy case and the use of “milk” on their packaging can give the false impression that they are nutritionally equivalent to cow milk. Although plant-based milk alternatives offer many nutritional benefits and are produced to have the same texture and appearance as milk, they are not a suitable nutritional substitute for cow milk, particularly for children and adolescents. Read More...

Milk Casein Proteins: Ancient, Diverse, and Essential

Milk Casein Proteins: Ancient, Diverse, and Essential

Grab your nearest carton of milk. Find the nutrition label. Under total fat, you’ll likely find information about how much of that fat is saturated, unsaturated, and even trans fatty acids. Under carbohydrates, you’ll learn how much fiber and sugar your milk contains. But there is just one row of information when it comes to protein, giving the false impression that milk protein is not nearly as complex as milk fat or sugar. However, cow milk is made up of two different types of proteins, whey and casein, the majority of which is are caseins. There are four different subtypes of casein proteins, and for each of the four subtypes, there are dozens of different genetic variants. How’s that for complex? Read More...

What’s in the Dairy Case? A2 Milk

What’s in the Dairy Case? A2 Milk

It used to be that the only decision you needed to make at the dairy case was full-fat or low-fat milk. Today, consumers are faced with dozens of alternatives to conventional cow’s milk, including milks free of lactose and “milks” made from soy beans, nuts, rice, and even peas (more about that in future articles). One of the newest alternatives to hit the shelves is A2 milk. It is marketed as an easier-to-digest version of conventional cow’s milk, differing by only one amino acid in one protein chain. But does the change in one protein really change the way A2 milk is digested? Read More...

A Cow’s Milk Reveals Her Health

A Cow’s Milk Reveals Her Health

Defense wins games. Ask any coach impatiently striding the sidelines. “The defensive line-up must be ever vigilant and able to rapidly neutralize the attacking incursion, which may come from any direction. You cannot wait for help from the cover defense! Any defensive lapse will be ruthlessly exploited by this opposition and all will be lost,” shouts the coach at spent and cowed players as the bell signals the end of their halftime break. Coaches could learn a lot more about defense from biology. An exemplar defensive strategy par excellence is used by mammals, especially dairy cows, where the defensive system is the animal’s immune system, the best in the league, and the opposition threat is microbial infection. Read More...

Camel’s Milk Offers Hope Against Diabetes

Camel’s Milk Offers Hope Against Diabetes

A little over a decade ago, an article appeared in a journal devoted to diabetes research claiming that the disease did not exist among the camel-milking drinking Raica community, a group living in the desert of northwest India, in the state of Rajasthan. The study had surveyed more than 2,000 people. The defining factor in the Raica community’s healthy blood glucose levels appeared to be their camel milk consumption, not genetics, nor a holistically healthy lifestyle. Read More...

Assessing the Evidence Around Perfluoroalkyl Substances

Assessing the Evidence Around Perfluoroalkyl Substances

For approximately the past decade, scientists have started to wonder about potential hazards that could be posed to human health from chemicals collectively known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals are widespread in the environment globally—they have been used in manufacturing products such as food packaging and textile coatings since the 1950s, and are now detectable in the food chain, and even in dust and dirt. Since these chemicals can accumulate in the body, researchers are studying how they might be passed from mother to infant. This appears to happen to some extent via the placenta and to a lesser extent via human milk. Such findings should not dissuade mothers from breastfeeding, however, because the levels of PFAS in infant formula have sometimes been found to be higher than those of human milk. Read More...