subject: obesity

Food and Medicine: Dairy Reduces Markers of Chronic Inflammation

Food and Medicine: Dairy Reduces Markers of Chronic Inflammation

Cow milk evolved to best meet the needs of baby cows, but lucky for human consumers of milk and dairy products, many of those needs cut across species’ boundaries. Take, for example, the numerous anti-inflammatory agents found in cows milk. Although slightly different in degree and type from those found in human milk, several studies demonstrate that these factors, including calcium and the amino acid leucine, influence human markers of inflammation, particularly those related to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. And unlike baby cows, humans need not consume a milk-only diet to reap these benefits—even adding just two servings of dairy a day can have positive effects on inflammation and, by extension, human health. Read More...

Consuming Human Milk in Infancy Linked to Longer Telomeres

Consuming Human Milk in Infancy Linked to Longer Telomeres

Telomeres can be thought of as tags on the ends of chromosomes that, in protecting those ends, are also guides to cellular aging and, consequently, to lifespan. Telomere length decreases as we age, dropping off most rapidly in the first four years of life. Now a team at the University of California, San Francisco reports that feeding an infant human milk appears to lower the rate of telomere shortening until at least the age of five. Read More...

Dairy Products Could Significantly Increase Satiety

Dairy Products Could Significantly Increase Satiety

Obesity is a major public health issue—with no easy remedies. One potential solution involves consuming foods that increase satiety, thus reducing appetite for later meals and helping with weight loss. So far, a variety of foods have been shown to affect satiety, including soda, fruit drinks, and milk. Researchers have been particularly interested in using dairy for this purpose, but studies on how dairy products influence appetite have had conflicting results. Read More...

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...

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Large breasts are often considered more attractive, but how about their function as organs destined to produce milk for the nourishment of the baby? During pregnancy and, particularly during lactation, women are mostly interested in their breasts as sources of food and growth signals for their baby. But, especially among women with breastfeeding difficulties, it is common for women to wonder, “If I had larger breasts, would I produce more milk?” Read More...

The Fat Controllers: Dairy Cattle Genetics and Milk Fat Composition

The Fat Controllers: Dairy Cattle Genetics and Milk Fat Composition

The mixture of fats in milk fat varies a lot between dairy cow breeds, different farms, and even individual cows. Depending on what the cows eat and how long they have been milking, the percentage of fat in the milk will fluctuate. Furthermore, we also know that there is a very strong genetic influence on the quantity of milk fat [2]. The Dutch, and more recently, the Danish dairy scientists, decided to dissect the milk fat into individual components, and measure the impact of the cow’s genetic makeup on each component. Read More...

School Children Prefer Their Milk with Added Flavor

School Children Prefer Their Milk with Added Flavor

  Milk provides valuable nutrients for school children. Chocolate milk is favored by school children. Removal of chocolate milk from schools reduces total dairy consumption by children. The nutritional consequences of removing chocolate milk from schools should be studied in the context of total diet.   School lunches have been a focal point of childhood nutrition for almost a century. Many of my peers recall the school-based bottle-a-day approach to complement our dietary needs. In recent years, the composition of all foods that is offered in schools has attracted close scrutiny—especially regarding the consumption of high sugar drinks. Consideration of total caloric intake has led to a revision of available school beverages in many places around the world, and bans on the sale of drinks based on their sugar content are becoming widespread. This change includes flavored milk products, prompting a series of studies that have assessed the impact of chocolate milk withdrawal on total milk consumption by school children, and the consequence for nutrient intake. The latest to publish results on this effect is from a study conducted in Saskatoon Canada, by Henry et al [1]. Milk provides valuable nutrients to consumers, especially protein, vitamins, calcium, and other minerals [2]. Flavored milk contains these same nutrients and, despite the increased sugar, is not associated with increased weight gain in children and adolescents [2]. In efforts to reduce sugar consumption, the removal of flavored milk could be like “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” Indeed, studies have demonstrated that removing chocolate milk from schools decreases school milk consumption and that there are additional nutritional effects that can follow [4]. When there is a fundamental change in the way milk is accessed by school children, nutritionists immediately think of the bigger picture, that is, what are the broader nutritional consequences […] Read More...

Protein for Babies: Too Much of a Good Thing

Protein for Babies: Too Much of a Good Thing

Intuitively, most of us would think that a high protein intake would be advantageous for babies and that the more of it would be better, as protein helps build and maintain our muscles and different tissues. However, in the long term it may actually be the opposite. Recent reports indicate that a high protein intake in infancy is associated with a greater risk of obesity later in life. Read More...

Maternal High Fat Diet: Consequences for Young.

Maternal High Fat Diet: Consequences for Young.

Mothers know that they are eating for two during pregnancy and lactation- but more is not always better. In a recent paper, Mendes-da-Silva and colleagues conducted an experiment to understand how the diet a mother consumed affected offspring development (2014). Read More...

Growing Evidence for Thinner Dairy Consumers

Growing Evidence for Thinner Dairy Consumers

Does dairy make you fat? Being rich in lipids, it should, right? But some evidence suggests that the calories in dairy are somehow easier to burn up than they should be. While the effect is subtle (and certainly not apparent in every set of data), it is sufficient for physiologists to wonder about potential biochemical explanations. Read More...