subject: diet

Milk and Potatoes Made the World Go Round

Milk and Potatoes Made the World Go Round

Population growth, urbanization and, as a consequence, economic and political development owe much to humankind’s ability to make use of two humble foodstuffs: milk and potatoes. That is the theory put forward by development economist C. Justin Cook, of the University of California, Merced. Read More...

Why Mothers Should Boost Their Vitamin D Intake

Why Mothers Should Boost Their Vitamin D Intake

A mother's milk is the finest food her baby can get, but it's not perfect—or so it seems. It has become clear in recent years that most infants don't get enough vitamin D from breast milk—not by a long shot. Does this mean breast milk is inherently flawed, by some quirk of nature? A new study refutes this common belief by demonstrating that breast milk can indeed provide babies with enough vitamin D if their mother cranks up her vitamin D intake by more than 10 times the currently recommended amount. Read More...

Training Your Body to Digest Lactose

Training Your Body to Digest Lactose

The common understanding of the inability to properly digest lactose is that it’s all about genetics: either a particular gene in cells lining your upper intestine—which enables everyone to digest lactose as an infant—becomes inactive as you grow up, or it doesn’t. But the truth is less cut and dry. In fact, there is some recent and gathering evidence to suggest that those who suffer the symptoms of lactose intolerance could be better off by frequently consuming small quantities of the sugar that bothers them. Read More...

Accounting for Lactase Mutants

Accounting for Lactase Mutants

Back in the 50s and 60s, work on lactose intolerance was often published under cringeworthy and blunt racial titles. A Nature article from 1969 sums it up with ‘Can Asians Digest Milk?’ It was also probably a subliminal non-accident that ‘lactose intolerance’—which is the typical condition for adult humans—became common parlance for a trait for which those with northern European ancestry are the real mutants. Many decades on, the genetic basis of the ability to digest lactose has been largely pinned down. As it turns out, there are different genetic reasons for the mutants’ lactose tolerance in the various populations that drink milk without intestinal incident, and the gene that confers mutant power in Europeans is only part of the story. That research history is discussed below, along with recent work that has extended the field’s reach beyond genetics. Investigations of the transcontinental basis of lactose tolerance are now providing insights into mankind’s cultural, as well as biological evolution. Read More...

A Tale of Fats, Fish, Dolphins, and Dairy

A Tale of Fats, Fish, Dolphins, and Dairy

For decades, we have been warned about the evils of saturated fats in our food. We have heard that this whole “family” of fats increases our “bad cholesterol,” and hence increases our risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Recently, however, this widely accepted mantra has been challenged by growing evidence that some saturated fats, such as milk fats, do the exact opposite: they appear to reduce our risk of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes. While scientists debate the mechanisms involved, the changing view on saturated fats is underpinned by a new study of some unexpected contenders: dolphins (1). Read More...

Got Vegetables?

Got Vegetables?

One of the marvels of breast milk is that its composition stays roughly the same, even when working mothers have lopsided diets, or mothers in poor places cannot find enough to eat. That much is at least true for overall levels of the major components—the fats, proteins and sugars in milk. However, recent research has suggested that chemicals called carotenoids—natural pigments found in fruits and vegetables—appear in breast milk according to how much of them a mother eats. And when compared across countries, by some measures, American moms do a fairly poor job of providing their suckling infants with them. Read More...

Dairy Helps Dieters Maintain Muscle While Losing Fat

Dairy Helps Dieters Maintain Muscle While Losing Fat

If you have ever been on a diet, chances are you own a scale. From contestants on popular weight loss reality shows to at-home dieters, the scale is used as an indispensible tool for measuring dieting success. Unfortunately, those changing numbers on the scale only tell part of the story. Successful weight loss is not just about losing body mass, but about losing fat mass while preserving lean muscle mass. So, what is the secret to success? Dieters eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates have been shown to maintain muscle while dropping fat (1), and a growing number of studies are finding that increased consumption of whey proteins from dairy promotes even greater fat loss and lean muscle preservation (2-5). If you also take into account calcium’s positive effects on fat metabolism, there is great potential for dairy to really tip the scales in a dieter’s favor. Read More...

Milk Nutrients Augment Muscle Growth and Recovery

Milk Nutrients Augment Muscle Growth and Recovery

As strange as it sounds, a good number of us purposely inflict damage to our muscle tissue on a daily basis in an activity called strength training. A set of bicep curls or leg presses places the associated muscle fibers under strain, which damages the fibers. To repair themselves, the muscle fibers fuse together and increase in diameter and length, thereby creating a larger muscle. This gain does not come without pain. Damaged muscle fibers are a site of inflammation that normally lasts between one and three days. With this inflammation comes soreness, tenderness, decreased mobility of the muscle group, and subsequently decreases in agility and muscle performance. Researchers refer to this as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and it is considered a normal side effect of the muscle rebuilding process. Read More...

Making Sense of Dairy Biosystems

Making Sense of Dairy Biosystems

We live in an information-rich world. Each of us is capable of downloading gigabytes of data on our mobile or desktop devices each day. The upswing in data generation is also true of dairy science, which has moved into the big data realm. My students can create more data in an afternoon than I created in an entire PhD project when I was a student. Needless to say, capturing and analyzing this data is both challenging and rewarding. Since genomic data became more accessible, a number of approaches have been developed to bring the data together in useful ways. Gradually these approaches have become more sophisticated and insightful. A recent study by Widmann et al. provides a great example of how integrating different sources of large-scale genomic data can shed light on how dairy cows convert their feed into milk. Read More...

Children Who Avoid Cow’s Milk May Fall Short of Vitamin D

Children Who Avoid Cow’s Milk May Fall Short of Vitamin D

Rickets and vitamin D deficiency do not sound like 21st century issues. Yet nearly 100 years since the connection between the two was first identified, the U.S., Canada, and numerous other countries are facing a potential epidemic of vitamin D deficiency among children (1). The reasons for the resurgence are much the same as they were in the past: limited sunlight exposure and poor dietary intake of this essential nutrient. Vitamin D-fortified milk helped bring an end to the rickets epidemic in the early 1900s, and it remains the best dietary source of vitamin D for children today. However, a growing number of children do not drink cow’s milk. A handful of studies have found that children who avoid cow’s milk due to allergy, intolerance, or dietary preference for alternative milk beverages are at a greater risk for vitamin D deficiency (2-4). When coupled with medical advice to avoid the sun, these findings could help explain the increasing prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy children. While scurvy may have gone the way of the pirate, rickets is still a modern concern. Read More...

Meet our Elite and Premier Sponsors