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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Report from the LI Conference, part 14

For the next three posts, we'll be in Section 2 of NIH state-of-the-state presentations on Lactose Intolerance.

What are the health outcomes of dairy exclusion diets?

Consequences of Excluding Dairy, Milk Avoiders, Calcium Requirements in Children
Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D.
Distinct Professor and Head
College of Consumer and Family Sciences
Department of Foods and Nutrition
Purdue University

Although it is perfectly true that a totally adequate intake of nutrients can be achieved without consuming any dairy products, the reality is that Americans as a whole don't follow anything like that diet. They don't come close to getting sufficient nutrients even with dairy. The numbers are scary.

The role of milk products in meeting three nutrients for various age groups is illustrated in Table 1.

Most food guidance patterns recommend 3 cups of low-fat dairy products daily. The table contrasts the proportion of individuals meeting the dairy recommendations with those receiving less than one serving of dairy products as assessed from data from the 1999–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The best and most economical source of the limiting nutrients is dairy. Supplements typically do not fill the gap of all these nutrients for those who do not consume recommended intakes of dairy products. Using NHANES 2001–2002 data, Gao et al. determined that it is impossible to meet calcium recommendations while meeting other nutrient recommendations with a dairy-free diet within the current U.S. dietary pattern. Using the 1999–2004 NHANES data, Nicklas et al. determined that < 3% of the U.S. population met potassium recommendations and 55% did not even meet their Estimated Average Requirements for magnesium.

Bone mass growth comes during adolescence, with 95% of adult peak occurring by age 16. Getting proper nutrients in childhood in critical. Dairy drinkers have a real advantage in driving those numbers up to and past the critical requirements. Here's a table of what the bone-related nutrient requirements are for those under 18.

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