Despite the new trends against dairy products, dairy consumption in Spain remains high.
According to the latest ‘ENALIA 2016’ consumption study, Spaniards consume approximately 320 grams of dairy per person per day and, according to the 2017 National Health Survey, 88% of adults drink dairy daily.
“The average intake of Spaniards approaches, even exceeds, the current calcium recommendations. However, 82% of women between 45 and 65 years of age have an intake that is less than what they need, ”says Laura Gonzalez, Nestlé’s Head of Health and Nutrition.
Debunking some myths about milk
“Products without lactose make you fat less and feel better”
Lactose is the sugar in milk and chemically it is made up of glucose and galactose. This sugar is present in all cow, goat and sheep milk, even human milk.
Lactose-free milk is an alternative for people who cannot digest milk properly, for example, in case of lactose intolerance or allergies.
For the nutritionist, thinking that lactose-free products are less fattening is a mistake.
“What is going to determine that a product has more or less calories is its content in other nutrients such as the amount of fat, or if it has added sugar or other sweeteners,” she explains.
“Eating only one yogurt is healthy”
Dairy products are very complete foods, but they lack some important nutrients such as iron; dietary fiber; some vitamins and complex carbohydrates, among others.
Therefore, according to the nutritionist, dairy alone cannot form a meal or dinner. Instead, she recommends including other food groups at dinner, such as fruits and vegetables, eggs, pasta, or rice, to ensure a balanced diet.
“Dairy desserts and yogurts are the same”
Dairy desserts are sometimes grouped within the dairy group, but their nutritional profile is very different from that of yogurt, cheese, or milk.
Dairy desserts (puddings, custards, rice pudding, smoothies or creams), unlike yogurts, do not undergo fermentation and have higher sugar and fat values.
In addition, they do not count when complying with the dairy recommendations and, due to their high content of additives and fat, their consumption is recommended occasionally.
New trends: the fashion for raw milk
The recent regulation for the commercialization of raw milk has generated a lot of controversy, especially in relation to food safety.
The milk that we find in the supermarket is heat treated, which eliminates microorganisms that can cause health problems.
“Raw milk, as it is not thermally subjected, poses a food safety risk for the entire population, especially pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and children, due to the potential presence of pathogenic microorganisms such as listeria, for example, that can cause serious infections such as listeriosis ”, warns Laura González.
How to consume raw milk without being dangerous?
The nutritionist recommends measures in case we want to buy and consume raw milk:
Milk must be sold within 24 hours of milking.
It has an expiration of 72 hours
It must be kept refrigerated, ensuring that it is below 4ºC
Vegetable drinks, a safe alternative
Due to greater consumer concern for health and the rise of veganism, new plant alternatives have appeared that are presented as substitutes for milk.
Plant drinks are healthy and safe alternatives and there is an increasing variety to choose from. In addition, their absence of lactose and casein makes them useful in the treatment of food intolerances and allergies.
Although it is very common to hear “soy milk”, for example, the truth is that the term ‘milk’ is legally allowed only for milk that comes from mammalian females. Therefore, the most appropriate term would be vegetable drink.
What to look for when we choose a vegetable drink?
Although they contain a similar amount of energy to that of milk, the quality of the nutrients provided by plant-based drinks is not always the same as that of dairy.
For example, according to Laura González, the quality of cow’s milk proteins is higher than those provided by vegetable drinks.
Therefore, before buying these drinks, we must look at their composition, their nutritional table and the list of ingredients.