One of the traditions of Christmas for many families is preparing the snacks for Santa Claus prior to his arrival on Christmas Eve, and for many families that means cookies and milk. Now, if you’re worried about putting extra pounds on Santa and all you have is full fat milk, that won’t be a problem for him. Dr. Chris Cifelli with the National Dairy Council says regular dairy consumers are benefiting from an excellent source of nine essential nutrients.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions about dairy foods and weight gain,” he told HAT. “What the science has shown is that’s not the case. Dairy foods do not cause weight gain and most of the evidence suggests it either has a neutral or slightly beneficial effect on your weight, especially for yogurt and other fermented foods. So, I think people who try to avoid dairy for weight, they shouldn’t. They should be encouraged to meet their recommendations and get their dairy and not be worried about gaining some weight, especially around the holiday season.”
Dairy products, including that full fat glass of milk, are shown to have positive human health benefits.
“NDC has been around for over a hundred years, we’re founding in science and all the science we fund at the National Dairy Council is peer reviewed and published. We encourage all the studies to be out there, so there’s lots of evidence supporting dairy’s role in the diet and its benefits on health.”
In one very important health benefit, Cifelli says dairy in the diet can lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“There’s been some really exciting work that’s come out, especially in the last five or ten years that has showed that dairy foods, regardless of fat level, seem to be associated with a lower risk of CVD and stroke,” Cifelli said. “Another really important health outcome is diabetes where we’re seeing dairy foods and in particular yogurt and milk having a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”
So, if there is whole milk in the fridge, leave some for Santa. You’ll be quenching his thirst on a busy night and promoting a healthy lifestyle too!
Dr. Cifelli is Vice President of Nutrition Research at NDC. He recently spoke in West Lafayette at American Dairy Association Indiana’s Dairy Scientific Advisory Panel meeting.
(Music: Traditions of Christmas by Mannheim Steamroller)