Common perception says that dairy products are fattening and it’s best to leave them out from our diet. Is this perception about dairy making the majorities protein, calcium and zinc deficient? To broaden our horizon, Nutritionist Namita Nanal from Evolve Medspa lays bares the facts about dairy products and helps us answer the question: Is dairy fattening?
Ms. Nanal explains, “Dairy products are nourishing. They are rich in proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. On the whole, if a diet is poor i.e. rich in fatty foods than that can result in weight gain. Chances of gaining weight only because of having dairy food is moderately less.”
She further elaborates the importance of milk based products and their impact on the body, “Ghee contains butyric acid, a fatty acid which has antiviral and anti cancerous properties. It also aids digestion and nutrient assimilation. White butter contains lauric acid, lecithin etc. hence ghee and white butter should not be avoided but can be eatten in moderation.”
On low fat substitutions for dairy products, she says “Low fat substitutes are available in the market. They contain almost same amount of nutrients as the full fat products contain. Only the fat percentage is reduced. Skimmed milk, low fat cheese, paneer and yogurt are available. These are good options for people on weight loss diets.”
Dairy is good for immunity. Therefore, if you follow a non dairy diet, there are chances that you are cutting out important vitamins that are essential for your body. Namita Nanal says, “Dairy products are rich in nutrients. Milk, yogurt, cheese, etc are packed with nutrients like protein, calcium, zinc and some B vitamins. Protein is a macronutrient; protein is an important part of enzymes, hormones, muscles, nail, hair etc. It is also important for good immunity. It is absolutely crucial for overall good health. Protein quality of dairy products is very good.”
From protein we jump to calcium. She says, “Calcium is a mineral that plays a vital role in building of strong healthy bones and teeth. Calcium absorption is at its peak till the age of 25 to 30 years. Hence Calcium intake needs to be optimum for a healthy foundation.”
Dairy is important for vegetarians, as it replenishes calcium and protein deficiencies. “For vegetarians dairy products are an important source of proteins and calcium. A compound, trans-palmitoleic acid, is a fatty acid found in milk, cheese, yogurt and butter (Via - Harvard School of Public Health). It is not produced by the body and thus only comes from your diet.”
Ms Nanal concludes: “Dairy products are packed with nutrients and contain good fats. It is the overall diet which you need to take care of rather than eliminating dairy products.”
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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