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The debate over dairy products is being milked for all its worth

Tap water is the best choice for quenching thirst. (Photo: CC by 3.0, Jeff Turner)
Since the 1960s, nutrition experts have encouraged Americans to forgo whole milk in favor of skim or low-fat dairy products. Now some scientists are saying the move to low-fat dairy is tied to the country's obesity crisis, according to an article in The Guardian

Robert Lustig, professor of pediatric medicine at UC San Francisco, said he believes drinking whole milk can lead to lower calorie intake overall because it is more filling than low-fat and non-fat alternatives. 

A UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) expert shared a different viewpoint. Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, said low-fat or skim milk products are still preferable to whole milk because liquid calories are not as filling as equivalent calories from solid food. Nationwide, the goal for most people should be to reduce calorie intake.

"Until we decrease calorie intake on a population level, we are unlikely to see much reversal in the obesity epidemic," Ritchie said.

Before the end of 2015, the federal government is expected to release its revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans. According to the Guardian article, the guidelines are expected to tout vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seafood and "low- or non-fat dairy." The guidelines inform the USDA's dietary infographic, which at the moment takes the form of a plate half filled with vegetables and fruit, and the other half with a small portion of protein food and whole grains.

The Nutrition Policy Institute has been advocating for the addition of water on the MyPlate icon to reinforce its position that plain tap water is the best choice for quenching thirst.

Posted on Monday, October 19, 2015 at 3:35 PM

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