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Good news for dairy lovers

28 September 2021

The dairy industry is NZ's biggest export earner, especially since the effects of CV19 have all but destroyed our international tourism industry.

However, with growing acceptance of veganism as a food and lifestyle option and a general concensus that high-fat dairy products are not the best option for a long and healthy life, marketing our wares to the world could get a bit harder in future.

Or maybe not.

It seems that a new study out of Sweden suggests that a dairy-rich diet could actually reduce the risk of cardio-vascular disease when compared to a normal diet.

How can this be? Haven't we been told for decades now that a diet rich in fat will clog our arteries and boost the risk of heart attack or stroke?

Well apparently this isn't necessarily the case, if the recently released report from the George Institute for Global Health is to be believed.

This Science Daily piece details some of the findings of the report and paints a rosey picture that suggests there are significant health benefits associated with keeping a reasonable level of dairy in your diet.

This is great news for me personally because I love dairy products.

I consume enormous amounts of yoghurt -- albeit not the sweetened and flavoured types that normally fill people's shopping trolleys. Not for me the added sugar!

Recently I discovered the joys of unsweetened, unflavoured Protein+ Greek Yogurt, a fantastic topping for my breakfast of bran flakes and full-fat milk.

Having lost most of my sense of taste as a result of my neurological issues, I find that I can "just" detect the nice acidic tang of the yogurt and the texture is creamy smooth. The high protein content makes it quite filling, keeping hunger pangs at bay for several hours -- and that helps with weight control.

For lunch I have a decent chunk of tasty cheddar cheese and a small handful of walnuts -- that's more of an evil dairy product that was supposed to be leading to an early grave.

Finally, after my late afternoon meal, I have another bowl of yogurt with a little extra protein powder sprinkled in for good measure.

I've been doing this for quite a few years now and it has meant that my body-fat remains acceptably low, my gastro-intestinal tract seems to work perfectly and I've actually been able to put on a few kilos of lean muscle mass in response to hurling a few weights around.

To be honest, the only thing I do not like about NZ dairy products is the price.

A 1Kg block of my favourite Mainland Tasty cheese (good for a couple of weeks of lunches) is frequently over $20 today. A 900g tub of that wonderful Greek yoghurt is over $8 and even a litre of good old milk is pretty pricey these days.

Diary products may no longer be considered a danger to your health but they are increasingly becoming a danger to my bank balance.

What about readers?

Were you bought up in the days where everyone was encouraged to drink at least a pint of milk a day? Is cheese one of your favourite snacks and do you also have a penchant for a tasty yogurt or two?

How much do you or your family spend on dairy in a week I wonder?

Might it be time to try and help low income families enjoy the health benefits of dairy -- instead of seeing their trolleys loaded up with whatever flavour of fizzy drink and biscuits that are on special this week?

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