• Researchers Discuss Dairy’s Role in Fighting Undernutrition, Obesity

    By Kristi Saitama August 12, 2016

    Bali2.jpgHigh-quality protein can be an important ally in addressing the double burden of malnutrition. Nutrition experts from the United States and Asia recently shed light on the latest scientific understanding of the role U.S. dairy proteins can help play as a nutrition solution in addressing this challenge across life stages, from children to adults to seniors.

    Three key takeaways the 80+ participants heard from the U.S. Dairy Nutrition Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, Aug. 4 and 5 include:

    1. A high-quality protein source

    Not all proteins are created equal. According to Dr. Moises Torres-Gonzalez, director of nutrition research at the U.S. National Dairy Council, the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) method recommended by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization more accurately represents protein quality than the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score, which has been used for more than 20 years.

    U.S. milk and whey proteins have the essential amino acids and the absorption rate for a high DIAAS score reflecting quality advantages over competing sources. The DIAAS method measures potentially 25 to 30% higher quality scores for dairy proteins compared with plant proteins, such as soy and pea.

    1. Helping address health concerns

    Stunting is a growing global concern and affects 159 million children around the world. Dr. Mark Manary, pediatrician at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, presented research showing a strong correlation between protein quality and greater recovery in malnourished children. Dairy is a high quality, complete protein source.

    Research has also uncovered links between dairy consumption and lower risks of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.1 In one of his studies, Dr. David Baer, supervisory research physiologist, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, found that participants who consumed a 200-calorie beverage with whey protein twice a day lost 1.8 kg more than the group who consumed soy protein plus carbohydrates or carbohydrates alone.

    1. Keeping the aging population active

    Maintaining muscle mass, strength and functionality is essential for healthy aging. Consuming moderate amounts of high-quality protein at each meal can help maintain muscle mass to protect against the age related syndrome called sarcopenia (the loss of muscle and function).  

    Dr. Douglas Paddon-Jones, professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch, stressed that eating about 25 to 30 grams of high-quality protein at each meal throughout the day is optimal to kick-starting muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein, in particular, has the ability to initiate muscle synthesis because of its high branched-chain amino acids and leucine content, compared to egg, meat, soy and wheat options.

    U.S. dairy ingredients’ nutritional and functional advantages make them well-suited for both food assistance and commercial retail products that aid in global health concerns. For more information on the benefits and applications of U.S. dairy ingredients, click here.

    1Yakoob MY, Shi P, Willett WC, et al. Circulating Biomarkers of Dairy Fat and Risk of Incident Diabetes Mellitus Among Men and Women in the United States in Two Large Prospective Cohorts. Circulation. 2016;133(12):1645-1654. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.018410

    Dairy Ingredients Food Aid Dairy Proteins Weight Management Child Nutrition Malnutrition Healthy Aging Overnutrition Obesity
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