July 2013
Bringing industry the latest technical insights and research on dairy nutrition, products and sustainability.

New Review Suggests Evidence Is Weak That Dietary Saturated Fats Increase Coronary Artery Disease

A recent review presents evidence that the adverse health effects associated with saturated fats in the past are most likely due to other factors — such as genetics, lipid peroxidation and systemic inflammation. For example, linoleic acid, an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat, increases the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to lipid peroxidation and deposition in arteries. It also is hypothesized that a proportionately high intake of omega-6 fats relative to omega-3 fats promotes systemic inflammation, which can lead to atherosclerosis.

In addition, the author discusses recent evidence indicating that the short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids found in milkfat and coconut oil can improve health. For example, the medium-chain fatty acids in milkfat raise total cholesterol, including HDL cholesterol, which can be protective. In addition, the short-chain fatty acids in milk have antibacterial and antiviral properties and act as signaling agents in the immune system. According to the author, "The physiological mechanism for saturated fats causing heart disease is still missing."

For more information on this topic, check out an overview of the science on Milkfat and Heart Health.

Lawrence GD. Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):294-302.


Diet Pattern With More Dairy and Nuts and Less Meat Is Associated With Lower Risk of High Blood Pressure in Adults

A nine-year prospective study of approximately 10,000 Caucasian and African-American, middle-aged (45 to 64 years) adults found that consuming one serving of meat or less, more than two servings of dairy, and ¼ cup of nuts daily as part of a healthy dietary pattern was associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure (>140/90 mmHg). The risk of developing high-normal blood pressure (>120-139/80-89 mmHg) was not influenced by diet.

The diets of subjects, enrolled in a community-based prospective study of middle-aged adults living in North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Maryland, were scored based on their adherence to a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)-like dietary pattern (Healthy Food Score) characterized by higher intakes of dairy products, nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and lower intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages and red/processed meat.

These findings are consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that states there is moderate evidence that consumption of milk and milk products is associated with lower blood pressure in adults. A summary of research on blood pressure provides information on the role of dairy foods and dairy nutrients in mitigating this risk.

Weng LC, Steffen LM, Szklo M, Nettleton J, Chambless L, Folsom AR. A diet pattern with more dairy and nuts, but less meat is related to lower risk of developing hypertension in middle-aged adults: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Nutrients. 2013;5(5):1719-1733.


Whey Protein Reduced the Blood Glucose Response to a High-carbohydrate Meal

Observational studies indicate that consumption of milk and milk products may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is increasing worldwide. Protein is one of the nutrients in dairy that may be involved in this relationship. Results of a recent randomized trial in 12 healthy Swedish adults (20 to 30 years) demonstrated that even a relatively low amount of whey protein (9 grams) has the potential to lower post-meal blood glucose levels.

The researchers tested the effect of different amounts of whey protein (4.5, 9 and 18 grams), which were served as a breakfast drink sweetened with 25 grams of glucose, on blood levels of glucose, insulin and amino acids post-consumption. This was compared with a control drink containing 25 grams of glucose. Results showed that the blood glucose response to the carbohydrate-containing drink decreased as the amount of whey protein increased; levels of insulin and amino acids increased in a dose-dependent manner. Both 9 and 18 grams of whey protein significantly reduced post-meal blood glucose.

The authors say these results may help inform the design of meals and meal supplements that have the potential to normalize blood glucose levels after a meal.

Gunnerud UJ, Ostman EM, Björck IM. Effects of whey proteins on glycaemia and insulinaemia to an oral glucose load in healthy adults; a dose-response study. Eur J Clin Nutr. [Epub ahead of print]. 2013 May 1.


Higher Consumption of Milk, Yogurt or Cheese Was Associated With Lower Blood Pressure in Children

Children with high blood pressure tend to have high blood pressure as adults, putting them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A previous study of dietary patterns and blood pressure in children found that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and dairy products was associated with lower blood pressure in early adolescence. The current study examined the association of dairy products and blood pressure independent of fruits and vegetables in 610 Canadian children with a parental history of obesity. Findings showed that consuming two or more servings per day of milk, yogurt or cheese was associated with a statistically significant lower systolic blood pressure compared with consuming one serving or less.

The study used baseline data from a subgroup of children aged 8 to 10 years enrolled in the ongoing Quebec Adipose and Lifestyle Investigation in Youth (QUALITY) study. The children consumed an average of 1.6 servings of dairy foods daily, not meeting the recommendation of Canada's Food Guide of two servings per day for this age group. These results highlight the importance of youth meeting dairy intake recommendations.

Yuan WL, Kakinami L, Gray-Donald K, Czernichow S, Lambert M, Paradis G. Influence of dairy product consumption on children's blood pressure: Results from the QUALITY Cohort. J Acad Nutr Diet. [Epub ahead of print]. 2013 May 16.


Review of the Health Benefits of Potassium Highlights Its Role in Blood Pressure Regulation

A review of the health benefits of potassium was published as part of the proceedings for a Roundtable at Purdue University on "White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients." Potassium is one of four nutrients that Americans typically do not get enough of, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. In fact, Americans on average consume only about half the amount currently recommended. Although potatoes have the most potassium per serving compared with other foods, milk is the No. 1 food source of potassium (as well as calcium and vitamin D) for Americans, when consumption patterns are considered.

The primary benefit of potassium, according to the paper, is blood pressure reduction. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure and end-stage renal disease. Some studies indicate that potassium also may improve bone health by suppressing urinary calcium excretion or through other mechanisms.

The author emphasizes the need for a food-based approach to increase potassium intake, such as the DASH dietary pattern, which is high in fruits and vegetables and dairy products — important dietary sources of potassium.

Weaver CM. Potassium and health. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):368S-377S.


Review Recommends Simple Milk Consumption Strategy for People With Lactose Intolerance

A review by experts in the field of lactose digestion addressed the question, "How often does lactose malabsorption result in symptoms of intolerance that require treatment?" Upon a comprehensive review of physiology and the results of well-controlled blinded trials, these experts concluded that "the clinical significance of lactose malabsorption has been overestimated by both the lay public and physicians." Consuming a cup of milk with a meal "usually does not cause perceptible symptoms."

The authors explain that many adults experience a genetically controlled decline after weaning in the lactase enzyme that digests lactose. This causes incomplete digestion or lactose malabsorption. The experts from this review say symptoms are more likely to occur when the amount of lactose consumed exceeds the 12 grams found in a cup of milk, or when lactose is consumed without other food. When counseling patients experiencing symptoms of lactose intolerance, they advise them to limit the amount of milk they consume to 2 cups per day, and divide it between two separate meals. To meet the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendation of three servings, lactose-free products may need to be used. They say in most cases, this simple approach is all that is needed.

Levitt M, Wilt T, Shaukat A. Clinical implications of lactose malabsorption versus lactose intolerance. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2013;47(6):471-480.


Higher Intakes of Dairy Calcium Improved Body Composition and Glucose Control in Calorie-restricted Post-menopausal Women

A three-month randomized trial tested the effect of calorie restriction and two amounts of dairy calcium intake: high (~1,400 mg/day) and low (~800 mg/day) from nonfat/low-fat dairy foods on weight, body composition and leptin (hormone regulating food intake) levels in 56 overweight/obese post-menopausal women. While weight loss, body mass index and total body fat was significantly reduced in both groups, the high dairy calcium group had a significant reduction in trunk fat that was not seen in the lower dairy calcium group. In addition, the lower dairy calcium group had a significant increase in both blood glucose and insulin resistance over time. Improvements that the authors describe as "clinically important" were seen in glucose, insulin and leptin concentrations in the higher dairy calcium group.

According to the authors, this study is the first to explore weight loss and hormone response to dairy calcium in overweight/obese post-menopausal women. These results contribute to the increasing body of knowledge supporting the role for dairy foods in metabolic health.

Fakhrawi DH, Lammi-Keefe CJ, Beeson WL, Darnell TA, Cordero-MacIntyre ZR. Dairy calcium decreases adiposity, plasma leptin, and glucose in obese postmenopausal women. Nutr Res. [Epub ahead of print]. 2013 May 20.


Review Encourages Healthy Eating Pattern, Including Dairy Foods, for Reduced Stroke Risk

Nutritional status, dietary patterns and dietary quality may play an important role in reducing the risk for stroke; however, no specific dietary recommendations exist for managing stroke patients or helping prevent the recurrence of stroke. According to a recent review, dairy products — along with beans, fish, vegetables, seaweed and fruit — have been shown to help reduce the risk of stroke but are less frequently consumed by stroke patients. The authors suggest a number of dietary guidelines that could assist with the nutritional care of stroke patients and those at high risk of stroke. These include recommendations for assessing eating habits and diet quality and promoting the consumption of beneficial foods such as dairy.

A report on cardiovascular health summarizes the current research on dairy foods and dairy food nutrients/components on cardiovascular health, including their influence on stroke risk. A meta-analysis by Larsson, et al., summarized in the June issue of Dairy Research iNSIGHTS, found that in low calcium consumers dairy calcium intake was significantly associated with a reduction in stroke risk, while nondairy calcium was not.

Lim H, Choue R. Impact of nutritional status and dietary quality on stroke: do we need specific recommendations? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013;May 67(5):548-554.

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Research from the Dairy Research Institute®

Fat Content Is Primary Label Driver When Purchasing Chocolate Milk

Although consumers enjoy the richness of fat in their chocolate milk, they most often buy flavored milks with 2 percent fat or less. When 350 adults were asked, the most important factor for purchase intent was flavor. The primary label information that was used as purchase criteria was fat content followed by sugar content and brand. This study, developed by researchers at the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center at North Carolina State University, helps food marketers understand how consumers select chocolate milk from the assortment of brands in the marketplace.

Researchers used a combination of online surveys and consumer taste panels to learn what features consumers prefer in chocolate milk. They found that consumers prefer the taste of chocolate milk made with whole milk, but they most often buy the lower-fat varieties. Consumers will commonly look for smaller amounts of sugar on the label, but fat-free and sugar-free products are not popular. Overall, sensory attributes such as flavor, fat and sweetness were more important in consumer choices than label information, especially when the consumer was actually allowed to taste the product. This type of information can drive product development choices toward those attributes preferred by consumers.

Kim MK, Lopetcharat K, Drake MA. Influence of packaging information on consumer liking of chocolate milk. J Dairy Sci. [Epub ahead of print]. 24 May 2013.

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Toasted or Extruded Milk Protein Concentrates Are Promising Ingredients for High-protein Nutrition Bars

Researchers at the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center at Iowa State University (ISU) may have found a way to add more protein to nutrition bars while keeping the product soft and flexible during storage. Milk protein concentrate (MPC) may contain up to 80 percent protein but has been difficult to use in higher-protein nutrition bars because it draws water from other ingredients, causing the product to harden during storage.

This latest study from ISU shows that dairy ingredient manufacturers can change the behavior of proteins by toasting MPCs in an oven at 110 C for four hours or by passing them through a twin-screw extruder. Both methods changed the structure of the proteins so they absorb less water, and are more difficult to dissolve in liquids, particularly when used within a pH range of 5.5 to 9.0. These two traits are ideal for nutrition bars because they prevent the protein from reacting with other ingredients. Although the modified MPCs show promise in a laboratory setting, the researchers stated that these ingredients need to be tested in actual nutrition bars to confirm the findings. Finding alternative manufacturing methods that increase the usefulness of MPCs is important for broadening the use of dairy proteins in food products.

Banach JC, Clark S, Lamsal BP. Characterization of extruded and toasted milk protein concentrates. J Food Sci. 2013;78(6):E861–E867.

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Research from the Dairy Research Institute®

Pretreating Milk With Natural Antioxidants Blocks Unwanted Flavors in UHT Milk

Researchers at the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center at the University of Minnesota demonstrated that a small amount (~0.05%) of natural food antioxidants blocked the development of unwanted flavor compounds in milk during ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing. Milk that has been UHT treated is shelf-stable for up to six months at room temperature, but the extreme heat can produce off-flavors and brown coloring that may limit consumer acceptance. The technical insights provided by this study may help dairy processors manufacture better-quality, shelf-stable milks that can be distributed to both national and international markets.

Researchers used response surface methodology to find the amount of antioxidant compounds that would suppress the highest percentage of off-flavors in UHT milk. After testing mixtures of three different phenolic compounds, they found that catechin was the most effective at reducing formation of compounds that are associated with off-flavors. Several catechin products have been affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and could be used to reduce off-flavors in flavored milks if this study is confirmed with sensory studies.

Kokkinidou S, Peterson DG. Response surface methodology as optimization strategy for reduction of reactive carbonyl species in foods by means of phenolic chemistry. Food Funct. [Epub ahead of print]. 2013 May 16.

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Denatured Whey Proteins Boost Performance of Pizza Cheese

Researchers at the STELA Dairy Research Group in Canada discovered that the ideal pizza cheese can be achieved by adding up to 0.25 percent denatured whey protein and controlling the pH during production. Many consumers expect good-quality cheese on pizza to brown, bubble, melt and stretch, and dairy manufacturers want it to shred easily in long strands with minimal breakage and stickiness.

In the quest for a pizza cheese to meet the needs of both consumers and manufacturers, the Canadian researchers supplemented cheese milk with denatured whey proteins and added coagulant when the milk reached a pH of 6.4 instead of the more typical 6.6 to 6.7. The denatured whey proteins were successfully incorporated into the cheese curd. Adjustments in pH allowed enzymes to break down proteins quickly and soften the cheese texture. After aging, the shredding process improved, producing longer strands with less breakage and stickiness. There was no significant impact on the melting quality. Understanding possible modifications to cheese manufacturing procedures is necessary to further increase consumer satisfaction and consumption of dairy products.

Banville V, Morin P, Pouliot Y, Britten M. Physical properties of pizza Mozzarella cheese manufactured under different cheese-making properties. J Dairy Sci. [Epub ahead of print]. 2013 May 24.

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Life Cycle Assessment Identifies Opportunities to Reduce Environmental Impact of Cheese Production

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® commissioned the comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of cheese and whey to determine the baseline environmental impact of both Cheddar and mozzarella production and consumption in the United States. The study showed that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water impact should be the two main areas of focus. GHG emission is mainly contributed by crop and dairy farm production; water impact is mostly related to nutrient runoff from agricultural fields and emissions associated with whey-processing wastewater. Therefore, incorporating best practices around enteric methane, manure management, and phosphorous and nitrogen resource management could significantly reduce these impacts.

Results showed that the carbon footprint of Cheddar is 8.60 kg CO2e/kg cheese consumed (63.2% milk solids), and the carbon footprint of mozzarella is 7.28 kg CO2e/kg cheese consumed (51.4 % milk solids). Cheese manufacturing data was collected in 2009 from 17 cheese-manufacturing plants representing 24 percent of mozzarella production and 38 percent of Cheddar production in the United States. The scope of the study is from farm to table, including milk production, transportation, manufacturing, distribution, retail, consumption and disposal of packaging after consumption.

Kim D, Thoma G, Nutter D, Milani F, Ulrich R, Norris G. Life cycle assessment of cheese and whey production in the USA. Int J Life Cycle Assess. 2013;18(5):1019-1035.
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Global Advances in Providing Nutritious, Healthy, Affordable Dairy Products in an Environmentally Responsible Way

Growth of the global population, projected to reach more than 9 billion by 2050, will continue to increase the need for nutritionally adequate, healthy, affordable diets that are respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems. This review examines the global dairy industry's advances in addressing the challenges of population growth and climate change; the vital role of dairy products in healthy, sustainable diets; and the emerging, yet limited, research on the environmental impacts of foods and dietary patterns. The dairy industry worldwide is working to optimize the use of natural resources and reduce environmental impacts. Measurement and reporting tools are becoming available to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the supply chain — all while continuing to provide nutritious, affordable, appealing dairy products. A science-based foundation of high-quality research that encompasses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability is needed before recommendations for sustainable diets are possible.

Providing healthy, nutritious products in a way that is environmentally responsible is a priority for the global dairy industry.

Miller GD, Auestad N. Towards a sustainable dairy sector: Leadership in sustainable nutrition. Int J Dairy Technol. [Epub ahead of print]. 2013 May 20.
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Key Dates
Research from the Dairy Research Institute® being presented at key industry meetings  

Food Safety for Artisan/Farmstead Cheese
July 31, 2013
Madison, WI

Workshop information

Dairy Plant Food Safety Workshop
Aug.6 to7, 2013
Denver, CO

Workshop information

Dairy Supply Chain Workshop
Sept. 10 to 11, 2013
Dairy Management Inc.
Rosemont, IL

Workshop information

International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS)
Sept. 19, 2013
Granada, Spain

Maintaining Health with Nutrient Rich Diets: The Role of Dairy in Prevention of Metabolic Syndrome, CVD, Obesity, and Sarcopenia

Chair: Connie Weaver, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, USA
           Stefanie Oude Elferink, Ph.D., Chair International Dairy Federation Standing Committee on
           Nutrition and Health

Connie Weaver, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, USA
Vanina Bongard, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Epidemiology, School of Medicine, Toulouse, France
Mario Kratz, Ph.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Washington University, USA
Luc van Loon, Ph.D., Department of Movement Sciences, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Meeting Information

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Dairy Research Institute publishes its own scientific insights in this newsletter as well as research and other items of interest of other organizations. Methodologies, conclusions or findings of third party studies do not necessarily reflect the views or carry the endorsement of Dairy Research Institute.