Dairy slims while pop makes you fat:
By Dan Perry
Remember that clever 1980s tag line "milk - it does a body
good"? New research suggests this was more than a marketing
ploy. It actually does "beat the real thing."
A preliminary study presented by Rachel Novotny, professor
and department head of human nutrition, food and animal sciences
at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, at an obesity conference
sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, revealed girls between
ages nine and 14 who drank merely half of the recommended intake
of milk, instead of an average intake of soft drinks, show
a decrease in the size of their waistlines.
"The study was originally concerned with osteoporosis," Novotny
said, adding it focused on collecting enough information from
girls with different body compositions to make better recommendations
for healthier eating.
Helen Bishop MacDonald, director of nutrition with the Dairy
Farmers of Canada, attended the conference in Toronto last
week. "What surprised [researchers] most was that girls who
were milk drinkers had healthier body weights," she said
Of 323 Hawaiian girls studied, those who added one cup of
milk and a thumb-sized piece of cheese to their diet showed
a reduction of abdominal fat by 0.9 millimetres but girls who
continued drinking soft drinks retained the same amount of
Elizabeth Bright-See, a professor of nutrition at Brescia
University College, said she had some concerns about the study. "I
would think there is a lot of speculation in the article without
adequate justification - especially the statement that 'boys
should have similar benefits,'" she said.
While Novotny acknowledged there needs to be another study,
since, among other things, there may be hormonal factors at
play, she defended the study's findings. "Based on the variables
that we're measuring, we would expect the results to be similar," she
"I think the conclusion should be that milk and milk products
should be part of any diet - especially for the calcium," Bright-See
Incidentally, Novotny said the study found no reduced abdominal
fat among girls who were consuming non-dairy calcium. "[The
subjects'] fat stayed leaner if they consumed dairy products," she
Both Bright-See and Bishop MacDonald noted 250 ml of skim
milk and regular cola beverages have the same energy content.
Bishop MacDonald called any subsequent choice of a lower-calorie
diet soda over milk "specious," adding such choices would deprive
one of nutrients in favour of sugar.
"None of these studies were funded by the dairy industry," Bishop
MacDonald clarified. "The dairy industry likes to hear this,
but I'm a nutritionist - my chief interest is to determine
what's contributing to this epidemic of over-weightness."