Dairy Farmer Funded Research is Working for Whole Milk

The tide seems to be turning on full fat dairy products. The National Dairy Council’s Dr. Greg Miller, Global Chief Science Officer, is quick to credit research funded by dairy farmers’ checkoff dollars as a crucial factor. In a recent conference call, he explained that NDC research seeks to remove barriers to increased dairy sales.

He cited the example of milk as an increasingly popular recovery beverage for athletes. The nutrients and ingredients used in sport drinks are also found in milk, he explained. So, with research confirming that, he said milk– full fat flavored milk especially – is now found in locker rooms all across the country.

The introduction of whole milk based high protein and coffee flavored drinks are two more examples of new products leading to increased sales.

In the same phone call, Adam Landau, a vice president at Dairy Management, Inc., said that five years ago whole milk sales were 30% of all fluid sold. Whole milk makes up 40% this year, and he expects that rate of increase to continue.

“It wouldn’t have happened without dairy farmer funded research,” he insists. The funding allows research results to be shared with brands and retailers.

Dr. Miller went on to explain that milkfat is a complicated, not behaving in the diet like other saturated fats. Consuming whole milk has been shown not to increase blood cholesterol levels. He says that research indicates a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes with whole milk in the diet. These clinical trials have prompted the Jocelyn Diabetes Clinic, known worldwide, to change its recommendations to whole milk in its dietary recommendations for patients.

As far as whole milk in school food programs, he said any changes will have to come when the 2020 federal dietary guidelines are developed. The dietary guidelines determine what can be sold in schools. The current version established five years ago specify low fat or nonfat dairy due to its lower caloric content. Farmer funded research has shown that a diet with dairy, even low fat, reduces the incidence of chronic diseases… lowering blood pressure, reducing both obesity and diabetes… especially Type 2 diabetes… and even improving heart health.



“We have to demonstrate the benefits of milk fat before the guidelines can be changed” he explains, thereby allowing whole milk as a choice in school menus.

He’s hopeful the emerging data around whole milk products will make a difference. NDC’s goal is to accumulate the science and make it come to life for the industry, getting more scientists

excited then taking the results to processors and consumers. His formula is to do the science, leverage the results then change attitudes and beliefs.

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