Concern about why we eat, how we eat it and how much we eat is booming among the population at a time when obesity (both child and adult) continues to grow, despite the fact that we Spaniards are becoming increasingly aware.
Current nutritional recommendations advise eating five meals a day. In the main ones, fruits and vegetables must prevail and complete with proteins , legumes and cereals. In this context, where is the consumption of dairy products ?
“The recommendations for healthy eating recommend the consumption of 2-3 servings of dairy products a day, including milk, yogurt, cheese and their derivatives,” explains Sara Castro, nutritionist-dietitian and researcher at the Instituto de Investigación Biomédica August Pi i Sunyer (Idibaps) , who specifies that the consumption of dairy ensures an adequate supply of calcium and, especially, of vitamin D , among others.
Poor eating habits and the tendency to eat products and ultra-processed food mean that we often leave out the Mediterranean diet , the quintessential eating pattern of our country. Dairy also has a place in this diet.
“While it is true that dairy consumption is not part of the Mediterranean diet adherence questionnaire validated in the Predimed study , the consumption of yogurt has traditionally been recommended as a healthy alternative to sweet desserts or salty snacks , in addition to recommending a serving dairy, like yogurt, at breakfast. On the other hand, they are products traditionally consumed in the Mediterranean countries and that are part of many of the recipes of our cuisine, “adds Castro.
The expert points out that various studies indicate that the consumption of dairy products, especially yogurt, is associated with a better eating pattern and diet quality since its consumption favors the intake of essential nutrients in a low caloric density.
Among dairy products, the nutritionist especially suggests the consumption of fermented foods such as yogurt due to the additional benefits it has due to the presence of enzymes and lactic bacteria beneficial for the intestinal microbiota.
“The consumption of fermented dairy foods such as yogurt, kefir or whipped cheese, whose content in dairy ferments is high, favors the optimal state of the intestinal microbiota, a key aspect in health and that is increasingly relevant scientifically. in studies on obesity, cardiovascular disease , digestive problems or autoimmune diseases, among others, “the Idibaps researcher adds.
In addition to the benefits related to the good state of the intestinal microbiota, Castro emphasizes that dairy is a protein source of high biological value and provides vitamins and minerals . “It is true that there are other sources of calcium in the diet, but its bioavailability is lower than in dairy products. The dairy recommendation is 2-3 servings a day, so the consumption of this type of product should be daily. The food industry currently offers a wide variety of products, including alternatives to restrictive diets, either for ethical reasons or due to food intolerances that favor their consumption, ”he concludes.