Thursday, June 20, 2013

June is Dairy Month -- Dairy Packs a Powerful Punch of Nutrition

Dietitians throughout the country, state and even locally believe dairy products are a good source of nutrition in a healthy diet.

But, local dietitian Linda Quinn, of Syracuse, said most favor eating lowfat versions of dairy, since many dairy products can be high in fat and calories.

She said people should opt for skim milk instead of whole milk, lowfat ice cream, ice milk or frozen yogurt instead of regular ice cream and lowfat yogurt and cheese.

Dairy products include lots of calcium, protein, potassium (especially yogurt and fluid milk) and Vitamin D. Quinn also said yogurt, which is all the rage today, also includes probiotics, bacteria that live in our guts and help keep our digestive tracts healthy and operating at peak efficiency.

Quinn also said most dietitians in the United States believe in the "3 Every Day" mantra of people eating at least three portion of dairy a day.

But people should watch their portions. According to, a portion of cheese is only 2 ounces or one-third of a cup of shredded cheddar. An 8-ounce cup of milk or yogurt is one serving and one 8-ounce cup of frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream is one serving.

Quinn said while it's good to get those servings of dairy, the thing to remember is all in moderation -- don't go hog wild and eat too much dairy. 

Here is some more nutritional info from Michelle Barber, dietitian with the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council:

8 oz. cup of skim milk = 83 calories, 0 fat
8 oz. cup of whole milk = 149 calories, 8g fat
8 oz. cup of yogurt = (lowfat, fruit variety) = 238 calories, 3g fat; (nonfat, fruit variety) 233 calories, 0g fat
1 oz. lowfat cheese (Monterey, low fat) = 87 calories and 6 g fat
4 oz. ice cream (soft serve, chocolate)=191 calories, 11 g fat
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2012.

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