For 73 years, farming communities all over our country have recognized the dairy farmer during the month of June. Dairy month began back in 1937 when grocer organizations sponsored National Dairy Month, which became June Dairy Month in 1939. Fluid milk is used to manufacture cheese, yogurt, butter and ice cream as well as dry or condensed milk and whey products and powders.
There are about 60,000 dairy farms in the United States with 99 percent of them being family owned and operated or producer cooperative farms. According to the American Dairy Association, dairy is the number one agricultural business in nine states across our Nation. As demand for fluid milk continues to grow slowly, there may be a new reason to try dairy in celebration of Dairy Month.
I have previously shared that the members of my family are big milk drinkers and that there are a variety of reasons why milk plays an important role in a healthy diet. Some people select non-dairy plant-based options from rice or soy because of dairy intolerance issues. A recent study suggests that totally avoiding dairy may be unnecessary for everyone. The enzyme lactase in the gut breaks down the milk sugar known as lactose. When there isn't enough enzyme for the level of lactose ingested, bacteria in the gut feed on the milk sugar that remains which produces gas. This results in abdominal distention and increased flatulence to release the gas and for some people these symptoms cause undesirable responses and discomfort. The study questions if other factors could be involved for some people. Abdominal discomfort could be related to mysterious gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome or from simple over consumption for the enzyme available. When people experience gastrointestinal discomforts after consuming milk, they are quick to figure lactose intolerance is the problem and that totally eliminating milk is necessary. Instead of completely avoiding milk and dairy because of a few unpleasant episodes, it may be possible to evaluate if smaller portion sizes are tolerated which will provide much needed nutrients while limiting discomfort and negative body responses. One nutritional scientist from Purdue University suggests drinking a quarter cup serving of milk as a starting point to see how your body handles it and moving up from there while avoiding consumption of more than one cup at any one time. She found this practice allowed many people to find the right serving size that their body can tolerate.
I have family members that have lactose intolerance and experience almost immediate diarrhea after drinking and digesting milk. They use Lactaid products to help them meet their milk needs. I have another friend that found on her own that smaller serving sizes didn't cause abdominal discomfort and she only had trouble when she drank a large glass of milk at one time. The new Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 considers fat free or low-fat fluid milk and milk products a necessary nutrient-dense food choice in a healthy diet. Their evidence-based research found that our diets typically only provide 75 percent of the calcium and 42 percent of the vitamin D we need in 52 percent of the recommended milk intake and support the inclusion of milk for people of all ages. Since dairy is the number one source for the key nutrients calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D in the American diet, perhaps June is the time to give a small serving of milk another try.
If you have trouble tolerating milk, at what age did you notice the problem? Have you ever considered or tried small serving sizes as an option?
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