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The Dairy Download: Winter 2010


Lactose Intolerance: A Year in Review

Lactose intolerance has remained a topic of interest for the health and wellness community throughout 2010. New research and key events have continued to support the importance of incorporating dairy into the diets of those who may be lactose intolerant.

To help debunk myths and misperceptions associated with lactose intolerance and lactose-free milk and milk products, Dairy Management Inc. has created™.™ is a social media program designed to begin and sustain a conversation with individuals who have real or perceived lactose intolerance. Launched in October, MooVision™ creates an environment for open dialogue about living with lactose intolerance and an opportunity to candidly interact with others who are having similar experiences.

The site is also home to a video series of three shows, which discuss lactose intolerance in a fun and interactive way. For example, “Gourmoo Cookoff™” invites viewers to create video recipes using lactose-free milk and milk products that are then featured on the site and judged by other site visitors and celebrity chefs. The four finalists will be flown to Los Angeles for the production of the episodes leading up to the ultimate winner of the Gourmoo Cookoff Competition, which will also be featured online. Another show on MooVision™, “Moolah!™,” puts contestants’ dairy knowledge to the test as they answer questions for a chance to win cash prizes, and “Moo News™,” a satirical "mockumentary" news report, addresses common misconceptions about lactose-free milk and milk products. Additionally, the program offers a variety of content that can be shared via its Facebook page, Twitter handle and YouTube channel.

The creation of MooVision™ comes at the end of a year that gave way to several significant findings on lactose intolerance, such as a recent report issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Union (EU) risk assessment task force on food safety, on people who are lactase deficient, commonly referred to as lactose intolerant. EFSA found that most individuals who are lactase deficient can tolerate up to 12 grams of lactose at a time – the amount of lactose in one cup of milk – particularly if consumed with other foods. Also, the report indicates that it is possible for those with lactase deficiencies to consume even more lactose if it is consumed in small amounts throughout the day and consumed together with other nutrients.

This report echoes findings presented at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Conference “Lactose Intolerance and Health,” held in February. One study presented at the conference found that the national prevalence of self-reported lactose intolerance may be significantly lower than what has been previously estimated, confirming the importance of testing for lactose intolerance, rather than self-diagnosing. Also, several major health authorities agreed in the official panel consensus statement that many individuals with real or perceived lactose intolerance avoid dairy and ingest inadequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, which may predispose them to decreased bone accrual, osteoporosis and other adverse health outcomes. They found that in most cases, individuals do not need to eliminate dairy consumption completely, allowing them to benefit from dairy's unique nutrient package every day. 

To provide strategies for health professionals to better communicate to peers, patients and the public about how to understand and manage lactose intolerance, NDC offers two lactose intolerance-focused webinars on, “Lactose Intolerance: Health Consequences and Nutrition Solutions” and “New Directions in Lactose Intolerance: Moving from Science to Solutions,” which focus on defining lactose intolerance, its prevalence and practical solutions for meeting nutrient needs. The webinars are also approved for continuing education credit, and recordings and certificates of completion are available on

More lactose intolerance information can be found in NDC’s Lactose Intolerance Health Education Kit, and for additional expert perspective, listen in on a two-part interview from the "Life, Love and Health" satellite radio program. During these interviews, gastroenterologist Jeanette Newton Keith, M.D. discusses common misconceptions that can accompany a diagnosis of lactose intolerance and shares advice for developing dietary strategies to incorporate dairy into a nutrient-rich diet. Also, be sure to check out “Lactose Intolerance: New Understandings,” the July/August edition of the Dairy Council Digest dedicated exclusively to lactose intolerance news and research.

Fuel Up to Play 60 Generates Momentum in Program’s Second Year

Fuel Up to Play 60 has become a national model for youth health and wellness programs, recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama as an initiative that directly aligns with "Let’s Move" and the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) program. Recently, The Washington Post featured Fuel Up to Play 60 on "The Checkup" blog as a unique partnership between NDC and the NFL that is leading the way in educating kids about the relationship between nutrition, physical fitness and overall health. Click over to The Washington Post to read the full story and visit to learn more about the program.

Program Challenges Engage Students Year-Round

With the 2010/2011 school year underway, more than 60,000 schools nationwide are engaged in Fuel Up to Play 60 to date. More than 2,000 entries have been submitted for the first of this year’s five Challenges, which asked students to spread the word about Fuel Up to Play 60 in their schools and encourage their peers to join the movement. Using pictures, videos and written submissions, students showcased how they inspired their peers to take control of their health with Fuel Up to Play 60.

Building off of the excitement for the first Challenge, program participants are already submitting their entries for Challenge #2, a recipe challenge that puts their nutrition knowledge to the test. Using what they have learned about healthy foods through Fuel Up to Play 60, students are challenged to create a new, nutrient-rich recipe in their schools or at home.

Fuel Up to Play 60 Students Emerge as Leaders in Ambassador Program

In addition to the enthusiasm the Fuel Up to Play 60 community has shown for this year’s new Challenges, students engaged in the program have eagerly taken on leadership roles through the Student Ambassador program. To date, more than 2,000 students have applied to be Student Ambassadors at the local level and nearly 1,500 have been accepted to help lead and implement Fuel Up to Play 60 in their schools. Student Ambassadors help organize school events that focus on physical activity and nutrition, lead bi-monthly meetings with other local Student Ambassadors, spread the word about Fuel Up to Play 60 and serve as peer mentors and liaisons for the program. Students can apply to be a Student Ambassador through May 2011 and will be notified about their important new role in the program on a rolling basis.

Beginning in December, those who actively engage in the program will be invited to apply for National Student Ambassador positions for a chance to serve as a Fuel Up to Play 60 role model to all participating students nationwide. Accepted students will be notified by February 1, 2011 about their leadership position in Fuel Up to Play 60 and will serve as a National Student Ambassador for a year. National Ambassadors will also participate in a Fuel Up to Play 60 year-end celebration and have the opportunity to play a role in shaping the program. Check back to to learn more about the program and even more ways to get involved.


New Study Supports Beneficial Effects of Calcium Intake on Youth Body Composition

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that higher dairy intake as part of a healthy diet leads to higher nutrient intake, better diet quality and bone health. Additional studies also show that dairy may help maintain a healthy weight and has been associated with reduced risk of several diseases and conditions in adults including osteoporosis, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Research has also shown that dairy foods play a pivotal role in delivering an array of key nutrients to the U.S. diet, including three of the five nutrients that children fall short on – calcium, potassium and magnesium. In fact, milk is the leading food source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and potassium in the American diet. Additionally, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people who eat nutrient-rich foods may be more likely to meet their recommended nutrient intakes without over-consuming calories.

Now, a new study builds on a growing body of research pertaining to the effect of dairy intake on the body consumption of children and adolescents. The study examined the role of calcium intake on fat mass, bone-free lean mass, bone mass and Body Mass Index (BMI) in 186 African-American children and adolescents at risk for overweight or obesity between the ages of 11-18 years. Researchers found that females with a calcium intake of less than 314 milligrams per day had higher percent fat mass compared to those with the highest calcium intakes (≥634 mg/day respectively). Additionally, those with the highest calcium intake of >701 mg/day, compared to those with low calcium intake (<365 mg/day), had higher intakes of thiamin, folate, cobalamin, vitamin D, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Furthermore, those with the highest calcium intake also had a higher intake of potassium, vitamin A and fiber, suggesting a higher intake of fruits and vegetables.

This study also underscores the importance of incorporating low-fat and fat-free dairy foods in children's diets, along with the need to increase access to other nutrient-rich foods such as whole, fortified and fiber-rich grain foods, and fruits and vegetables in order to get the nutrients children need. First Lady Michelle Obama recently addressed this issue when she took her anti-obesity campaign to the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C. Describing obesity as the “slow, quiet, everyday threat that doesn’t always appear to warrant the headline urgency of some of the other issues that we face,” Obama called on the crowd to help improve Americans’ eating habits – particularly those of the nation’s youth – along with the availability of nutritious foods and safe areas where children can be active. Programs such as Fuel Up to Play 60 are a driving force in helping improve the overall health of the nation’s youth by encouraging the availability and consumption of nutrient-rich foods, along with 60 minutes of physical activity daily.


NDC’s Blog Continues to Break the Latest Science and Nutrition News

Click over to NDC’s blog, The Dairy Report, for continually updated news and expert commentary on dairy, nutrition and science. Recent posts of interest include:

  • A guest post by Aurora Buffington, nutrition educator for the Southern Nevada Health District, about engaging children and families in nontraditional settings, such as the grocery store, to educate them about making healthy choices a part of their every day routines.
  • A guest post by Connie Mueller, former Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Bloomington Public Schools in Bloomington, Ill., on the importance of flavored milk in schools.
  • Insight on a recent study conducted among obese children in Iran that has shed new light on using dairy-rich diets for weight-control and improvement of metabolic syndrome risk factors in young children.
  • An update on Fuel Up to Play 60’s strategies for engaging youth in health and wellness, highlighting the energy the program brought to this year’s School Nutrition Association annual meeting.

Tips and Tools: Enjoying a Healthy Holiday Season

Whether you are enjoying appetizers at a party or a home-cooked holiday meal with the family, focus on nutrient-rich food choices such as colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy and lean meats to stay healthy and get the energy your body needs throughout the hectic holiday season. In fact, there are a number of ways to keep the holiday rush from hampering your healthy habits:

  • Maintain Routines and Make Meals Matter – Remembering to eat regular meals can help ensure that you are receiving the needed nutrients to power you through the holiday season. Parents’ eating habits are modeled by their children and setting a good example will help children make nutritious decisions for a lifetime. Try preparing nutrient-rich foods together that incorporate low-fat and fat-free dairy foods. Kids can help by pouring the milk or sprinkling cheese on their favorite dishes. Also, remember to keep a morning routine that includes breakfast. Whether it's cereal with milk or a fruit and yogurt parfait, several studies and reports have shown that breakfast consumption improves children’s and adolescents’ calcium intake – even more reason to make a healthy start to the day a priority!
  • Don’t Let Lactose Intolerance Restrict Dairy Intake – There are several strategies that may help people with lactose intolerance enjoy the recommended three servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods every day without experiencing discomfort. Try starting with a small amount of milk daily and increasing slowly over several days or weeks. Lactose-free milk is also a great option for cooking or drinking. Additionally, yogurt with live active cultures and natural cheeses low in lactose such as Swiss and Cheddar are all good choices to manage lactose intolerance symptoms while still enjoying dairy. Milk and milk products are such an accessible source of important nutrients that it’s difficult for most people to meet nutrient recommendations without consuming at least three servings daily. If you are lactose intolerant, implementing key strategies for incorporating these foods without discomfort is key to meeting nutrient recommendations every day.
  • Take Healthy Habits on the Road – Whether shopping all day or traveling to Grandma’s, planning is the key to avoiding roadblocks to good health. Take a cooler packed with nutrient-rich, grab-and-go foods and beverages, such as low-fat and fat-free white or flavored milk in re-sealable containers, pre-prepared fruits and vegetables in small slices, string cheese, peanut butter and whole grain mini-bagels or pretzels. When dining at quick-service restaurants, choose nutritious options such as low-fat milk, apple slices or vegetables as a side dish, or a fruit and yogurt parfait for dessert.
  • Stay Active – To balance the extra calories from holiday snacking or parties, it’s important to find fun and different ways to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Hiking trails, family football games, trips to the playground or family walks are all good options when travel and holiday plans disrupt fitness routines.

Live well,

Teresa Wagner, M.S., R.D., L.D.
National Dairy Council Spokesperson 


Ask the Expert

Topic: Lactose Intolerance
Expert: Carolyn Barley Britton, M.D., M.S.

Question: If a patient or client has experienced discomfort when consuming dairy foods due to lactose intolerance, how can health professionals effectively get them to try dairy-inclusive management strategies?

Answer: When counseling lactose intolerant individuals, it’s important to first understand the discomfort they may associate with consumption of dairy foods and their perception of how lactose intolerance impacts their ability to consider including dairy in their daily diets.

After addressing any concerns and providing information to correct misperceptions, share with your patient or client the valuable nutrients that milk and milk products provide and why these are important for overall health and nutrition. As mentioned earlier, research shows that greater intake of dairy foods, when consumed as part of a healthy diet, is associated with reduced risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and other chronic but preventable medical conditions.

Next, share some effective management strategies that can help lactose intolerant individuals enjoy the great taste and nutrition dairy offers while keeping symptoms at bay:

  • Slowly reintroduce milk in your diet to build your tolerance
  • Try lactose-free milk and milk products
  • Mix milk with other foods such as soups or cereal; solid foods help slow digestion and allow the body more time to digest lactose
  • Top sandwiches or crackers with natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss; these cheeses are low in lactose
  • Eat yogurt; the live and active cultures help to digest lactose

For consumer-friendly materials as well as more information to help you and your health and nutrition professional peers better understand the latest research, recommendations and patient perceptions of lactose intolerance, check out NDC’s Lactose Intolerance Health Education Kit.

Dairy Council Digest Brings New Perspective to Hispanic Population’s Health Needs

The latest edition of NDC’s Dairy Council Digest offers insights and the latest research on dairy’s role in Hispanic health. For additional information on this important topic, click over to the November/December edition, “Meeting the Dietary and Health Needs of the Growing Hispanic Population,” and don’t forget to check out previous issues on while you’re there!


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