First, what are some of the overall nutritional benefits of incorporating dairy into one's diet?
Dairy is needed for children to maintain bone health and for prevention of osteoporosis - dietary calcium is better absorbed by the body than calcium in a supplement form. Incorporation of dairy has also been shown to be a beneficial component to reduction of blood pressure. The DASH diet (Dietary Approached to Stop Hypertension) is a diet that has been proven to lower blood pressure. It includes 3 servings of dairy per day, along with low sodium, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. There's been a lot in the media over the past few years about low-fat dairy and weight loss. Is it true? Can adding a few servings to your diet help with weight loss and if so, how?There have been some studies that have shown to reduce belly fat in people who consumed 3 servings of low-fat dairy products daily. The effect was not found to be as great for those individuals who got calcium from supplemental sources. The thought is that when there is more dietary calcium in the cells, fat is more likely to be burned instead of stored.
Do you recommend products like kefir (whether it's Lifeway brand or another) to your weight loss clients? What do you like about kefir in general or in particular?Yes- I do recommend this product. I tell them to get the low-fat versions and talk about the benefits of not only calcium from this product, but the probiotics as well. I do caution my clients, however, since this product is slightly high in sugar- to be sure to limit their intake to 1 cup in a sitting... especially for my diabetic clients. One benefit is that it is also high protein. I tell my clients that it can be a great snack on its own!