Dairy dishonesty in weight-loss campaign?

Related tags National dairy council Nutrition

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in the US
has accused the American National Dairy Council of launching a
deceptive health campaign that suggests that dairy products could
lead to trimmer waistlines.

The American National Dairy Council is today launching a health campaign entitled "Healthy Weight with Dairy". The campaign claims to tackle increasing levels of obesity by encouraging an increase in dairy products in weight watcher's diets. However, PCRM has blasted the campaign saying that the National Dairy Council has used, "selective data to mislead parents and to try to skew government nutritional policy".

The American National Dairy Council claims that "Healthy Weight with Dairy"​ is based on studies that have been carried out on both humans and mice regarding calorie intake. The results indicated that in human studies where individuals added dairy products to their diets, no weight loss was noted; on the other hand the inclusion of dairy products have caused an increase in weight.

"Milk, cheese and yoghurt may not be the first foods that come to mind when dieting - but recent studies published in leading journals have suggested a link between dairy consumption and reduced body weight,"​ the National Dairy Council said in one of its advertisements.

Although the campaign is focused on weight loss with dairy products it does encourage an increase in exercise for those trying to lose weight. But, PCRM sees the campaign as irresponsible. The attack was led by Dr Amy Joy Lanou, the nutrition director of PCRM, who claims that the dairy industry has overlooked some of its own research in order to promote the campaign. She firmly asserts that dairy products in the diet have little link with weight loss, and calls the claim "absurd"​, saying, "most cheeses get about 70 per cent of their calories from fat and even skimmed milk is 55 per cent sugar, as a percentage of calories".

Dr. Lanou from PCRM pointed out the dangers of dairy products in diets, and argued that the campaign ignored research conducted on the issue. "The dairy industry should be ashamed for its dishonesty. Dairy products are especially dangerous for children. Fluid milk is the number- one source of total fat and artery-clogging saturated fat in the diets of the US"

Increasing obesity levels amongst both adults and children have become a pressing issue in the US. Currently one in six US. children suffer from obesity. The campaign that begins today taps into fears of obesity by suggesting a link between dairy products and weight loss.

Dr. James Hill, the director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Colorado University stressed the importance of exercise in weight loss: "When trying to lose weight, it's important to limit the amount of calories and fat in your diet, but adding at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each day will help you reach your goals"​.

For more information on either side of the debate visit National Dairy Council​ and The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

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