The International Union of Nutritional Science (IUNS) 20th Congress of Nutrition, taking place in Granada, Spain, Sept. 15 to 20, 2013, will gather nutrition experts from around the world to discuss the latest nutrition research developments. In conjunction with the Congress, on Sept. 19, a symposium on “Maintaining health with nutrient rich diets: The role of dairy in prevention of metabolic syndrome, CVD, obesity and sarcopenia” will present updates on the most recent studies demonstrating these four different yet major health benefits of dairy products.
In the first of four presentations, Prof. Connie M. Weaver, distinguished professor, Purdue University, USA, will outline the high-quality protein and micronutrients contained in milk. “Milk provides a rich nutrient package such as calcium, potassium, B vitamins, proteins and many more. These nutrients have been linked to beneficial health effects on bone health, blood pressure, heart health and gut integrity,” Weaver said. She will also demonstrate how milk intake is a marker of a healthy diet.
Observational studies provide a real-life picture of the effects of dietary factors on health. Prof. Vanina Bongard, associate professor, Toulouse University Hospital, France, will update participants on the results of a French epidemiological study (the MONICA project) conducted over a period of nearly 14 years. This study reveals that “dairy consumption as part of a diverse, healthy diet was associated with the lowest mortality rate mostly due to reduced cardiovascular deaths. A cross-sectional analysis among the same study participants found that dairy and calcium consumption was associated with lower blood pressure and diets that included dairy, fish and cereals had a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.”
Following up on the benefits of dairy products, Prof. Mario Kratz, assistant member, Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, USA, will debate the relationship between high-fat dairy and obesity, cardiovascular, and metabolic studies. “More research is needed to understand the benefits of full fat dairy products,” said Kratz of the unexpected results from observational studies, which demonstrated that consumption of high-fat dairy products does not contribute to cardiometabolic risk and is associated with a lower risk of obesity in most studies. “These data suggest that high-fat dairy may have benefits, potentially related to some less studied fatty acids in the milk fat. An important area for future research may be to study how bovine feeding practices affect the contents of these potentially bioactive fatty acids in dairy, and whether potential differences translate into differential health effects.”
Prof. Luc van Loon, professor of exercise physiology and nutrition, Maastricht University, Netherlands, will explore with participants the prevention of sarcopenia. “A blunted muscle protein synthetic response following dietary protein ingestion could be a key factor in age-related muscle loss,” explained van Loon. “The combination of well-timed milk protein intake with physical activity and/or resistance type exercise training represents an effective therapeutic strategy to increase muscle mass and functional performance in the elderly.”
The eight organizations responsible for organizing this symposium, namely Dairy Australia, Dairy Council (UK), Dairy Research Institute (DRI), Dutch Dairy Association (NZO), European Milk Forum (EMF), French Dairy Inter-branch Organization (CNIEL), Global Dairy Platform (GDP) and the International Dairy Federation (IDF), recognize the importance of international collaboration and knowledge transfer for advancement in nutrition science. Through initiatives such as this satellite symposium, they are working together to disseminate tangible nutritional benefits of dairy benefits. The session will be chaired by Prof. Connie Weaver, Dept. Nutrition Science, Purdue University, USA, and co-chaired by Dr. Stefanie Oude Elferink, chair of the IDF Standing Committee on Nutrition and Health.