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Is Dairy Good for You?

With so many confusing headlines about the benefits of dairy and the prevalence dairy imitators in the market, many people may ask if milk is good for them and for their families.  During National Nutrition Month it is a good time to look at the health and nutritional benefits of milk and dairy products to help make an informed choice. 

Dairy products have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years and for many of us, dairy is the key ingredient in many our favorite meals that we enjoy every day. Not only are dairy products delicious, but they are also nutritious. Milk contains 13 essential nutrients that are critical for our wellbeing and that can help to prevent and manage many diseases.  

So, when asking the question, “is milk good for you,” here are 3 reasons the answer is a resounding, “yes!” 

1- Milk Helps to Prevent Many Diseases

Many studies show that consuming dairy products on a regular basis can help to prevent certain types of diseases. Most people know about the importance of calcium for bone and teeth health, but that is only the tip of the iceberg for how milk helps keep us healthy. For example, regular consumption of dairy products can help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The high calcium and vitamin D content of dairy products may help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation in the body, both of which are important for preventing diabetes.   

Dairy products may also help to prevent certain types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer. The high calcium content of dairy products may help to prevent the growth of cancer cells in the colon, while the vitamin D content may help to reduce inflammation and promote healthy immune system function. 

Consuming dairy products may also help to prevent cardiovascular disease. The potassium content of dairy products may help to reduce blood pressure, while the high calcium and vitamin D content may help to improve lipid profiles and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

2Cow’s Milk Compares Favorably to its Imitators

Plant-based milk imitators, whether from almonds, soy, oats or others, try to mimic the natural nutrients of cow’s milk.  As a result, milk imitators often have a dozen or more ingredients including added salt, added sugar and thickening agents that try to give these alternatives the consistency of real milk.  In comparison, cow’s milk only has 3 simple ingredients: milk, Vitamin D and Vitamin A.  Consumers are encouraged to read the label to make an informed decision before selecting a milk alternative.  

There are also various types of milk such as skim milk, 1 percent, 2 percent, whole milk and lactose-free milk. Regardless of the type of milk, all have the same essential and important 13 calories.  Milk is also very high in high-quality protein, an important nutrient especially for those who are or are considering a plant-based diet.  Each glass of milk has 8 grams of high-quality protein. 

3- Milk is affordable and sustainable – 

Ounce for ounce, it’s hard to find another food product that packs as much nutritional value in a single serving and at a more affordable price.  Based on a hypothetical price point of $5 per gallon, each glass of milk would cost about $0.31 per 8 ounce serving ($5 price point is presented as just an example, costs may vary based on location).  That single serving provides 8 grams of protein, 50 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12, 25 percent of the daily recommended calcium intake and 15 percent of the dairy recommended intake of vitamin D and potassium.  

You can also feel good about consuming dairy and serving dairy to your family as producing a gallon of milk is more sustainable than ever.  Thanks to advancements in farming practices, technology and animal care, it takes less water and land to produce milk all with less impact on the environment. For example, many farms are using renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to power their farms and some even put energy back to the grid to power homes. Some recycle manure to fertilize their crops or produce natural gas as power.  Improvements in cow care and nutrition has resulted higher milk production. Connecticut’s dairy farmers are doing their part to ensure the dairy industry keeps its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce water use and improve waste management practices. 


There are many easy ways to ensure you are incorporating dairy and consuming the 3 daily portions recommended by experts – from having a glass of milk with each meal to adding extra cheese to your favorite foods. You can also find fun, fast and delicious recipes on the CT Dairy website or on Pinterest.  

Connecticut’s dairy farmers wish you a happy National Nutrition Month! 

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