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Ask a Dietitian

Refuel Grant

Do you have a question about health and nutrition related to dairy products? We have three registered dietitians on staff, with many more as part of our health and wellness partner program. If you have questions about dairy’s role in the diet, we have answers!

*by clicking ‘submit’ you agree to have your question be a part of the idahodairy.org website.


Previous Dietitian Questions

How do I, as a parent, know what to feed my student athlete?

While every athlete has individual needs, basic sports nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated.  Let’s look at the Performance Enhancing Plate which provides a guide to getting all the nutrients an athlete needs.  As you can see, ½ of the plate is full of whole grains.  Carbohydrates fuel muscles and are the quickest source of energy.  This may include rice, pasta or bread to name a few.  The other half of the performance enhancing plate is divided between protein, and fruits and vegetables.  Protein foods such as lean meats, eggs, and dairy products help us repair muscle.  Yogurt and string cheese are quick protein sources for your athlete to grab with a busy schedule.  Fruits and vegetables add color to the plate and are known for helping an athlete recover from hard training days.  Aim for a serving of fruits and vegetables at every meal.  Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and oils are also important for athletes and provide a good energy source.  Finally, my favorite part of the Performance Enhancing plate-fluids.  Be sure your athlete has plenty of water and chocolate milk for proper hydration.  Chocolate milk is about 90% water and is an excellent way to rehydrate after a workout and should be part of every meal!  Be sure and submit your questions at idahodairy.org

Ask a Dietitian with guest Dayle Hayes: What are the keys to success for students at back to school time?

What is the shelf-life for cheese?

Does fat-free milk have the same nutrients as whole milk?

Can I freeze dairy products? If so, how do I thaw them to maintain quality?

How do I properly store dairy products?

What role does nutrition have in helping an injured athlete recover?

When should I introduce milk to my child?

Do student athletes need special sports foods?

What are your nutrition tips for a young athlete that is traveling?

Is organic milk healthier than regular milk?


Is chocolate milk a good way to recover post exercise?

Ask a Dietitian: Why is milk good for bone health?

Ask a Dietitian: Will eating cheese cause high blood pressure?

What is fortification and how does it work with milk?

Ask a Dietitian with guest Toby Amidor

I’ve heard a lot about almond milk recently. How is it different from cow’s milk?

We can start by taking a look at the label. Milk contains just three ingredients — milk and vitamins A and D.  The label makes it clear that milk is a wholesome nutritious product. In addition to vitamins A and D, milk provides seven other essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

Another important comparison between almond beverages and cow’s milk is that cow’s milk provides 8 times more naturally occurring, high-quality protein in every 8-ounce glass. The protein in almond beverages comes from almonds.  Whole almonds have great health benefits and are high in nutrients such as heart healthy fats and Vitamin E, but how many almonds are actually in a glass of almond milk? Many brands of almond milk have only 1 gram of protein which is the equivalent of three to four whole almonds in each 8-oz glass.

Milk is naturally nutrient-rich like no other beverage.  There’s just no substitute for milk!


What are probiotics and are they good for me?

Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms and when consumed in adequate amounts, provide health benefits to the host.” We often think of dairy products, especially yogurt as a great source of probiotics. Other dairy products such as kefir and aged cheeses also contain probiotics. They will be listed on the package as “live or active cultures”. Probiotics are often called “good” bacteria not just due to the health benefits but also because they help to balance out the “bad” bacteria in our digestive tracts. Probiotics have gotten a lot of attention recently due to emerging research suggesting benefits from improved gut function to immune protection and infection prevention. We already knew that yogurt is packed full of nutrients but this is just one more reason to spoon some yogurt into your day. Be sure to submit your nutrition question on idahodairy.org.


I’ve heard that dairy products can help me lose weight, is that true?

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to losing weight. However, dairy products will give you a variety of vitamins, minerals and high quality protein.  This balance of nutrients is key to losing weight.  Most diets set us up to fail by restricting calories and excluding food groups which in turn eliminate nutrients.  The high quality protein in dairy products have been proven to increase satiety, or a feeling of fullness.  This may help you consume less calories in a day.  Instead of focusing on a quick fix, focus on small behavior changes that can make a big difference when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.   A calorie decrease as little as 50 calories per day can add up in the long run.

Is drinking raw milk dangerous?

According to health experts, pasteurized milk offers the same health benefits as raw milk, without the risks. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that no one consume unpasteurized milk. Pasteurization is a simple, effective method to kill potentially harmful bacteria. It does not affect the nutritional value of milk in any meaningful way.