There is no question National Dairy Council (NDC) is considered a scientific authority when it comes to dairy nutrition thanks to farmers’ vision that created the organization more than a century ago.
Our reputation resides beyond U.S. borders, as NDC has understood that establishing research collaboration and dissemination of scientific knowledge globally is key to protecting dairy’s role in health and wellness.
NDC research also supports the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), our sister checkoff organization tasked with driving sales of U.S.-produced dairy in international markets. Many customers and health professionals in other countries seek assurances of the health benefits of U.S.-produced dairy. So, we can show them NDC-sponsored and published peer-reviewed research and provide our expertise to help set the record straight on misperceptions related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, muscle, and bone health, among others.
We’ve also disseminated information to dispel myths related to concerns over saturated fats and sodium in cheese. In this regard, I have had the honor of delivering dairy research presentations in many countries, and I authored three chapters in a book for Latin American health professionals on dairy benefits against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
In my travels, I have found that dairy organizations around the world are more similar than we are different, especially when it comes to relying on sound research that can benefit public health and enhance consumer confidence in dairy.
But it isn’t helpful or efficient to duplicate research efforts given everyone’s limited resources. That’s why in 2011, NDC joined science-based organizations from France, Australia, Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands to form the Dairy Research Consortium (DRC). The checkoff-founded Global Dairy Platform provides structural support for the consortium, whose collective goal is to advance research on the nutrition and health benefits of dairy.
The consortium brings to life just how much stronger we are when we are united rather than working in isolation. We have zeroed in on three common research focus areas: dairy proteins, sustainable nutrition, and the dairy matrix, or the whole-food concept of looking at all that milk can deliver beyond its 13 essential nutrients.
For U.S. dairy farmers, this is a great example of how NDC is stretching their checkoff investment. Because other countries also are contributing financially, we can do more extensive research together than alone, while avoiding duplication.
One great DRC-led example is research that reaffirms the important role dairy plays in the lives of aging adults. The findings show that increasing consumption of foods rich in calcium and protein, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, helps reduce falls and fractures in older adults living in residential care.
It was a pivotal finding as few studies have examined how nutrition can reduce fracture risk in older adults. It also was impactful as every consortium member publicized the research to their respective audiences.
The world has undoubtedly become a smaller and more connected community over the years thanks to advancements in communications technologies.
It’s just as important that dairy industries across the globe connect and unite to address serious issues such as public health. Our research-focused collaboration is putting the power and unity of the worldwide dairy industry on full display.