Women 'should increase dairy consumption'

Young women need to increase their consumption of milk-based products to avoid serious health issues in later life, dairy experts warn.

British research has found one in five girls between 11 and 18 are deficient in iodine and one in six is calcium deficient.

This can affect the health of their offspring after pregnancy and also lead to osteoporosis in later life.

Research here by the National Dairy Council (NDC) has found 41pc of young women avoid dairy products.

NDC chief executive Zoe Kavanagh said the dairy industry needs to communicate better with consumers – and young women in particular – about the health benefits of Ireland’s grass-fed dairy products. Referring to the increasing popularity of dairy alternatives and vegan diets, she said the dairy industry’s competitors have “organised themselves in a much smarter way and we have to do something similar”.

Ornua director Ciara O’Callaghan called for a standard definition of grass-fed dairy products to be developed “to help consumers cut through the noise of negative myths and trends around dairy”.

“There are challenges down the road such as trends around veganism and dairy-free and the many myths and negative associations around dairy itself,” she told a Teagasc conference on grass-fed dairy products and systems. “It’s up to us as brands to help consumers navigate them around these negative myths and those trends.”

Professor Ian Givens from Reading University said grass-fed dairy has more iodine and other micro-nutrients than dairy products produced from intensive feed systems.

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