October 19, 2021

Straight answers to common dairy questions

At St. Louis District Dairy Council, we take our responsibility as The Nutrition Education People seriously. We are proud to spread science-based knowledge to local communities and share the many health benefits that dairy foods offer.

At times, we see myths and misconceptions lead to needless elimination of dairy from individuals’ diets. So, how do you tell fact from fiction? Empowering yourself with accurate nutrition information is key to helping you and your family make smart food and beverage choices.

Is cow’s milk more naturally nutritious than almond, coconut and oat beverages?

Yes. Almond, coconut and oat beverages are actually juices that come from plants. These beverages are often fortified with a few nutrients, but lack many of the vitamins and minerals found naturally in cow’s milk.

While companies have tried to duplicate milk’s benefits in manufactured, new-age beverages, none are as wholesome and naturally nutritious as real milk. Not only is dairy milk packed with calcium, it contains additional nutrients, including vitamin D, vitamin A and potassium.

Milk is a source of high-quality protein, providing 8 grams of protein per cup. Alternative beverages, such as almond, coconut and oat, provide only a small amount of protein.

Does milk contain antibiotics or large amounts of hormones?

No. All milk sold at the grocery store is antibiotic free. Many consumers don’t realize that milk is strictly tested at both the farm and the processing plant. Any milk testing positive for antibiotics at any point is disposed of immediately and does not enter the food supply.

If a cow becomes sick and requires antibiotic treatment, that milk is separated from the other cows’ milk on the farm. It can only be sold after tests show the antibiotics have cleared the cow’s system.

All milk, including organic milk, naturally contains a small amount of hormones, which are broken down during pasteurization and the normal digestive process.

Can people who are sensitive to lactose still enjoy dairy foods?

Yes. Lactose intolerance affects individuals differently, and some people are able to work in small amounts of dairy. Certain dairy foods, like hard aged cheeses, are naturally low in lactose.

Those with lactose intolerance can also choose lactose-free milk and yogurt. Lactose-free dairy foods contain all the same nutrients and great taste, without the lactose.

Over-the-counter lactase enzyme products taken before consuming dairy foods can also eliminate possible symptoms. For an accurate diagnosis of lactose intolerance, speak with your doctor.

Three servings of dairy, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, ensure you and your family get important nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein. With the variety of choices now available in your local grocery store, it is easier than ever to get your three servings of dairy every day.

Simply Delicious Apple Crisp

Fall is here and this comforting recipe has all of the flavors you crave. Cinnamon and apples pair well with hearty oatmeal. Add a scoop of ice cream to tie it all together.


1 3/4 cups rolled oats (quick-cooking oats are fine), divided

6 cups peeled and sliced apples, any kind

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

1/4 cup + 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened and divided

Vanilla ice cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Add 1-cup oats to a food processor. Blend until it resembles flour. Set aside.

Toss apples with 2 tablespoons of oat flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Cut 2 tablespoons of butter into cubes. Toss with apples. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Add remaining oat flour, oats, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon to a medium bowl. Use fork to cut butter into the flour until the butter is distributed and the mixture is crumbly.

Sprinkle the crumble on top of the apples. Bake until brown and crispy, about 45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monica Nyman

Monica Nyman

Monica Nyman is a senior educator and registered dietitian with St Louis District Dairy Council. For more information on the health benefits of dairy, visit www.stldairycouncil.org.