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The role that dairy plays in a healthy balanced diet is often misrepresented and it’s time to set the record straight, according to The Dairy Council.

The spread of misinformation and quick-fix diets on social media continue to undermine the ability of the average consumer to enjoy and understand what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet.

With so many myths and misconceptions around food generally, and dairy in particular, it is difficult to cut through the noise. There is now a need to draw a line under the myths about dairy and to communicate the facts direct to the public.

Dairy is often accused of being a cause of health conditions, including obesity and heart disease.

Erica Hocking, senior nutrition scientist with The Dairy Council said: “The science relating to nutrition can be confusing and diet fads on social media can make matters worse. We’re explaining the evidence for consumers to help them make informed decisions based on the facts.

“In particular, there is a misconception that milk and dairy foods are full of fat and high in calories. In fact, they contribute a relatively small amount of fat and calories per portion, and can easily fit into a healthy balanced diet. Scientific studies have shown that eating dairy might even help with fat loss in a calorie restricted diet. It is believed that the calcium and protein in dairy may stimulate feelings of fullness and calcium may also reduce the amount of fat that is absorbed in the gut. ”

Dairy foods are nutrient-rich and a source protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iodine and vitamins B2, B5 and B12. Dairy is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet for everyone – from toddlers, to young adults, parents and grandparents.

Health professionals from The Dairy Council will be available to answer questions and to offer resources to consumers, at stand 1049 at the New Scientist Live event, in Excel, London, from 28 September to 1 October. Last year’s event was attended by 22,000 people.

New Scientist Live is one of the UK’s leading consumer science events, shaping scientific discovery and touching on all areas of human life.