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Milk And Yogurt Dairy Products Listed Among Top Five Functional Foods By New York Nutritionists

California Leads the Nation in Total Milk and Yogurt Production

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., & MODESTO, Calif. – May 1, 2009 – The New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA) recently announced a list of whole foods that they consider to be the most “functional” in a standard diet. Two dairy products – milk and yogurt – were featured in the top five.

“Functional foods describe foods that, in addition to being nutritious, offer distinct health benefits,” said NYSDA president J. Elizabeth Smythe. “By polling nutritionists in its organization, the NYSDA developed the list based on health benefits and nutritional value.”

The list – in order from one to five – includes salmon, oats, blueberries, low-fat milk and low-fat yogurt. As the state that produces more milk and yogurt than anywhere else in the country, California plays a vital role in providing nutritional and “functional” foods to consumers.

“The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) is thrilled to see two dairy products on the NYSDA list, which continues to educate consumers, particularly in California, on the importance of including dairy products in one’s diet,” said Stan G. Andre, chief executive officer of the CMAB. “We also encourage people to look for the Real California Milk seal when purchasing their dairy items so they know they’re getting local and nutritious products from one of the 1,950 dairy farmers right here in California.”

According to the NYSDA, the calcium and Vitamin D in low-fat milk are “instrumental in lowering high blood pressure, helping with regular heart beat, and building strong bones.” Low-fat yogurt with probiotics, which literally means ''for life,'' also made the list because of its help in digestion and immune function.

“This designation by the NYSDA lends further credence to the growing body of scientific support regarding the many benefits of including low-fat dairy products in the diet,” explains Andrea Garen, M.A., R.D., a registered dietitian with the Dairy Council of California. “In addition to calcium and vitamin D, milk also is a good source of protein, potassium and magnesium. For its calories and cost, it’s a very nutrient-dense food as well as a great economic value.”

An ADA position statement said the term "functional foods" is not a legal term but a marketing term. The ADA mentioned, “There are many products and drinks enriched with such things as omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and plant sterols, however, not all of these have been scientifically proven to be beneficial.”

The dairy industry not only impacts the physical health of our country, but also the economic health. Dairy is the largest agricultural commodity in the state of California, accounting for 435,000 jobs and three percent of the state’s total employment.

The fluid milk brands currently carrying the Real California Milk seal can be found at Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, Target, 7-Eleven, Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Stater Bros., Food 4 Less, Superior Grocers, Lucky, Longs Drugs, Nugget and O’Brien’s.