A fishy new milk

Dr John D'Arcy, Today Tonight August 1, 2002, 11:31 pm
A fishy new milk

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Nutritionist Glen Cardwell says fish oil or Omega 3 oils are vital for brain development in children and heart health in adults.

"I think it's a great new product - it's milk with a health punch added to it," he said.

We can find Omega 3 oils in nuts, leafy green vegetables and deep-swimming and cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines but we don't eat enough of them, so into the milk they go.

The idea came from Nigel Thomas.

His Western Australian company knows no-one will drink milk that tastes like remnants of last week's beach barbecue, so they spent three years taking the fishy taste out of the milk.

"We were able to make sure that the milk does not taste fishy at all," Mr Thomas said.

And when you consider that one Australian dies of heart disease every 10 minutes then milk with a dash of fish oil can sound like a good idea.

"We found that consumers were most concerned about heart health," Mr Thomas said.

Amy, Pam and Craig Carland haven't yet had the chance to get stuck into the fish-oil milk but the truth is, there has never been a better range of milk products available - even milk without the dash has real nutritional value.

Amy Carland loves whole milk.

"It's my favourite drink," she said.

Mr Carland has to watch his cholesterol but does not like skim milk.

"I simply found it too watery and just no taste experience at all so I found that I quite liked the Shape, Edge-type light milk and now it's interesting that if I do have full-cream milk I find it notably greasy and fatty," he said.

Mrs Carland has a blood sugar problem and her cholesterol too is high. Her naturopath suggested she try soy milk.

"I've just naturally graduated over to the So Good and I like it," she said.

So it's going to be hard to convince Mrs Carland that new research has shined a spotlight on good, old cow's milk.

Full-cream milk has saturated fat but this fat has been shown in tests on rats to slow down the development of breast cancers.

This milk also has the value of carbohydrates, protein, loads of calcium and 10 vitamins and minerals, which is great for growing children.

Reduced fat milk still contains the essential nutrients but most varieties do not increase your cholesterol, so it can be good for weight watchers and adolescents.

Skim milk, both with and without added calcium is the baby boomers' delight and, like all milk, can reduce the risk of diabetes and crumbling bones, it looks after your ticker, it reduces the risk of bowel cancer and can help in weight control.

Doctor Graeme McIntosh from the CSIRO highlights the importance of maintaining a proper intake of fuel for our bodies.

"I suspect that we need several serves of dairy food a day, particularly the low-fat dairy foods that are available to help us, yes, fight off obesity and increase our protection from some of those diseases," he said.

It seems both the casein protein and the calcium in milk can help protect us against bowel cancer.

"They can absorb and/or neutralise some of those toxic components and/or carcinogenic components in the colon," Dr McIntosh said.

But what about those who just can't stand the lactose in milk?

It seems there is an answer for that - yoghurt.

While yoghurt is a diary product, the bacteria it contains gobble up the lactose and ease the problem.

So it seems milk may just be worth it.

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