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Understanding Dairy - Nutrition

Cheese, milk, yogurt, and eggs— when it comes to dairy, health experts say it’s not essential for optimal nutrition. “It’s not necessary to have dairy in the diet. You can get equally good nutrition from some of your dairy substitutes such as soy milk and soy products,” said Erika Graziani, an outpatient nutrition program coordinator with Lee Health. Graziani teaches patients about the pros and cons of consuming too much dairy. “You can argue though that dairy milk is a good source of calcium, phosphorus and protein and some good things,” she said. But dairy is also high in saturated fat. And many of its benefits can be found in other foods. “By including plenty of green vegetables and beans and other things, soy products, you can definitely meet your calcium needs as well as other good nutrition factors that we need like other vitamins and minerals,” said Graziani. If your diet includes dairy—health experts say moderation is key. Too much saturated fat can contribute to things like heart disease and other chronic diseases. “Eat a nice variety of foods, include plenty of those whole plant-foods and then if you decide to have some yogurt here and a little cheese there, ok, but you absolutely don’t need it,” she said. Maintaining a well-balanced diet that includes vegetables and vitamins is important to your overall health. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit