Is dairy good or bad for us with Dr Alan Flanagan The Proof with Simon Hill podcast episode 225

Is dairy good or bad for us? | Dr Alan Flanagan

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In Episode #225 I sit down with Alan Flanagan, PhD to discuss the health implications of consuming dairy.

“What we’re seeing in [the online conversation about dairy] is a real urge to portray this food group in the most negative light possible.”

Misinformation is an ongoing occurrence in online nutrition conversations. The capacity to spread misinformation to huge audiences is only a few clicks away, and many laypeople aren’t equipped to accurately evaluate these claims. Similarly, there are many instances where ideology may influence people to ignore the evidence. Dr Alan Flanagan joins me today to discuss this in the context of dairy.

Alan Flanagan, PhD is a researcher and science-based nutrition educator. He is also the founder of Alinea Nutrition, an online education hub dedicated to providing impartial, science-based nutrition analysis. With an extensive nutrition background and a PhD focus on meal timing and behaviours, Dr Flanagan is very well positioned to shine a light on the nutrition landscape.

“We have more than sufficient information to act — the barrier is because of these wider social, economic, political, and other determinants that are influencing what’s on someone’s plate.”

In this episode, we have a broader conversation about misinformation and public health before specifically examining dairy. We discuss whether you can trust industry-funded studies, the representation of dairy on social media, and how much information we actually have.

Specifically, we cover:

  • Intro [0:00]
  • Why we’re discussing Dairy [2:32]
  • Social Media & Industry Funding [13:22]
  • Cardiovascular Disease [23:40]
  • Dairy Compared to What? [35:58]
  • The PURE Study [52:48]
  • Metabolic Health [1:02:33]
  • Blood Glucose [1:10:32]
  • Weight Gain [1:15:56]
  • Inflammation [1:21:19]
  • Cancer [1:29:24]
  • Acne [1:38:23]
  • Bone Health [1:43:45]
  • Bringing it all Together [1:58:50]
  • Outro [2:02:03]

Despite my personal diet choices, I believe it is important to also consider foods with an objective, nutrition-focused lens. There are strong ethical and environmental reasons to exclude animal products from your diet, but developing a cohesive understanding means people can be healthier and feel more empowered in their food choices. Dr Alan Flanagan provides an excellent space to do so in today’s episode.

To connect with Dr Alan Flanagan, you can do so via his Instagram. You can also learn more about Alinea Nutrition at Listen to his past appearance on the podcast at Episode #159, where we discuss keeping your heart healthy through diet.

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Enjoy, friends.


More about Alan Flanagan, PhD

Alan is currently a PhD candidate in nutrition at the University of Surrey, having completed his Masters degree in nutrition science at the same institution. Alan is the founder of Alinea Nutrition, an online education hub dedicated to providing impartial, science-based nutrition analysis. Alan is also Research Communication Officer for Sigma Nutrition, creating educational resources for nutrition science. Originally a lawyer by background in Dublin, Ireland, Alan spent a decade practicing as a barrister before moving into science.

Supporting studies

  • Association Between Adult Acne and Dietary Behaviors: Findings From the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort Study • PMID: 32520303
  • Association of dairy intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 21 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study • PMID: 30217460
  • Cheese intake in large amounts lowers LDL-cholesterol concentrations compared with butter intake of equal fat content • PMID: 22030228
  • Dairy fat and risk of cardiovascular disease in 3 cohorts of US adults • PMID: 27557656
  • Dairy matrix effects: response to consumption of dairy fat differs when eaten within the cheese matrix-a randomized controlled trial • PMID: 30107488
  • Dairy products and inflammation: A review of the clinical evidence • PMID: 26287637
  • Effect of dietary sources of calcium and protein on hip fractures and falls in older adults in residential care: cluster randomised controlled trial • PMID: 34670754
  • Effect of insulin-like growth factor-1 deficiency or administration on the occurrence of acne • PMID: 21054577
  • Milk and Health • PMID: 32053300
  • Potential role of milk fat globule membrane in modulating plasma lipoproteins, gene expression, and cholesterol metabolism in humans: a randomized study • PMID: 26016870
  • Replacing Dairy Fat With Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: A Food-Level Modeling Study of Dietary Nutrient Density and Diet Quality Using the 2013–16 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey • PMID: 31448278
  • The impact of diets rich in low-fat or full-fat dairy on glucose tolerance and its determinants: a randomized controlled trial • PMID: 33184632

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