Milk beyond essential nutrients: The metabolic food

Jennifer T. Smilowitz, Cora J. Dillard, J. Bruce German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Metabolic health is now one of the critical challenges for improving human diets. Even when all of the essential nutrients are consumed at adequate levels, people around the world are being recognised with imbalances in macronutrient intakes that lead to severe problems in metabolic regulation. The health problems that are due to imbalances in metabolism include atherosclerosis, obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. The scientific challenges posed by the need to understand the interactions among diet and metabolic regulation are much greater than previously thought. Over generations, human diets that traditionally maintained populations in good metabolic health were arrived at through trial and error. Scientific knowledge was neither driven nor gained by this process - knowledge was only anecdotal. Now, scientific research must address the problem of guiding individuals to choosing optimal overall diets that not only provide all of the essential nutrients but also deliver all of the macronutrients in an optimal system, such that metabolism itself is balanced. Just as mammalian milk was instrumental in guiding nutrition research to the essential nutrients and in delivering them in adequate quantities, milk is proving to be a knowledge reservoir for understanding diet and metabolic health as well. Comparative compositional, genomic and metabolomic tools are accelerating our capabilities in understanding just how milks of various mammals guide infants to optimal growth, development and metabolism. Dairy productenriched diets are also apparently capable of delivering to humans of all ages many of the recognised benefits that milk provides to infants for optimal growth and metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Dairy Technology
Issue number2 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Milk beyond essential nutrients: The metabolic food'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this