Factsheet of the IDF N° 27/2023: The importance of the dairy matrix in the evaluation of the nutritional quality and health effects
Nutrition research has traditionally focused on identifying the specific associations through which single nutrients impact health outcomes - for example, calcium and bone health, protein and skeletal muscle and, saturated fat and heart disease. The approach to studying individual nutrients in relation to health has been described as a ‘reductionist’ perspective (Messina et al., 2001). However, the focus of nutrition research has shifted to examine the association of whole foods and dietary patterns with health (Mozaffarian et al., 2018). This includes recognizing not only that foods have numerous nutritional attributes but also that the effect of one attribute is likely dependent on the combination of nutritional components contained in the whole food and the resulting structure. This focus shift is also based on the fact that people consume nutrients as part of a food, and not in isolation. Moreover, foods are usually also eaten as part of a meal. Based on this emerging insight, the following definitions of dairy matrix and dairy matrix health effects are proposed:
- Dairy matrix describes the unique structure of a dairy food, its components (e.g. nutrients and non-nutrients) and how they interact.
- Dairy matrix health effects refer to the impact of the whole dairy food on health that extends beyond its individual components (e.g. nutrients and non-nutrients).
Cite this content as:
International Dairy Federation. (2023). The importance of the dairy matrix in the evaluation of the nutritional quality and health effects (Factsheet of the IDF n° 27/2023). https://doi.org/10.56169/DEIX9744