Book Review


Handbook of Dairy Foods and Nutrition, 2nd ed. G.D. Miller, J.K. Jarvis, and L.D. McBean, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, U.S.A., 1999.

This more than 400 page text covers all aspects of dairy products and human health. It sets out with a description of the chemical makeup of bovine milk and its subfractions. This is followed by discussions of the impact of dairy foods in general (and some of their subcomponents, such as calcium in particular) on cardiovascular health, hypertension, colon cancer, osteoporosis, and oral health. There also are chapters considering the issue of bone health in vegetarians and lactose intolerance. The volume is referenced extensively and well supplied with tables and figures—many of them reproductions of data from important clinical studies. Thus, it will prove a valuable resource to those seeking a reference book regarding the composition of milk or who wish comprehensive reviews of these topics.

Despite its undoubted values, it does have some shortcomings. There is little in this volume that is critical of milk or dairy products, a fact that may not be unrelated to the fact that it is jointly published by the National Dairy Council and its editors are all senior staff members of this organization. Also reflecting this perspective is the fact that its focus is almost exclusively on the United States. There are very few data regarding dairy products from elsewhere and even those sections addressing issues of human health tend to do this in a way that does not look far beyond the United States' context. Probably having the same genesis is the fact that no attempt has been made to standardize units of measurement throughout the text, and much of it is a mixture of the metric system and U.S. units; European readers will require a calculator.

Despite these reservations, this is a valuable resource for any practitioner or researcher working in the area of bone health.