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For more information on this topic, or others like it, go to WebMD's Food and Nutrition board moderated by Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE. continued...

Instead, it's likely that continued research will lead to low-fat products, and maybe drugs, being enriched with these pathogen-killing isolates, she tells WebMD.

"That's certainly one approach that will be taken on as we look to the future of 'functional foods'," says Greg Miller, PhD, senior vice president of nutrition and scientific affairs at the National Dairy Council. "It's a realistic scenario."

But then again, he tells WebMD, "these researchers were looking at the same isolate levels that you'd get from drinking a glass of whole milk." So, he says, given the potential benefits, if you're looking to maintain a low-fat diet, you might want to cut the excess from an area other than milk.

Still, says Sprong, it's best that adults stick to low-fat and nonfat dairy, for now. It's just not clear yet whether milk digestion, in the human body, actually releases enough of these components to produce the same bactericidal effect seen in the laboratory. "That still needs to be established," she says.

"We are going to look further into this and measure the effect in rats, because [in live animals] all sorts of digestive factors are involved," she says. Later on, she says, they'll test the isolates in humans. Since few folks are likely to sign up for a dose of Salmonella, "we'll test it in people who are already infected," she says.

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