Athletes proudly sport white milk mustaches, racecar drivers poor bottles of milk over their heads; but does milk really do the body good? We are told that milk makes the bones stronger, prevents osteoporosis, and supports bone growth in children. All of that sounds really good. But is it true?
Bone strength might not really improve with milk consumption. In a recent study of postmenopausal women, milk consumption was not associated with a lower risk of hip fractures. Vitamin D really seems to be the key to bone strength in adults, according to the same researchers that concluded:
“We observed a lower risk of hip fracture with a higher calcium intake only when accompanied by a higher intake of vitamin D.”
They also noticed that there are very few studies in the medical literature showing that dairy products improve bone health. Maybe dairy products are not as important as once thought for osteoporosis prevention.
Since there is very little evidence to support an increased consumption of dairy products in children, the belief that children should drink milk is debatable too. However, most experts agree that children need to get their calcium from somewhere because the bones are growing. The bones continue to grow and store calcium up until the late 20’s. Getting a child to eat enough leafy greens to provide enough calcium for growing bones is difficult; thus, some parents prefer to give children calcium supplements as opposed to encouraging milk consumption.
But where is the harm in drinking milk? Well certainly, some people cannot tolerate milk because of lactose intolerance. And some people should avoid dairy products because of the high fat content. Others might be at risk for certain cancers if consuming milk that contains hormones in it. These potential problems with milk drinking do not negate the fact that we all need to get calcium from somewhere.
So maybe milk doesn’t do the body so much good. According to the research, milk doesn’t seem to make a difference in bone strength when we are older. And it doesn’t seem to be critical for a child’s bone health either. Does milk cause harm? Animal rights activist would certain like us to believe that milk is actually harmful, but there doesn’t seem to be much truth in that either unless you are lactose intolerant or have other specific health concerns. In general, milk is just another food option that some people may or may not choose to consume. Personally, I like to a chocolate milk mustache once and a while. What’s the harm in that?
Published On: July 21, 2013