to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this
topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:
doesn't reduce fractures.(i) Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy
products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according
to the Nurses' Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50
- Less dairy, better
bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like
those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
- Calcium isn't as
bone-protective as we thought.(ii) Studies of calcium supplementation
have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to
be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.
- Calcium may raise
cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy
products may increase a man's risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent.(iii)
Plus, dairy consumption increases the body's level of insulin-like growth
factor-1 (IGF-1) -- a known cancer promoter.
- Calcium has benefits
that dairy doesn't. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce
the risk of colon cancer.(iv)
- Not everyone can
stomach dairy.(v) About 75 percent of the world's population is genetically
unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products -- a problem called
on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:
needs calcium -- but probably not as much as our government's recommended
daily allowance (RDA) and calcium from diet, including greens and beans
is better utilized by the body with less risk than calcium supplements.
- Calcium probably
doesn't prevent broken bones. Few people in this country are likely to
reduce their fracture risk by getting more calcium.
- Men may not want
to take calcium supplements. Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may
be reasonable for women.
- Dairy may be unhealthy.
Advocating dairy consumption may have negative effects on health.
If all that isn't enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other
scientific findings worth noting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently
asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in
the "milk mustache" ads. Their panel of scientists stated the
- Milk doesn't benefit
- There's no evidence
that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis -- in fact,
the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!
- Dairy is linked to
- It's full of saturated
fat and is linked to heart disease.
- Dairy causes digestive
problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.
- Dairy aggravates
irritable bowel syndrome.
put, the FTC asked the dairy industry, "Got Proof?" -- and the
answer was NO!
dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:
Type 1 diabetes (vii)
Chronic constipation (viii)
Anemia (in children)
to these concerns, many have begun to consider raw milk an alternative.
But that isn't really a healthy form of dairy either ...
raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones,
antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization -- but
to me, these benefits don't outweigh dairy's potential risks.
an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans. Until
10,000 years ago we didn't domesticate animals and weren't able to drink
milk (unless some brave hunter-gather milked a wild tiger or buffalo!).
don't believe that, consider this: The majority of humans naturally stop
producing significant amounts of lactase - the enzyme needed to properly
metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk -- sometime between the ages of two
and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing
the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have
bodies just weren't made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most
scientists agree that it's better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein,
and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods -- vegetables,
fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.
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