Drinking three glasses of milk a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, and correlates with a higher mortality rate, according to a new study by Michaëlsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiöld S, et al. in the The British Medical Journal. The BMJ explains, “Michaëlsson and colleagues suggest that milk is harmful because a metabolite of lactose, D-galactose, mimics aging through inflammation and oxidative stress in animal models,” and they call for a more definitive answer on the relationship between dairy and mortality.
With campaigns like the now-defunct Got Milk? the dairy industry has been soap-boxing for decades about the importance of dairy for calcium intake and bone strength. We’ve been bombarded with the idea that dairy is our most important nutritional supplement, and the best thing for a growing child. Not true. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine shows this is only the latest in a history of studies showing not only that milk fails to protect bone health, but that plant-based nutrition is more effective for disease prevention. One of the best ways to increase bone density is through exercise.
This news may not come as a surprise to readers, who know calcium and dairy need to break up, but it is impressive because of its scope. The researchers followed 61,433 women for over 20 years, and 45,339 men for 11 years. The scale of the study should satisfy concerns of bias, and spur the conversation about how marketing campaigns have substituted for real health advice, at least in the United States. We can only hope that findings of this magnitude will provide the push for government health programs to change their policies, from the food pyramid to The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a federal food subsidy program for low income nursing mothers and young children, emphasizing animal-source nutrition.
From children told to drink milk with their lunches to the elderly attempting to fight bone loss with cow’s milk, the system has to change. The good news is that studies like this provide both proof and reason.
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