The Dairy Dillema

Ah milk. Great with cookies and in cereal. I grew up drinking it like water and many people still do. We all did so for two factors, protein and calcium. It’s soothing and nostalgic for me personally. Unfortunately, a quick search came up with a surprising number of really thorough studies on the ills of dairy consumption.

Calcium: According to a Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who drank more than three glasses of milk per day broke more bones than those who drank it infrequently. Animal proteins-meat, dairy are actually more likely to leach calcium from you bones. A study in Australia showed that “Those with the highest dairy product consumption had approximately double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption.” (PCRM) See below for sources.

Protein: Americans are eating way more protein than we need and that, in turn creates more leaching of calcium in our bones.

“Osteoporosis is caused by a number of things, one of the most important being too much dietary protein.”
{Science 1986;233, 4763}

“Even when eating 1,400 mg of calcium daily, one can lose up to 4% of his or her bone mass each year while consuming a high-protein diet.”
{American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1979;32,4}

“Increasing one’s protein intake by 100% may cause calcium loss to double.”
{Journal of Nutrition, 1981; 111, 3}

“The average man in the US eats 175% more protein than the recommended daily allowance and the average woman eats 144% more.”
{Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health, 1988}

“Consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, were associated with an increased risk of hip fractures… metabolism of dietary protein causes increased urinary excretion of calcium.”
{American Journal of Epidemiology 1994;139}

So what now? I personally will not completely cut all dairy from my life, but I will no longer let my kids drink it by the glassful, and when possible, I will substitute non-dairy milk for milk and coconut oil or olive oil for butter in a recipe. I will not see it as a healthy beverage and instead, something to be had in moderation, like sweets.
And I will:

1. Eat leafy greens, oatmeal and beans! Bok choy, kale, chard, broccoli and almost any bean will give you plenty of calcium.

2. Excercise- It helps keep the calcium in your bones. (Ugh.)

3. Lower salt- sodium can increase calcium loss through the kidneys

4. Drink fortified non- dairy milk

5. Take a multi with vitamin D and calcium.

What about you? Any strong feelings on the milk front?

For more titillating info on milk, read some of the sources below.


One Comment Add yours

  1. OrganicREADY says:

    It’s pretty hard to readjust after all these years thinking, “milk does a body good”, which now you know isn’t true. The real problem here is that we are brainwashed to believe it is. Now don’t get me wrong, raw organic milk is good for us, just not the store bought brands. That’s not that easy to come by.

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