For decades, nothing has been touted as a healthier, more wholesome food than milk. It does a body good, they say. For women especially, milk nutrition benefits include strong bones and the prevention of osteoporosis, a concern for millions of women in the U.S. and billions more worldwide. But according to a new study, milk isn’t the healthy food we think. In fact, it may actually cause the bone loss it’s supposed to prevent, and in this study’s case, it can even lead to early death.
This was no small study. Published in the recent issue of the British Medical Journal, researchers followed more than 100,000 people over 20 to 30 years. And what they found about milk nutrition claims versus actual results was startling: “The good milk drinkers [those who drank more than 3 glasses per day] were more likely to die from heart disease and cancer, and among the women, the milk drinkers suffered more overall fractures and hip fractures,” reports Forbes.
According to the study’s lead author, Professor Karl Michaelsson, of Uppsala University in Sweden: “Our results may question the validity of recommendations to consume high amounts of milk to prevent fragility fractures. A higher consumption of milk in women and men is not accompanied by a lower risk of fracture and instead may be associated with a higher rate of death.”
It’s not the first body of research to show a connection between dairy consumption and health issues. But the researchers are now suggesting that the fat in milk “cancels out the positive effects of calcium, triggering inflammation and increasing the risk of heart attacks,” reports the Telegraph.
Add to that, at least here in the U.S., conventional milk is produced from cows who are fed genetically modified ingredients, antibiotics, growth hormones and other controversial contaminants that end up in the milk people drink. These could be contributing factors to why milk is proving to be less than a healthy beverage.
For a dairy-free dose of calcium, here are a number of other sources beside milk that are more readily absorbed by the body, such as from plants like kale or broccoli.
Milk image via Shutterstock