Guest Post by Pablo Jareno
“You need milk to keep your bones healthy!” This is the myth that was drummed into me by my parents and the media’s clever advertising campaigns, but is this information that we’ve been exposed to for so many years actually true?
The Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School are critical of the USDA‘S recommendation of dairy products with every meal. Harvard stated, “there is little evidence that high dairy intake protects against osteoporosis but substantial evidence that high intake can be harmful.” If dairy is so bad, why do so many government health organisations recommend it? This could be due to the science / studies that have been produced to support cow’s milk are under extreme pressure from well-funded political & commercial influences.
Many scientific studies have shown a list of detrimental health effects directly linked to consumption of cow’s milk. Possibly the worst factor is that the myth of it being ‘good’ for our bones is that it is actually one of the ‘worst’ food choices for our bones by actually encouraging loss of bone density.
This happens due to milks’ acidifying ability to lower blood pH, which in turn triggers a biological reaction. Calcium is a great acid neutraliser (which basically means that calcium will put out the fire created by acidic foods) and the biggest storage of calcium we have readily available to us comes from our bones. So the same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is getting drawn / pulled out of our bones to neutralise the effect of the milk consumption. And once the calcium is drawn out from the bones, it leaves the body via urine, which leaves us with a calcium deficit within the body.
Many scientific studies contradict the theory that milk and dairy consumption help reduce osteoporotic fractures. Cumming and Klineberg report their findings:
“Consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in old age”.¹
In addition, the 12 year long Harvard Nurses Health Study found that those who consumed the most calcium from dairy foods broke more bones than those who rarely drank milk. This is a broad study based on 77,761 women aged 34 to 59 years old. The authors stated, “these data do not support the hypothesis that higher consumption of milk or other food sources of calcium by adult women protects against hip or forearm fractures.”²
Today’s milk is a processed food, as until the end of the 19th century in Europe and the beginning of the 20th century in the US, milk was consumed unpasteurised or raw. Later on, homogenisation became the industry’s standard. These processes further alter milk’s chemistry and actually increase the detrimental acidifying effects.
Raw milk is less acidifying than processed milk and pasturisation and homogenisation may cause a long list of digestive problems, but nowadays milking cows are given antibiotics and most are also injected with genetically engineered form of bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This is a man-made or synthetic hormone used to artificially increase milk production. rBGH also increases blood levels of the insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in those who drink it, with higher levels of IGF-1 being linked to several cancers. The Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Samuel Epstein, states that in an an article titled “Monsanto’s Hormonal Milk Poses Serious Risks of Breast Cancer, Besides other Cancers” that, ” drinking rBGH milk would thus be expected to significantly increase IGF-1 blood levels and consequently to increase risks of developing breast cancer and promoting its invasiveness”.
Milk is an acidifying animal protein and Dr Amy Lanou, nutrition director for the Physicians Commuter For Responsible Medicine in Washington D.C., states that, ” The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost non-existent.”
So, as you can conclude from the information above, all stories linked to cow’s milk being a great mineral source have been quashed by the professionals, so is going without cows milk going to give you brittle bones? I will let you trial it and answer that question yourself!
¹ “Case-Control Study Of Risk Factors For Hip Fractures In The Elderly.” American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 139, No. 5, 1994.
² Feskanich, D., Willett, WC., Stampfer, MJ. and Colditz, GA. “Milk, Dietary Calcium and Bone Fractures In Women: A 12-Year Prospective Study”. American Journal of Public Health. 1997.