Most Americans grew up drinking cow’s milk, and were educated to think it is the right thing to do for good health. But as consumers are more aware of some of the negative effects of milk-drinking, many people are turning to alternatives.
Nutritionists agree that cow’s milk is a very good source of calcium, and we have strong evidence that calcium is related to bone health, but recent studies have found that drinking cow’s milk may be less important for health than we previously thought. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk. A study published in 2014 which analyzed Swedish National Health Data on 60,000 women found that women who drank at least 3 glasses of milk per day were more likely to die, and heavy milk drinkers had 60% higher risk of hip fracture.
Additionally, it is a well-known fact that dairy cows in large farming operations are routinely given recombinant bovine growth hormone to increase milk production, as well as antibiotics to prevent infection, and traces of these substances have been found in samples of milk and dairy products.
So what’s the best method to keep our bones strong and avoid osteoporosis? Several factors other than calcium intake influence bone strength and density, including sodium intake, protein intake, and the amount of daily exercise.
For more information, visit www.drweil.com, the website of Dr. Andrew Weil, author of “Eating Well for Optimum Health.”