Thanks to clever promotion by the dairy industry milk is almost universally promoted as healthy dietary addition, predominantly for its high calcium content and therefore its positive effect on bone health. This is such a powerful belief that dozens of super models, actors/actresses, sports people and other celebrities clamber to jump on the promotional bandwagon presumably with the intent to make the world a healthier place.
BUT - for many years now Ive been telling anyone who would listen to me that modern industrialized dairy is a bad thing to put in your body...
What if, instead of promoting healthy bones, milk is actually connected by the science available to us to a higher risk of osteoporosis and even to death? A new Swedish study published in the British Medical Journal says just that.
A team of Swedish scientists from Uppsala University set out to examine whether high milk consumption is associated with mortality and fractures in women and men.They carried out a cohort (observational) study of over 61,000 women and 45,000 men aged between 39 and 79, from three central Swedish counties. The participants were administered food frequency questionnaires in the 1980s and the 90s and follow up was performed after an average of 20 years (for women) and 11 years (for men) to determine the association between milk consumption and time to mortality or fracture.
Results showed that, in both women and men, the adjusted mortality hazard ratio increased with every glass of milk drunk per day.You understood that correctly, each glass of milk made it more likely that you would die!For every glass of milk drunk by women or men, no reduction was observed in fracture risk in fact it increased for women.Additionally, a positive association was seen between milk intake and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress and chronic low grade inflammation is a pathogenetic mechanism of cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as a mechanism of age-related bone loss and sarcopenia.
These findings led to the following conclusion, with the caveat that it was an observational study:
High milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women.
I told you so!
Connections Between Milk and Chronic Disease
Milk and dairy consumption has been linked with a host of chronic health problems apart from osteoporosis.Milk consumption increases mucus production in the respiratory tract and dairy is one of the most mucus-forming foods we can consume: dairy has frequently been connected to asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, runny noses, and ear infections.
Following are some examples:
In a study of almost 13,000 US children in 1996, children who drank more than 3 servings of milk a day gained more in BMI than those who drank smaller amounts, mainly due to the excess calories.
The addition of bovine growth hormones increases the level of insulin-growth factor (IGF) in milk, which has been strongly linked to certain common cancers, as reported by The International Journal of Cancer in 2000. Milk consumption has particularly been linked with prostate and breast cancers.
The correlation between dairy and heart disease is the strongest of all food types, with sugar second.
More than 20 well-documented studies prompted one researcher to say the link between milk and juvenile diabetes is 'very solid'.
Drinking milk has long been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, which often affects the hands and feet of patients.
Toxic Load and Deadly Bacteria
Milk contains toxic levels of dioxins and may contain a cocktail of pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals, as well as potentially killer bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and E. Coli.
Early Menstruation in Girls
Earlier onset of menstruation or menarche has been a feature of the past one hundred and fifty years, and has often been linked with milk consumption.
Neither the milk ads nor the health authorities recognize any of the above; that is one thing. But for both to actively promote milk as a positive force in fighting osteoporosis, when it may have entirely the reverse effect, is another thing altogether. Milk does contain many essential nutrients of importance for the skeleton, including calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. However, there is growing evidence that the negative effects outweigh these positives. It certainly warrants further investigation and a review of official dietary guidelines.
If you are a dairy addict and just cant give it up then I recommend dairy from 100% grass fed organic animals - it is possible that this type of dairy has no toxic effects because there is no specific data to show that it does. However, just because the data does not exist does not mean that it is safe! Feel free to ask me more about nutrition and ways to eat and "drink" right, on your next visit!