3 May 2006

Milk or No Milk ?

The debate continues. I personally have not needed calcium supplements since I became Vegan as my plant diet and well balanced vegan meals supply me with sufficient daily calcium.

Milk or no milk advice has some experts upset.
Asbury Park Press 30th April 2006

The message is clear in all those dairy ads showing celebrities in white mustaches: Drink your milk.The national government's dietary guidelines agree, advising everyone older than 8 to have three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese daily.

But some well-respected physicians and nutritionists are questioning that rule. They agree that calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. Their question is how much and from what sources.

Two leading anti-milk voices are Dr. Walter Willett, nutritionist and epidemiologist at Harvard School of Public Health, and T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University. Both are from dairy-farming families, but their views have entirely turned around because of their research.

Willett, who works closely with three of the biggest and longest-running health studies in the country including the Nurses' Health Studies, found that women getting the most calcium from dairy products had more fractures than women who had less dairy — the opposite of conventional wisdom. Most of the world doesn't consume dairy and has low rates of fracture, he adds. Willett believes 500 to 700 milligrams of calcium daily is probably plenty, while federal guidelines call for more, depending on age.

Willett has been right before when he's challenged beliefs about food and health. During the low-fat push, Willett countered that some fats, such as olive oil, are healthy, while others aren't. He was ahead of the curve when he correctly separated whole grains from less-healthy carbohydrates, and he promoted exercise before the government added it to the federal food pyramid.

Campbell, who has spent decades studying nutrition and summarized his findings about diet and disease in last year's "The China Study", believes that other foods, including vegetables and legumes, are better for bones — and the rest of the body — than milk. His research has turned him to a plant-based diet.

Even the late Dr. Benjamin Spock reversed his pro-milk stance for children in 1998 in his best-selling "Baby and Child Care" book. Thousands of years ago, humans didn't consume cow's milk.

Many physicians and an osteoporosis researcher counter that dairy products remain a convenient, efficient way to get calcium. They support the recommendations from groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Osteoporosis Foundation, which agree with the research-based U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. They encourage three servings a day of high-calcium foods, such as milk.

"I think it's sending the wrong message," J. Edward Puzas, a research scientist and director of the Osteoporosis Center at the University of Rochester, says of the anti-milk messages. It's fine to get calcium from dairy or non-dairy sources, including supplements, he says, but the reality is that most Americans don't get enough.


Latest PETA News :
Wearing nothing but plastic bullhorns and red scarves, more than 1,000 people from around the world will join PETA’s fifth annual "Running of the Nudes" in Pamplona, Spain, on July 5 as a fun, sexy, and humane alternative to the cruel "Running of the Bulls" and the slaughter of the animals in the bullfights that ensue. With opposition to the Running of the Bulls and bullfights mounting, PETA is gearing up for its biggest-ever naked run, which has doubled in size every year since its inception. The Running of the Nudes takes place two days before the Running of the Bulls and follows the identical course.
See previous runs and who is going on this one at



Hiddenson said...

Thank you for sharing these well-based opinions about dairy products and calcium.

I am still "a cruel carnivore", but walking the Asian roads for 4 months now, I have changed much of my diet, and I am interested by other alternatives. Your point helps me make one step more in that direction. Thanks.

Jackie said...

Thanks for your comment hiddenson. It's actually safer in some foreign parts to be vegetarian as long as you also make sure the veggies are washed in clean water.

Slammin Jammin said...

the random commenter strikes again