Ever since we were young, we were always encouraged to drink milk. It was given to us in sippy cups and poured for us at dinner so we could grow up big and strong. Even today, we are recommended to drink milk so we can get enough calcium to keep are bones and teeth healthy. However, Forbes brings some new information to light.
Despite what most people have heard their entire lives, milk may not be so good for bones or for longevity, according to a new study in the journal BMJ. The research found that consuming more milk was linked to greater risk of bone fractures and to earlier mortality. Meanwhile, cheese, yogurt, and other fermented products appeared to be "safe." It's not quite clear why, but the research suggests that milk alone may increase inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. The research raises some interesting possibilities, namely that milk isn't all it's been cracked up to be by the recommending organizations. And, at least till more research is done, that moderation is probably wise.
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Recent years have raised some questions about the role of cow's milk in human health. It's been shown to be linked to heart disease and diabetes, whereas yogurt and other fermented products have been linked to improved heart health. In preventing bone fractures, the research has been more conflicting. "I've looked at fractures during the last 25 years," lead author Karl Michaelsson told the Washington Post. "I've been puzzled by the question because there has again and again been a tendency of a higher risk of fracture with a higher intake of milk."
The researchers asked 61,000 women and 45,000 men about their dietary habits, including how often they consumed 96 particular foods, among them, milk, cheese, and yogurt. They followed the women for 20 years and the men for 11 years, noting how many developed hip fractures and other bone fractures, and how many died.
The women not only gained no benefit from drinking more milk, but three or more glasses per day was associated with a significantly greater risk of bone fracture. For men and women both, the more milk they'd consumed, the greater the risk of death.
Cheese and other fermented dairy products did not seem to be linked to the same risk – in fact, as people ate more of these products, their risk of bone fracture declined, as did their risk of mortality.
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