Studies are suggesting that the effects of milk on the body are perhaps not worth the calcium benefits it provides.
A recent 20-year Swedish study published in the British Medical Journal looked at the milk intake of two large cohorts involving 61,433 women and 45,339 men.
The results showed that high milk intake was associated with:
- higher mortality in both men and women
- higher fracture incidence in women.
Milk contains 18 of 22 essential nutrients, including calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D all of which are important for bone strength. The body is able to absorb these nutrients via the intestines through enzymes that digest lactose into D-galactose and D-glucose.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) encourages three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products for adults and children nine years and older.
So what in milk could be to blame?
While a high milk intake is usually recommend for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures, studies are showing that chronic exposure to the D-galactose in milk may actually be having negative effects on our bodies.
Experimental evidence shows that the damage from even a low dose of D-galactose may create oxidative stress damage, chronic inflammation, neurological degeneration, decreased immune response and gene changes. Milk is the main dietary source of D-galactose.
The increase of the chronic stress and low grade inflammation along with the aging process are all linked to the diseases that are becoming more prevalent today such as cardiovascular disease, auto-immune disease and cancer.
Those who consume high amounts of milk also had a more negative cardiovascular risk factor profile, contributing to:
- higher blood pressure
- lower high-density lipoprotein (HDLs) cholesterol levels
- higher insulin resistance.
- And, higher oxidative stress & inflammation.
While studies are showing the negative effect milk is having on our bodies, the study noted that the intake of cheese and fermented milk products such as yogurt and soured milk and cheese are generally associated with lower rates of fracture and mortality as well as higher HDL levels, less insulin resistance, and a lower risk of heart attack.
The idea that “milk does a body good” needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
Those with lactose intolerance, food allergies and sensitivities (i.e. Whey and Casein), autoimmune disease, cancer and other ongoing health issues should consider the potential health risks from milk consumption.