bone density, calcium, milk, fracture

Think Milk is Good for Your Bones? Think Again.

You value your health. You try to eat right and get in your 10,000 steps each day. And on days when you don’t have time for a real breakfast you drink a glass of milk and tell yourself it’s good for your bones.


A recent study published in the peer reviewed British Medical Journal will make you think twice about drinking milk.

Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, looked at data from 65,000 women and 45,000 men over a time frame of more than a decade. Here are the highlights:

  • There was no reduction in fractures in those who drank milk
  • Men and women who drank 3 or more glasses of milk daily had a large increase in mortality risk
  • High milk intake in women was associated with an increased risk of bone fracture.

Milk Causes Negative Health Changes

Milk also seems to increases the risk of other health conditions.  The authors state, “In subsamples of two additional cohorts, one in males and one in females, a positive association was seen between milk intake and both urine 8-iso-PGF2α (a biomarker of oxidative stress) and serum interleukin 6 (a main inflammatory biomarker).”

What About Lactose-Free Milk (or ice-cream)?

Will switching to Lactaid help? No.

The researchers believe it is the galactose in milk that is the trigger for negative health effects. And there is plenty of galactose in lactose-free milk. Actually galactose is a component of lactose.

To make lactose-free milk manufacturers don’t remove the lactose. They add an enzyme that breaks the lactose down into … you guessed it, galactose, and glucose.

Are All Dairy Products Harmful?

So should you eliminate all dairy from your diet? Not necessarily. This same study found that high intakes of cheese and fermented dairy, like yoghurt and kefir, are associated with lower mortality and lower fracture rates.

Since ice cream does not fall in the “cheese and fermented dairy” category it should also be avoided.

We also need to consider that most, if not all, of the milk that was consumed in the study was pasteurized we can’t make any conclusions about raw milk consumption. As someone who grew up drinking raw milk every day I am biased toward thinking that raw milk may not carry the same risks.

One of the best ways to understand what your nutritional health risks are is to know which foods and nutrients you have trouble digesting and those you are deficient in.
Click here to take Dr. Rose’s Nutritional Profile Quiz and get an overview of what your nutritional imbalances could be. You’ll get your results immediately.

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  • Kevin Carney

    Reply Reply December 12, 2014

    I recall a study that concluded a connection between milk consumption in infants and the triggering of type 1 diabetes later in life. I forget the details but somehow something in the milk “set the trigger” which another event later in life fired.

    • Marina Rose

      Reply Reply December 12, 2014

      Yes, several studies and meta-analyses have shown a correlation with milk and Type 1 diabetes. There is no agreement that there is causation but I as long as the jury is out I recommend erring on the side of caution and not introducing cow’s milk before the age of 1.

  • Pat Dwyer

    Reply Reply December 14, 2014

    I’ve avoided milk for years because of digestive issues. I take a calcium supplement and hope that will be sufficient. However, my son still drinks lots of milk. Are your points just related to adults, or to children as well?

    • Marina Rose

      Reply Reply December 15, 2014

      Yes, it’s applicable to children as well. Since milk is also one of the top two most common food allergies it is good to try a trial of avoiding it completely for 3 weeks before reintroducing and monitoring for symptoms.

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