Well, your life is about to be turned upside down. Wipe off the milk mustaches and settle in for some quality healthy study correlation. A new study, published in the journal BMJ, is suggesting that we have been lied to all our lives. Milk does not in fact build stronger bones or do a body good.
Don’t worry, no one is going to disprove that cookies taste awesome dunked in milk. It is just suggesting you might want to buy that Life Alert if you pound back an excessive amount of milk. It can possibly lead to more bone fractures.
Milk from cows has been under the gun as of late. Studies have come out blasting its role in human health. Everything from diabetes to heart disease has been linked to milk. Other dairy products, such as yogurt and other fermented products point to improved heart health. So, it isn’t all bad news.
Researchers used data from 61,000 women and 45,000 men about their dietary habits. The questionnaire focused on 96 different foods, with milk, cheese and yogurt being among them. Women were followed for 20 years, while men were followed for 11. The study noted how many died or developed hip or other types of fractures.
For women, there was no benefit found to drinking milk. In fact, as the rate of consumption increased, so did their risk of bone fracture. For both men and women, the more milk they drank, mortality risks also jumped.
Cheese and yogurt had the exact opposite outcome. Before you hit Costco and destroy the cheese aisle, everything is better in moderation. But, the research showed the more people ate, the risks of bone fractures and mortality declined.
The question is, why milk? Scientists think it triggers an inflammatory response. The likely culprit in milk is the presence of the sugar, D-galactose. “Even a low dose of D-galactose induces changes that resemble natural aging in animals,” the authors conclude, “including shortened life span caused by oxidative stress damage, chronic inflammation, neurodegeneration, decreased immune response, and gene transcriptional changes.”
Like everything science, there are some important buts here. People at risk for osteoporosis are likely to raid the milk aisle at the grocery store. While the study authors say that this reverse causation isn’t likely, how many people do you know throw back three to four glasses of milk without doing it for a reason?
What the study accomplishes is putting milk back into the conversation. For too long, it has been held up as a great tool to get people towards better bone health. Today, that idea has been thrown up in the air.