Is Milk Really That Good For Us?

19th November 2014

A recent study has found that milk might not be that good for our bodies after all.

The study, which has been published in the medical journal BMJ, was carried out on 107,000 Swedish adults, and the results suggest that a milk-rich diet could actually be detrimental to the health. Authors of the report saw a higher rate of both fracture and mortality in women (dependent on dosage) and a higher rate of mortality in men. This pattern was not recognized with other types of dairy product. Women who drank three or more glasses of milk per day were 93 per cent more likely to have died during the period of study, which ranged between 13 and 22 years.

It was concluded that the findings question the validity of the net health benefits long-believed to be gained through drinking milk. However, researchers do point out that more research is necessary.
Professor Aaron E Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine writes that there simply isn't enough evidence to suggest that drinking milk is in fact good for you.

He points out that over 10,000 years ago, when humans had begun to domesticate animals, neither adults nor older children drank milk. He also writes that many people in today's society don't consume milk due to lactose intolerance, and these people 'do just fine'.
It appears that there is little evidence to suggest that calcium found in milk helps to improve the strength of our bones or prevent osteoporosis. Although milk is rich in protein, Prof. Carroll says that most US citizens get plenty of this nutrient in their diets already, without the addition of milk. He says that what they don't need is calories, which milk is abundant in. One cup of milk is equal to 83 calories. Prof. Carroll feels that it's odd for milk to get a free pass when every other calorie-laden beverage is being marginalised due to concerns over obesity. However, according to Luisa Dillner of The Guardian, it's too early to banish milk from our diets. She believes that this study is based on occasionally unreliable self-reporting. She points out that health prices and the Swedish environment may differ from the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, and there's no definite proof of a link.

There may also be unintended health risks is abandoned. Sandra Walsh of the Daily Mail wrote that the recent decrease of milk consumption in the UK has likely led to an increase in cases of iodine efficiency. This is because many British citizens get iodine from cow's milk; unlike Canada and the US, the UK government does not permit the addition of iodine to salt products. Dillner writes that it is unlikely that nutritional guidelines will change in the short-term until there is more concrete evidence on the long-term effects of moderate milk drinking. More research is necessary.