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The milk myth: is milk really as beneficial as we always believed?

What is the best source of Calcium? The answer that pops into just about anyone’s mind is obviously, milk. But, is that really the case? Milk and dairy go beyond the confines of being just a drink. In fact, they are a part of a much greater phenomenon that has been engraved into our cultural norms over the years. The milk marketing industry has successfully managed to play a pivotal role in this movement by advertising misleading and false information about milk’s miraculous wonders. Science happens to disagree and is here to discredit these milk myths.

  • Milk does not help build strong bones.

Perhaps the most common myth highlighted is the link between milk consumption and strong bones. Studies have revealed that milk does not reduce the incidence of fractures. In fact, frequent consumers were more prone to stress fractures.

  • Milk does not help in weight control.

Studies have managed to reveal quite the opposite as many people were shown to gain weight owing to dairy consumption.

  • It is not “Nature’s perfect food”.

If you are taking calves into consideration, then yes, it is nature’s perfect food but that seems to hardly be the case for humans as milk has been known to contribute to various cancers, Type 1 Diabetes in children, and is shown to contribute to heart disease due to its high levels of saturated fats.

Science can get quite brutal with its accusations. Dairy is without a doubt, a rich source of Calcium, Sodium, and Potassium but, unfortunately, it is not the best source of Calcium when consumed via milk. Milk also promotes inflammation and triggers insulin production.

The question that remains is, how much Calcium does one need daily and are there any alternative sources?

For adults, the recommended daily requirement ranges from 1000-1200 milligrams, however, for people with a low average consumption of Sodium and Protein, the daily requirement is approximately 500-750 milligrams.

Alternative sources of Calcium include green leafy vegetables, almond, hemp, soy, rice, and oat milk because, like all other minerals, the richest source of Calcium is in plants. Plant-based proteins are loaded with Calcium, Vitamin D, and Potassium. Non-plant-based options include organ meats and seafood such as salmon, sardines, and shellfish. It is important to maintain a well-rounded diet to contribute to better levels of Calcium in the body such as foods rich in Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, and Phosphorous.

April 3, 2017

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