Dear Dr. Walt,
Is milk bad for bones? Does it actually contribute to osteoporosis?
— Dairy Farmer in Florida
As you are likely aware, this is a very controversial and contentious issue between your industry and a variety of scientists with wide range of opinions. On one side are those advertisements pushing milk as the answer to strong bones, while others believe “got milk?” does not really translate into “got strong bones”!
The pro-milk folks believe that increased calcium intake — particularly in the form of the currently recommended three glasses of milk per day — will help prevent the weakening of bones. On the other side are those who believe that milk has little effect on the rate of fractures and may contribute to a number of other health problems.
Many trusted experts are undecided. For example, the Harvard Health Letter says, “The final answers aren’t in.” The Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials says, “There are some unanswered questions.”
So, what do I tell my patients? There seems to be universal agreement that there are three key factors for keeping bones healthy: calcium, vitamin D, and regular exercise. However, even with no milk at all, one can get adequate dietary calcium with yogurt, dark green leafy vegetables, canned salmon or sardines, soy products, and calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice.
This Q&A will be published in the September 2016 edition of Today’s Christian Living.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2016. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.