Hi, Wild Ones!
We’ve all been hearing that question for decades. Milk and strong bones are practically synonymous at this point! But is it true?
A review of the most intensive studies on milk consumption and hip fracture risk found…no link. So that’s one myth debunked already. What about milk and bone building in adolescents? That’s exactly what some researchers at Harvard decided to explore…
Prior studies had linked milk consumption during childhood and adolescence to peak bone mass, and therefore greater protection against osteoporosis and bone fractures later on. But these researchers found something else. According to them, there was no link between milk consumption during adolescence and subsequent lower risk of fracture—and possibly even some added risk.
Apparently, that “peak bone mass,” or extra density, coming from the calcium in milk drops again after a couple years, even if we continue to supplement. So bone strength is not increased by milk consumption.
Looking at places where people consume the most milk yet have the highest rates of hip fracture, bone strength may even be decreased…
Why? Good question!
Let’s move from Harvard to Sweden to find out. A team of researchers there decided to untangle this confusing link between higher fracture risk and higher milk consumption. Their search led them to galactosemia, a birth defect that causes babies to be born without the necessary enzymes for detoxifying the galactose in milk. These babies end up with higher levels of galactose in their blood, often leading to bone loss early on.
Even for people who do have the right enzymes, these researchers hypothesized, maybe galactose consumption wasn’t doing their bones any favors. After all, one to two glasses’ worth of this stuff causes early aging, oxidative stress, inflammation, and shortened lifespans in lab animals.
Woah—maybe just pause and let that sink in…
Of course, we’re not lab animals, but that’s definitely not a good sign. Researchers then looked at links between milk consumption and mortality. They tracked 100,000 people for as long as 20 years, and found that women who drank milk had higher mortality rates and more cancer, fractures and heart problems for every glass of milk consumed per day.
In another study, men appeared to experience a higher mortality rate with higher milk intake as well, though not the same increased risk of fracture.
There is no need for milk in a balanced, calcium-rich, delicious diet. Learn more about thriving, milk-free nutrition today with Wild Nutrition: Your 30-Day Revolution to Plant-Based Vitality!