The Milk Myth: What Your Body Really Needs

A recent study claims that young adults are not drinking enough milk — at least according to press reports on the matter. But according to the study’s lead author Nicole Larson, the focus on the study was on calcium.
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The words “milk” and “calcium” are often used interchangeably in the popular press. But while milk is a calcium source, no standard other than that of the National Dairy Council considers it the best calcium source.

The suggestion that you need to drink three glasses of the secretion of a cow’s mammary glands in order to be healthy is a bit outrageous and doesn’t fit the human evolutionary profile. In fact, most humans around the world cannot easily digest cow milk.

Yogurt has more calcium than milk and is easier to digest. Collards and other greens also have about as much or more calcium than milk by the cup. Greens, unlike milk, have the added benefit of vitamin K, also necessary for strong bones. Sesame is also very high in calcium.

When you measure calcium by cup of food product, milk is high on the list. When you view it by calorie, though, milk is at the bottom. A hundred calories of turnip greens have over three times as much calcium as 100 calories of whole milk.


Resources:

Live Science June 24, 2009
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior July/August 2009; 41(4):254-60

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