The milk industry has convinced us that milk is vital to good health in an attempt to boost sales. We’ve been told that milk is essential to prevent fractures in adults. Was it a marketing ploy or actual science?
The “Got Milk?” Campaign
It was the California Milk Processor Board in 1993 that created the modern propaganda to make us believe that milk is good for us. Hard bodies, white teeth, and milk mustaches used in the “Got Milk” campaign were successful in turning around a soured milk industry. Christie Brinkley, Spike Lee, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Naomi Campbell, and even Rudi Guiliani helped transform milk into a social icon. And while the dairy industry will have you believe that milk is essential for good health, we should be thinking about the science.
Is Milk Good For Us Or Not?
Some studies show benefits, like lowering the risk for colon cancer, although conflicting studies say otherwise. Milk may actually increase the chances of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer. It’s the old dilemma, ‘you’re darned if you do and darned if you don’t.’
Milk And Broken Bones
A recent scientific review showed that dietary sources of calcium, including supplements, have very little effect on reducing bone fractures in adults. Calcium may actually increase the risk of fracture and is found to be a cause of inflammation. However it has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and we need calcium for survival, so don’t cut it out of your diet just yet.
Do We Need Milk?
To be expected, further research is needed. But in the meantime, we need to be cautious and aware of who is providing “health information” and in what context. Is it coming from a farming or agriculture industry using a PR firm and advertising? Chances are, you are only getting enough information to compel you to buy a product but not enough information to highlight the gap between marketing and science.
Don’t drink milk because you think it is “healthy.” There is too much conflicting information to definitively support that claim. And don’t drink milk because you think it is the best source of calcium. There are plenty of other options.
Non-dairy Sources Of Calcium
- Almond milk, calcium fortified (1 cup): 450 mg calcium
- Soy milk, calcium fortified (1 cup): 399-450 mg calcium
- Spinach (1 cup): 240 mg calcium
- Figs (1 cup): 300 mg calcium
- Orange juice, calcium fortified (6 ounces): 261-300 mg calcium
- Tofu with added calcium (1/2 cup): 253 mg calcium
- Ocean perch, Atlantic, cooked (3 ounces): 116 mg calcium
- Broccoli (1 cup): 180 mg calcium
- Okra (1 cup): 100 mg calcium
- White beans, canned (½ cup): 96 mg calcium
- Kale, cooked (1 cup): 100 mg calcium
It is recommended to consume at least 1000mg of calcium per day (along with 600mg of vitamin D to help with absorption). So mix and match foods and enjoy a varied diet!
Read more about another milk myth here: Does Dairy Make A Cold Worse?