Got Milk? Bad Idea.

Sometime in your life, you’ve probably been given a tall glass of cow’s milk and encouraged to drink up because “milk builds strong bones.” This notion was probably reinforced by doctors, teachers and parents who were taking care that you developed into a strong, healthy adult. But what if your milk consumption is actually having the exact opposite effect on your body? Indeed, all the hoopla behind milk’s benefits has more to do with politics than truth. In reality, science tells a different story: milk builds weak bones.

How can this be? After all, milk is full of calcium and everyone knows calcium is key to bone strength. When milk is ingested, however, its animal proteins increase the acid load in our bodies, making our blood and tissues more acidic. As a result, the body uses calcium (a very effective base) to neutralize the acid. This calcium is drawn from our bones, which, in turn, actually makes them weaker!

As evidence of this phenomenon, numerous studies have been conducted comparing bone fractures to milk consumption. In a recent study, several scientists from the University of California studied the correlation between cow’s milk consumption and the rate of hip fractures (a good indication of osteoporosis) among women 50 years and older. Their results proved that countries with the highest consumption of cow’s milk, i.e. the United States, Australia and New Zealand, have the highest rates of hip fractures. Additional studies confirm this phenomenon, displaying a clear connection between consuming animal proteins, like those found in cow’s milk, and having weak bones.

What’s more, milk contains high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and unnatural hormones. Your doctor’s prescription to drink more milk will only lead to worse overall health. So what should you do? Thankfully, there are a plethora of milk alternatives which are not only nutritious but delicious as well. My personal favorite is almond milk, which Sodexo now supplies. It contains 50% more calcium than dairy milk and only a fraction of the calories. Soy milk, coconut milk and rice milk are fine choices as well. Your taste buds will be happy and your bones will thank you too!

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