Margarita was raised on milk, the more she drank the better. And she continued the tradition with her children. If they didn’t eat all the food she served them, she felt comfortable if they had at least drunk a glass of milk. For Margarita and many other moms, milk is the perfect food that can be taken without restrictions unless directed by a doctor, or the person is lactose intolerant .
Research to date has shown that the calcium in milk helps strengthen bones and prevents osteoporosis and other problems. Based on that, health experts in the United States traditionally recommend drinking a certain amount of milk for a healthy diet. Here I remind you of the daily amounts of the dairy group indicated by the USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture) for people according to their age:
- 2-3 years: 2 cups
- From 4 to 8 years: 2 ½ cups
Pre-teens and teens :
- 9-13 years: 3 cups
- From 14 to 18 years old: 3 cups
Men and women:
- Ages 19 and over: 3 cups
However, a recent study published in the online edition of the British professional journal BMJ casts doubt on whether milk is so beneficial. According to research, conducted in Sweden, drinking large amounts of milk does not protect men or women from bone fractures as previously believed. And there’s more: excess milk in this study was associated with an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The study included more than 61,000 women and 45,000 men, older than 39 years, who had previously answered questionnaires from other investigations (women in the late 1980s and men in 1997). Dr. Karl Michaelson, a professor at Uppsala University in Sweden and lead author of the study, says the findings were convincing enough for him to reduce his own milk intake.
The researchers found that a large amount of milk in the daily diet (3 glasses or more in adults) appeared to be associated with an increased risk of death in both men and women during the study period. Also, three glasses of milk or more a day seemed to increase women’s propensity for fractures compared to those who drank little milk. The fracture of any bone increased in them by 16%, and in particular the fracture of the hip by 60%.
In addition, women who drank three or more glasses of milk a day were nearly twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and death, and had a 44% increased risk of cancer, compared with those who drank less than a glass of milk a day. As for men, their overall risk of death if they drank more than three glasses of milk a day increased by about 10%.
On the other hand, drinking a large amount of milk neither protected the men from breaking bones nor increased their risk.
However, other experts disagree with these conclusions. In an interview conducted by HealthDay, Dr. Mary Schooling, a professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health , and author of an editorial accompanying the study, commented that the findings suggest an association between milk and health problems, but not a direct link. And people shouldn’t change their diet based solely on this study.
According to it, no definitive conclusions can be drawn. A study is needed about people who genetically can digest milk easily and people who cannot digest it , and compare the results between both groups.
The same researchers admit that the study results should be taken with caution.
According to Michaelsson and his colleagues, the observed increased risk of death could be explained by the high levels of sugar in milk, specifically lactose and galactose, which are associated with tissue aging and inflammation processes. In contrast, high consumption of fermented milk products, which are low in lactose (such as cheese and yogurt), are rather associated with reduced rates of fractures and death, especially in women.
In another HealthDay interview on the subject, Isabel Maples, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , says that about 55% of older Americans have osteoporosis or are at elevated risk of it, and there’s no reason to change the dietary guidelines included in the US Dietary Guidelines . These consist of three servings of dairy products a day, not only for bone (bone) health, but also to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. These guidelines, according to Maples, do not follow a fashion or trend, but are based on scientific evidence.
In short, should you suppress or decrease the amount of milk in your daily diet? That depends on your particular condition. If you have doubts about the effects of milk, or if you find that you don’t like it, you may be able to limit yourself to a maximum of two glasses a day and supplement it with fermented milk products, such as yogurt, or with other foods, to complete your diet. daily dose of calcium ( click here to discover other foods rich in calcium ). In any case, do not make radical changes to your diet without asking your doctor. He or she can help you decide what is best for your health and that of your family.