But, wait… don’t you need milk to grow and have strong bones?
This is a common question I get when people find out that, not only do I avoid milk like the plague, but have never fed it to my children either.
I have two strong, healthy children—a 14-year-old son who is 6’1” and a 12-year-old daughter who is 5’5”. And, despite their participation in rigorous, high contact sports, have NEVER had a broken bone. I am 5’7” and their Dad is 5’10”, so no giant genetics here either.
I want to give you a new perspective on dairy and dispel the myth that it’s needed for human consumption, bone growth, and health with my 5 biggest myths about milk and strong bones.
Let’s start from the beginning and break it all down.
First, is calcium needed in the body?
YES, along with a host of other minerals!
Second, is milk a good source of calcium for the human body?
NO! Now, let’s look at the reasons why milk is not an optimal source of calcium for the human body and why calcium isn’t the only thing to consider in bone health.
5 Myths you need to know about needing Milk to grow and have strong bones
#1 The pasteurization process renders milk’s calcium undigestible…
While it does contain calcium, the process of pasteurization destroys enzymes needed to help the body break down its calcium, rendering the calcium unstable by the body and therefore passes out of the body unused in the urine.
#2 Milk does NOT decrease bone fractures…
Mind blowing, I know!
Osteoporosis is a breakdown of the bone matrix itself which requires a healthy balance of all essential minerals of bone formation including silica, magnesium, manganese, copper, selenium, zinc, iodine and phosphorous to be healthy and strong.
Calcium is simply one piece of the puzzle.
Interesting fact: Over 44 million Americans are affected with either osteoporosis or low bone mass. We are one of the highest drinking milk countries in the world. If milk with helping stave off this terrible disease, it sure seems these rates would be lower.
Another interesting fact on the same note: In a 12-year study on milk, dietary calcium and bone fractures, higher intakes of total dietary calcium or calcium from dairy foods were NOT associated with decreased risk fo hip or forearm fracture.
There is no solid evidence linking decreased bone breaks with increased milk consumption. In fact, the research shows the opposite!
#3 Milk protein is very difficult to digest and inflammatory for many people…
Due to the pasteurization and homogenization process, the actual milk protein (not to be confused with lactose) is very difficult on the bodies digestive function.
The originally occurring enzymes that help us break down cow’s milk get destroyed from heat through pasteurization.
Without these essential enzymes, not only is the protein of milk difficult to digest, but the calcium in the milk can’t get broken down either and passes through the body unused.
#4 Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are two very different issues
Approximately 3/4 of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.
Lactose Intolerance is an inability to digest milk sugar (lactose) because of the lack of the lactase enzyme. The result of lactose intolerance is usually gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea shortly after consumption.
Milk allergy and sensitivity, on the other hand, are much less studied, but far more impactful.
Milk allergy is an immune reaction to the proteins found in milk. This means that our immune system must intervene and deal with the havoc that milk protein can wreak on the body.
The havoc I’m referring to can cause anything from an immediate allergic reaction of hives, sneezing, and difficulty breathing to a delayed onset of symptoms ranging from eczema, digestive upset, brain fog, and headaches.
#5 Sugar consumption is the biggest and most ignored factors in bone loss…
The current American consumes an average of 185 pounds of sugar per person, per year. Yikes!!
This is astonishing, and I’m not talking about fruit sugar here. I’m referring to sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, the stuff found in soda, pies, pastries, candy bars and other processed foods.
A little-known fact is that “sugar is absorbed quickly in the body and causes a rapid increase in glucose levels. This ultimately alters the body’s pH where it becomes more acidic. Thus, in an attempt to buffer the acidic environment, the calcium is leached from the bone and excreted in the urine.”
Our bodies can not stay in an acidic state, so in an attempt to remedy this, the body will, in essence, rob Peter to pay Paul with bone degradation being the bottom line.
If you are even considering taking your bone health seriously, and I suggest you do because it’s becoming an epidemic in the US, then you need to take a close look at your sugar intake.
Here a list of the first things that you’ll need to cut out of your diet:
- Sugary energy drinks and sodas
- Cupcakes, pies, and pastries
- Processed cereals
- Canned foods
- Processed juices
- Excessive grains
The Calcium Myth
Osteoporosis: The Toxic Metal Effect
Osteoporosis: My Mom’s Story
D Feskanich, W C Willett, M J Stampfer, and G A ColditzChanning Laboratory, Boston, Mass. 02115, USA. “Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study.”, American Journal of Public Health 87, no. 6 (June 1, 1997): pp. 992-997.