Adrian's Writing Blog

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The dangers of milk

In previous blogs, I've talked about the increasing evidence that diets high in animal protein - meat and dairy - are bad for our health. The most interesting example, I think, was the excellent health documentary Forks over Knives, but there is also evidence specifically about diet changes, gut flora and bowel cancer, as well as the news that meat-free diets can make your cells younger.

A new article out this week adds to that corpus of knowledge. The article appeared in this week's New Scientist magazine and reports on a recent health study of tens of thousands of people in Sweden. The study ran for over 20 years and focussed on milk consumption by adults. It found that:

'the more milk people drank, the more likely they were to die or experience a bone fracture during the study period.'


The study also found that women who reported that they drank three-or-more glasses of milk a day had almost double the risk of dying during the study period as those who reported only drinking one.

This evidence flies in the face of the traditional view of milk; that it's a healthy food and that it helps our bones because it contains calcium. Clearly, this view needs a very strong review. As far as I can remember, the forks over knives documentary gives an explanation that fits the Swedish study very well. Forks over Knives explains that milk does contain calcium but our bodies can't absorb that calcium because we don't have the appropriate enzymes (not surprisingly, as we're not calves). After digestion, the proteins and other elements in milk can create an acid environment in our blood. Our body has to rectify that acid-alkaline balance by drawing calcium from our bones. The bizarre net result is that drinking milk causes us to lose calcium from our bones, not gain it.

This theory is not mentioned in the New Scientist article. It reports that the scientists at Uppsala University could not state a definite causal connection to explain the results of their study. They felt the most likely explanation was that drinking milk was causing inflammation.

Whichever it is, the facts speak for themselves. Don't believe anyone who says that drinking milk is good for your bones.