Friday, August 14, 2009

Is Milk Really Good For You? Evidence Mountng...

Evidence Mounting For Case Against Milk In Our Diets

By Sally Lehrman, Natural Solutions

The dairy industry portrays milk as an essential part of a good diet and our best bet for staving off osteoporosis. Should you buy it?

Denise Jardine had loved dairy products since she was a kid. You could even say she shaped her day around them. She’d start out with cream in her coffee and low-fat milk on her cereal. Lunch might include cheese or yogurt, and instead of sipping soda, she quaffed milk. Often she’d finish off the evening with a little ice cream.

Not an unfamiliar scenario to many Americans, no doubt. Every year, we down more dairy products: Sales are at their highest since 1987, reaching an annual total of 594 pounds per person. And the chorus of voices urging us to eat still more just got louder: The federal government’s new food pyramid for 2005 pumps up recommended dairy intake to three cups of milk per day, compared with two in the earlier version.

But evidence is accumulating that milk and milk products may not be the wholesome, ideal foods we think they are. A growing number of activists, nutritionists, and heart and bone specialists say the health benefits of dairy have been vastly oversold. The science simply isn’t there, says Amy Joy Lanou, the director of nutrition for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C.

“Milk has a lot of calcium and other nutrients, but there is a large body of evidence that it may not be the best nutritional package for some people–maybe a lot of people.”

What’s more, dairy may actually be causing health problems in many people. Digestive problems plague the up to 50 million Americans who are lactose intolerant. And whole milk and cheese, of course, are notorious for being loaded with saturated fat, which not only adds to waistlines but also threatens our hearts. But that’s not all: Recent research has shown that some milk contains trace amounts of rocket fuel–hardly a wholesome substance. And though the evidence isn’t conclusive, some studies suggest that drinking lots of milk may raise the risk of ovarian and prostate cancers.

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