11 October, 2010
Should you drink a milk?
It's a good source of calcium
Dairy products are considered a good source of calcium because they have the highest concentration of highly absorbable calcium per serving.
Milk is not the only source of calcium, you can get also from dark leafy greens or dried beans and from supplements like vitamin D.
So are there any good reasons to drink milk if you can get the calcium from other sources?
Benefits of milk
Yes, it has a positive effect on our body beyond strenghtening our bones. It possibly lowering the risk of high blood pressure and the risk of developing colon cancer. But drinking milk can also be problematic.
When milk is not good for you
Here's what I have read: Some people cannot tolerate lactose, which is a key ingredient of milk. If you have this intolerance, milk can make you bloated and gassy, and give you cramps and diarrhoea.
Full fat milk is high in saturated fats, which increase your risk of developing heart disease. If you drink low fat milk, you should make sure you're not getting saturated fats from eating too much butter and ice cream.
Research into high milk consumption - 3 cups or more daily - has actually been tied to a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer. This is believed to be caused by high levels of galactose, a sugar released when your body digests the lactose in milk, damaging the ovaries.
A high calcium diet has also been implicated as a probable risk factor for prostate cancer. A recent study found that men who drank two or more glasses of milk a day had nearly double the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer as those who had the lowest intake.
Should I drink milk or not?
If you grew up drinking plenty of milk, your bones should be in good shape.
Do not feel like you should give up your daily glass of milk, or bowl of cereal.
Milk is an excellent source of calcium, but be aware that there is no good evidence that having more than one serving a day will reduce your risk of bone fracture.
Given the concerns about ovarian and prostate cancer, it may be a good idea to not overindulge in dairy products.
If you happen to be lactose intolerant, but like milk, there are dairy products that can help your body digest milk better. More importantly, you can compensate with other sources of calcium.
Good non dairy sources include fortified soy milk, collards, baked beans, boy choy, and supplements that contain calcium and vitamin D.