New England Journal of Medicine concludes dairy unnecessary & potentially harmful

New England Journal of Medicine concludes dairy unnecessary & potentially harmful

Most of us grew up being told by our peers and by the media that we need to drink cows milk for strong bones. Was this just really clever marketing by the dairy industry?  Many studies in the past have debunked this claim but just recently, Harvard researchers examined available evidence on dairy and found that dairy milk did not help to strengthen bones to prevent fractures. Dr David Ludwig (one of the researchers) stated that they reviewed over 100 studies and concluded that milk recommendations for Americans were not based on evidence.

There is no human requirement to drink the milk of other animals. All the nutrients in milk can be obtained in the necessary amounts from other dietary sources. For calcium, alternative sources include kale, broccoli, nuts, seeds, beans and calcium fortified plant milks/ orange juice.

In fact, countries with the highest dairy milk consumption (like Sweden) tend to have higher risk for hip fractures than those with the lowest consumption (like China). Harvard researchers evaluated the evidence on dairy consumption and health outcomes including growth & development, cancer risk , bone health and body weight and concluded that high consumption of dairy products does not protect against bone fractures in adults.

Not only did they find there was no protection against bone fractures, but it may increase the risk for fractures, prostate cancer & endometrial cancer. Regarding cardiovascular disease, dairy increases your risk when compared to plant-based sources.

Reference: Willett WC, Ludwig DS. Milk and health. N Engl J Med. 2020;382:644-654.


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