The mounting skepticism about milk consumption and its effects on human health is going mainstream. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune is all over the topic:
Milk, the sacred cow of the American diet, is under attack and not just by animal-rights activists. Though federal dietary guidelines and most mainstream nutrition experts recommend that people age 9 or older drink three glasses of milk a day, researchers are examining the role of dairy in everything from rising osteoporosis rates, Type 1 diabetes and heart disease to breast, prostate and ovarian cancer.Here at DiseaseProof, we have talked about negatives of drinking milk and how some public schools are actually banning whole milk due to its high fat content. Dr. Fuhrman cites allergies, anal fissures, ear infections, and various cancers much later in life as a few potential dangers of dairy consumption.
Last March, the journal Pediatrics published a review article concluding that there is "scant evidence" that consuming more milk and dairy products will promote child and adolescent bone health. Some leading practitioners of integrative medicine, including best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil, suggest eliminating dairy products from the diet to help treat irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, eczema and ear infections. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock reversed his support of cow's milk for children in 1998 in his last edition of his world-famous book "Baby and Child Care."
The Tribune article encourages people not to see milk as the only viable source of calcium, and it's no secret that green vegetables are loaded with calcium (even the National Dairy Council will tell you so).
The calcium from some vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and kale is absorbed as well as or better than calcium from milk and milk products, according to the National Dairy Council's Calcium Counseling Resource. But the report also says that to get the same amount of calcium absorbed from 1 cup of milk, one would have to eat nearly 2 1/2 cups of broccoli or 8 cups of spinach.Of course, people are drawn to milk out of habit, because it is a quick compact source of calcium, and because it seems easier to get children to consume milk than vegetables.
But consider the total nutritional picture. Green vegetables are dense with so many kinds of nutrition beyond just calcium.
Also, if you want some pointers about how to get your kids to eat calcium-rich fruits and vegetables, you really should listen to Dr. Fuhrman's free podcast on the topic.
Finally, in his book Disease Proof Your Child, Dr. Fuhrman explains that if you insist on cow's milk nonetheless, do yourself a favor and choose skim.