Myth Busting: “We need dairy to make our bones strong!”
Until 1992, tobacco was a main ingredient in Indian toothpaste as it was thought to be good for your teeth. And during the 1950s, people would deliberately infect themselves with tapeworm as a weight loss measure. While we may laugh at these ideas, modern day eaters are still being bombarded with information that is conflicting, confusing and just plain incorrect when it comes to health and nutrition! Here at Veggiebuzz, we're breaking down the myths and giving it to you straight once and for all.
The myth: "We need dairy to make our bones strong!"
It's the most prevalent understandings of why we drink milk as well as being everyone's primary concern when you adopt a dairy-free diet. "But where are you going to get calcium? Your bones will become weak! You'll develop osteoporosis!" They exclaim as they pour themselves another glass of nutritious and creamy cow's milk. Drink up - because here are 4 reasons why you do not need consume dairy to have healthy bones.
Reason 1: Calcium is not exclusive to milk
Calcium is a mineral that helps bones stay strong. Through our lives, our bodies constantly remove small amounts of calcium from our bones, replacing them with new calcium as part of a bone "remodeling" process. If the body removes more calcium from bones than it can replace, bones become weaker and more prone to breaking so it is essential to ensure your diets contains adequate calcium.
High calcium foods also include dark leafy greens, bok choy, fortified tofu, okra, broccoli, green beans and almonds but somehow it's the cheese, low-fat milk and yogurt that we associate with calcium. For the top 5 plant-based sources of calcium, check out this article.
Reason 2: Dairy may actually deplete the calcium from your bones
We're told to drink milk and eat cheese because it will protect our bones, reduce our risk of fractures and make sure we don't develop osteoporosis. But actually, studies of calcium supplementation and milk consumption have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk - vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures. It turns out that eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to this study, dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent. And is it a coincidence that the countries with the highest consumption of dairy products also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis?
Reason 3: We don't need cow's milk anymore than we need cat's milk
This is just simple logic: mammals produce milk for their young to grow and after a certain age, mammals no longer have a need for their mother's milk. And milk is specific to the needs of that particular species. So no, we don't 'need' cow's milk any more or any less than we 'need' the milk from any mammal on the planet - from a koala bear's milk to a rabbit's milk. And really, if you think about it, it's crazy to suggest that we could ever 'need' the milk of another mammal. This is why about 75 percent of the world's population is lactose intolerant (unable to properly digest dairy) to some degree - past infancy, we're simply not designed to digest milk!
The bottom line
The 'Got Milk' campaign may have earned your trust through moustached celebrities and a cute slogan, but don't be fooled by what is essentially an industry trying to make money. They have touted milk as 'most nature's perfect food' which is definitely true... if you're a calf. But if you're a human, there are lots of other ways you could be getting your calcium.
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