Milk May Not Be So Wholesome After All

The debate centers around school lunch and the longtime promotion that milk builds strong bones.

Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the PCRM, (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) has stated that, “Research has now made it abundantly clear that milk doesn’t build strong bones. Whether we are talking about children who are forming bones or older people who are trying to keep their bone integrity, milk doesn’t have a beneficial effect on either one.”

The promotion of milk to help build strong bones in kids is, “in effect, the promotion of an ineffective placebo,” writes the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in its petition [PDF]. “Milk is high in sugar, high in fat and high in animal protein” — all of which counters its purported benefits to bone health, the committee argues.

The PCRM notes that dairy products, including milk, are the No. 1 source of saturated fat in Americans’ diets. Drinking milk for the calcium it contains is therefore a losing strategy, especially since people can get their daily recommended calcium from other, more nutritious foods. And for millions of Americans who are allergic to milk — including 1.3 million children — or intolerant to the lactose it contains, drinking milk carries potentially severe health risks.

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