As children, parents, school teachers, and even commercials between our favorite TV shows told us to drink more cow’s milk for strong, healthy bones. Nowadays, that same advice isn’t doled out nearly as much as it used to be.
There is some truth to that claim, though, as an 8-ounce cup of milk fulfills about 30 percent of an adult’s daily requirement for calcium, a mineral that is key for promoting bone health. Cow’s milk also packs magnesium and potassium, both of which help to support healthy teeth in addition to bones. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now).
However, there is such a thing as drinking too much milk. In fact, drinking too much cow’s milk can actually increase cause damage to your bones.
According to research published in the BMJ, it was found that drinking three or more glasses of milk each day may increase women’s risk of bone fractures. Those who drank at least three glasses daily increased their bone fracture risk by 16%.
The cause for this may be attributable to a sugar called D-galactose—which is found in the naturally occurring sugar in milk, lactose—as it’s believed to exacerbate oxidative stress and contribute to low-grade chronic inflammation. Inflammation can then wreak havoc on the body in various ways.
“Dairy products such as cheese and full-fat cow’s milk contain saturated fat and saturated fat can increase inflammation,” Ashley Kitchens, MPH, RD, LDN said to Eat This, Not That!. “Saturated fat can also raise your bad cholesterol and put you at higher risk for heart disease.”
However, the researchers indicate that more studies are needed before dietary recommendations can be made. Yet, a different study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that bone fractures due to osteoporosis in older adults are highest in countries that consume the most dairy, animal protein, and calcium.
So, if you’ve been susceptible to bone fractures in the past or are currently dealing with bone fractures, check your intake of cow’s milk. Of course, make sure to talk to your doctor if these issues persist.
For more, be sure to read 5 Warning Signs You’re Drinking Too Much Milk.
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