If I asked you to tell me one major difference between humans and all other mammals on earth what would you say? Would you say we can talk or that we wear clothes? While both of those are true, they aren't nearly has weird as our consumption of dairy. Dairy as you probably know includes cow’s milk and any product with cow’s milk as a major ingredient. When you compare humans to all other mammals, we are the only ones that consume milk past infancy and from another species no less. Now think about that and tell me it makes sense. Today I want to tell you about the link between dairy and osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of breaks and fractures. In short, it's a disease of your bones. Now if you know anything about the link between bones and dairy, you know that milk (dairy) is the best thing for healthy bones; except that it isn't. While it is true that bones need a combination of calcium and vitamin D to be healthy, and both are contained in milk, it is not true that milk does a body (your bones in this example) good. Here are a few reasons why there is a link between milk and osteoporosis.
First, most of us can't even digest milk. In order to sterilize milk to make it suitable for drinking it is pasteurized, which means it's cooked at super high temperatures. This process destroys naturally occurring digestive enzymes and makes it difficult to absorb vitamins and minerals (calcium and vitamin D) contained in milk. Therefore, you are not really getting the calcium and vitamin D you think you are. Somewhat related to this is the fact the nearly 75% of adults simply can't digest lactose, the main sugar in milk. That's because at around two years of age, we stop producing the enzyme that digests lactose.
Secondly, milk increases that amount of acid in the blood. Milk is a type of animal protein that according to the American Journal of Clinical nutrition, increases acid concentration in the blood. In order to neutralize this acid your body must use calcium. To obtain this needed calcium it is pulled from your bones for use. Over time, if this process continues, the risk for osteoporosis increases.
Third, as milk protein consumption continues, according to the American Journal of Epidemiology, attempts by your body to metabolize the protein causes an increased urinary output of calcium which further depletes calcium in your body. Finally, and most basic, cow’s milk was meant for baby cows just as your mother’s milk was meant for a baby you, no wonder it does so many weird things to us when we try to digest it.
So in summary, milk is linked to an increased risk for osteoporosis because it is hard (almost impossible) to digest, increases acid concentration in blood which causes your body to pull calcium from your bones, and increases urinary calcium output. Before I go I want to leave you with a fun (not fun) fact about osteoporosis and dairy. The United States, England, and Sweden have the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. Not coincidentally, those three countries also consume the most milk in the world.