If you grew up in the 50’s to 70’s, chances are you heard the constant refrain of “drink your milk, it’s good for your bones.” Starting in the 1930’s, dairy companies started adding vitamins to milk as well as it began to become a morning breakfast staple. For those of us over 45, milk was always there. Along with Apple Jacks, SugarCrisp and all those other sugary cereals we wouldn’t go near today!
Some new research indicates that milk can also increase the risk of prostate cancer. The new study comes out of Loma Linda University in California. They conducted a long-term study to investigate the links between diet, lifestyle and disease focused on members in the Seventh-day adventist church. And that’s not the only study. Another was done in 2016 by the American Cancer Association.
The advantage with studying this particular group of men is that around 40% of the men in their group follow vegetarian diets with many avoiding dairy products altogether. All men were cancer free when the study started. There have been prior studies on this issue, but they were unable to be conclusive with the connection between dairy and cancers. This study followed a cohort of 28,000 men over an eight year period.
Over the course of the study, 1,254 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed. The study was broken into cohorts where they assessed men who substituted dairy milk with other choices such as almond and oat milk. They also looked at calcium intake from dairy and non-dairy sources such as almonds, cruciferous vegetables, soy, seeds and legumes as well as fortified cereals. Another cohort included men who consumed larger amounts of dairy.
They found that men who consumed less than 8 ounces a day had a 25% higher chance of getting prostate cancer. Non-vegan men had a 60% higher chance of getting prostate cancer. The study accounted for weight and degrees of physical activity as well. Milk consumption carries a risk.
While milk is high in calcium and is fortified with vitamin D, there are other, equally beneficial sources of calcium such as seeds, fortified cereals (without sugar), nuts and vegetables as well as supplements.
Recent research by Harvard University Health has also shown that the claim in the U.S. by dairy groups that milk helps improve bone health has also been debunked. In fact, it can lead to increased risk of hip fractures as we age.
Changing our eating habits as we age can sometimes be a challenge. So when it comes to switching out milk, maybe try some different options, especially if you like a wee bit in your cup of tea or coffee. Oatmeal and almond milk are excellent choices, with oatmeal being the most neutral in terms of flavour. There’s also soy milk. You can get your calcium from supplements and adding more nuts, seeds and cruciferous vegetables to your diet.
Discover More: Check out this informative article on the importance of maintaining a steady weight as we age.