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Milk: Does it do a body good or bad?

March 5, 1997

Medical researchers say milk can eventually contribute to osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer

James Phillips / The Baylor Lariat

Nutritionists and medical researchers are discovering that too much milk can lead to problems, but say that it is still the best form of calcium.

By Karen Taft

Lariat Reporter

Milk. It does a body good--or does it?

Members of medical research and nutritional communities have claimed recently that milk is not necessary, and eventually could contribute to osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also claims that the food guide pyramid recommends too much consumption of dairy products.

However, T. Colin Cambell, Jacob Schruman professor of nutritional biochemistry and endowed chair at Cornell University, said that studies comparing the diets of different countries reveal that the higher the dairy intake, the higher the rates of osteoporosis.

The significance of milk in our diet continues to be debated among dietitians, physicians and other nutrition experts.

'There is nothing in research to support that [milk is a poor source of calcium],' Dr. Janelle Walter, associate professor of nutrition, said. 'Milk is the best form of calcium because it is easiest to absorb.'

Walter also pointed out that adults need two glasses of milk a day to reach their daily calcium needs. To receive that amount of calcium from another source, a person would have to eat 10 spears of broccoli or three cans of sardines.

'If you leave calcium out, you will harm your diet,' said a dietitian from Scott and White Clinic who asked not to be identified. 'Doctors will prescribe calcium to treat osteoporosis.'

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