"Milk builds strong bones" turns out to be another old advertisers' tale
Driving to Charlotte at 5 am recently I heard an interesting discussion on fruits and vegetables being better for your bone vitality than calcium and milk products on the People's Pharmacy. If you don't like listening to podcasts, here's what I took away:
Thirty years of advising people to drink more milk and take calcium supplements: not working. The countries where people drink the most milk and consume milk products have the highest incidence of bone fractures in old age. It's in the Asian countries - where consumption of milk-based products is lowest - that the strongest bones are found.
The author of Bone Vitality was on the show, saying that high protein diets lead to weak bones, because when the amino acids are broken down and enter the bloodstream, they make it more acidic, and calcium is leached from bones to neutralize the blood's ph. (He said acidic fruits don't do that, their acids are dealt with in the stomach.)
He said calcium on its own can't build bones - "if our bones were built of calcium, they would be chalk" - that it takes a combination of more than a dozen nutrients and trace elements to build healthy bones, and they are found in, ta da, vegetables and fruits.
He also said, horribly, that fosamax and some other medicines used to slow bone loss work by messing with our bones' repair system and end up making bones weaker.
He also pointed out: a diet high in vegetables and fruits is also good for lowering blood pressure, weight loss, and heart health; it is in fact better for us in a myriad of other ways.
So Hannah and I have been eating a lot of roasted vegetables since I got here, in honor of this new information, but we sadly ask: "If what our bodies need so badly is vegetables, why are we so fond of chocolate cake?"