Dairy items are the best sources of calcium, and calcium is the main mineral in bones. For this reason, health authorities suggest taking in dairy products every day. But many individuals wonder whether they really need dairy in their diet. This evidence-based review checks out the science.
Consuming Dairy Doesn’t Make Sense From an Evolutionary Perspective
The idea that adult humans “need” dairy in their diet doesn’t appear to make much sense.
Human beings are the only animal that takes in dairy after weaning and takes in the milk of another types.
Prior to animals were domesticated, milk was likely an uncommon special only scheduled for babies. Yet, it’s unclear to what extent hunter-gatherers looked for the milk of wild animals.
Given that milk consumption was probably unusual among adults throughout most of human evolution, it’s safe to presume that human beings were getting all the calcium they needed from other dietary sources.
Nevertheless, although dairy isn’t required in the human diet, that doesn’t imply it can’t be beneficial. This specifically applies to people who do not get much calcium from other dietary sources.
A Quick Primer on Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a progressive illness in which bones deteriorate, losing mass and minerals gradually.
The name is extremely detailed of the nature of the illness: osteoporosis = porous bones.
It has many different causes and aspects that are completely unassociated to nutrition, such as workout and hormones.
Osteoporosis is far more typical in women than in men, especially after menopause. It significantly increases the danger of bone fractures, which can have an extremely unfavorable impact on lifestyle.
Why Calcium Is Important
Your bones serve a structural function, however they are also your body’s main reservoirs of calcium, which has several necessary functions in the body.
Your body maintains blood levels of calcium within a narrow variety. If you’re not getting calcium from the diet, your body pulls it from your bones to sustain other functions that are more important for instant survival.
Some amount of calcium is constantly excreted in the urine. If your dietary intake doesn’t compensate for what is lost, your bones will lose calcium with time, making them less dense and more likely to break.
The Myth That Protein Reduces Bone Health
In spite of all the calcium that dairy includes, some believe that its high protein content can cause osteoporosis.
The factor is that when protein is absorbed, it increases the acidity of the blood. The body then pulls calcium from the blood to reduce the effects of the acid.
This is the theoretical basis for the acid-alkaline diet, which is based on picking foods that have a net alkaline result and avoiding foods that are “acid forming.”
Nevertheless, there really isn’t much scientific assistance for this theory.
If anything, the high protein material of dairy is a good idea. Studies regularly show that consuming more protein leads to improved bone health.
Not only is dairy rich in protein and calcium, it’s also loaded with phosphorus. Full-fat dairy from grass-fed cows likewise includes some vitamin K2.
Protein, phosphorus and vitamin K2 are all extremely important for bone health.
Studies Show Mixed Results
A few observational studies show that increased dairy consumption has no results on bone health or might even be damaging.
Nevertheless, most of studies reveal a clear association in between high dairy consumption and a minimized danger of osteoporosis.
The reality is that observational studies often provide a mixed bag of results. They are developed to spot associations, however can’t show domino effect.
Fortunately, randomized controlled trials (genuine scientific experiments) can offer us a clearer answer, as explained in the next chapter.
High-Quality Studies Show That Dairy Is Effective
The only method to figure out domino effect in nutrition is to carry out a randomized regulated trial.
This type of study is the “gold requirement” of science.
It involves separating people into various groups. One group gets an intervention (in this case, eats more dairy), while the other group does nothing and continues to consume usually.
Many such studies have actually examined the impacts of dairy and calcium on bone health. The majority of them cause the same conclusion– dairy or calcium supplements are effective.
- Childhood: Dairy and calcium result in increased bone development.
- Adulthood: Dairy decreases the rate of bone loss and causes improved bone density.
- Elderly: Calcium supplements enhance bone density and lowers the danger of fractures.
Dairy has actually consistently led to enhanced bone health in randomized controlled trials in every age group. That’s what counts.
Milk that is strengthened with vitamin D seems to be even more reliable at enhancing bones.
However, beware with calcium supplements. Some studies have associated them with an increased threat of heart attacks.
It’s best to get your calcium from dairy or other foods that contain calcium, such as leafy greens and fish.
The Bottom Line
Bone health is complicated, and there are numerous lifestyle-related factors at play.
Dietary calcium is among the most important. To improve or maintain your bone health, you need to get adequate amounts of calcium from your diet.
In the modern-day diet, dairy offers a big percentage of people’s calcium requirements.
While there are many other calcium-rich foods to choose from, dairy is one of the best sources you can discover.