We are always being told by doctors, nutritionists and the media that drinking milk is good for your bones. That milk is good for bones is perhaps the most commonly accepted piece of nutritional advice. But it's not true. . . .

When Harvard researchers followed over 96,000 people for over 22 years, the data smashed the myth. They looked at how drinking milk between the ages of thirteen and eighteen affected hip fractures in adult life. They found drinking milk had no protective effect at all for girls. What's worse is that they found that each additional glass of milk teenage boys drank in a day was associated with a significant 9% increase in the risk of hip fracture.

The researchers concluded that "Greater milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fractures in older adults."

An earlier long term study of over 77,000 women conducted at Harvard Medical School also found no protective effect on bone fracture for milk (Am J Public Health 1997).

In fact, long term studies have consistently found that milk does not protect against bone fracture, according to Walter Willet, M.D., the chair of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the authors of the current study.

JAMA Pediatr [on line] Nov 18 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.3821

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