Milk may lead to a higher mortality rate among women, as well as bone fractures, according to a new study that marks the latest bad report for the dairy product.
Researchers examined medical records of over 100,000 men and women from around Sweden. The subjects where then followed for up to 23 years. The team found no evidence that consumption of milk helped reduce the number of bone fractures. Women who drank larger quantities of the drink were shown to have a higher rate of the injuries than those who consumed less. Subjects examined in the study who consumed the USDA-recommended three glasses a day suffered fractures 16 percent more often than others. Hip fractures in these women were 60 percent more likely than those who consumed less than one glass of milk each day.
Mortality rates among woman who drank three or more glasses a day of milk also rose. Cardiovascular disease increased 90 percent, while deaths from cancer climbed 44 percent.
Men in the study were shown to experience cardiovascular disease 16 percent more often than males who consumed little milk. This likely accounted for a ten percent increase in mortality among men who regularly drank the beverage.
Fermented dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt and sour cream, seemed to protect female consumers from bone structure, according to the study. However, just as men were immune to some health risks of liquid milk, they were also largely unaffected by positive benefits of fermented dairy products.
Lactose is found in large quantities in unrefined milk, but is low in cheeses, yogurt, and similar consumables. This difference could account for the difference in the effects seen between milk and other diary products, researchers speculate.
D-galactose is a monosaccharide sugar produced by the human body during consumption of lactose. This chemical has been shown to lead to a variety of conditions including oxidative stress in bones, as well as decreased immune response and neurodegeneration. Researchers looking to mimic the effects of aging in mice often inject the animals with the sugar.
Harvard University researchers have developed Healthy Eating Plate, their own nutrition guide to compete with MyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These recommendations do not list milk as a part of a healthy diet.
"MyPlate recommends dairy at every meal, even though there is little if any evidence that high dairy intakes protect against osteoporosis, and there is considerable evidence that too-high intakes can be harmful," Healthy Eating Plate guidelines recommend.
Study of the effects of milk on mortality rates and incidence of bone fractures was detailed in the journal BMJ.