Young People Get Osteoporosis Too 

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Got milk? If so, you're probably not drinking enough of it.  For maximum bone-building, adults should get between 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day.  But studies show that most Americans barely get half of what they need.

The food that delivers the biggest calcium punch, not surprisingly, is milk.  Milk and other dairy products are loaded with this vital mineral.  Milk is also fortified with vitamin D, which the body needs in order to process calcium.  Three cups daily of low fat or nonfat milk, as part of an otherwise healthy diet, will probably bring your intake to the recommended minimum.  If that sounds like a lot of milk swallow, add chocolate or strawberry flavoring to make it tastier.  Blend fruit smoothies using low fat milk or yogurt.  Eat low fat yogurt and cheese.  Or mix powdered milk into your soups.  Even people on weight-reduction diets can afford to increase their dairy intake of nonfat dairy products.

If you are lactose intolerant, you can buy lactose-reduced milk.  This has the same amount of calcium as regular milk, and some types are fortified with extra calcium.  You can also get tablets of lactase enzyme over the counter, the substance normally present in the digestive tract, breaks down lactose just before you eat dairy.

If you're a vegan or otherwise eat no dairy at all, you need to eat large portions of non-dairy sources of calcium to reach the minimum.  Veggies that are "high" in calcium don't have nearly the amounts that dairy foods do.  Tofu is often touted as a good source of calcium, but this it only true if it's prepared using calcium-rich ingredients.  Read your food labels carefully for calcium content and bear in mind that you need to eat greater amounts of some foods than your milk-drinking friends.

For more information, see the National Dairy Council Web site at

Congratulations to the National Fluid Milk Processors Promotion Board for a job well done on their "Got Milk?" ad campaign.  I think the promotions serve as an excellent tool to educate individuals of all ages, especially the younger population of the importance of osteoporosis prevention.

The younger population is highly-influenced by their favorite stars.  They look upon them as role models.  And when they see them in the "Got Milk?" promotions they take interest in what is being said and they get a very important message from it.  And that message is  now is the time to take steps to prevent osteoporosis, it is never too early or too late.

I have to say that my own personal favorite "Got Milk?" ad is the one with my favorite musical group, the amazing and talented Backstreet Boys.   

American Council On Science And Health Report Underlines Nutritional Value, Safety of Milk

Milk and dairy products -- those standbys of the American diet -- have come under attack over the last decade. Charges that these products are generally unhealthful and cause various diseases are typically without merit.

A new report by the American Council on Science and Health presents a scientific, up-to-date portrait of the value of milk and foods made from it.

Except in cases of milk allergy (an uncommon problem), cows' milk and its products are acceptable, nutritious foods for persons one year of age and older. Milk and dairy products are good sources of high-quality protein and several vitamins, and they are the best food source of the mineral calcium, a nutrient often not plentiful enough in the American diet. It is difficult to obtain an adequate supply of calcium from non-dairy sources, and it requires heavy reliance on foods not favored by most Americans.

It is not necessary to eliminate dairy products from the diet to reduce dietary fat intake or to solve the problem of lactose intolerance. Individuals who want to limit their fat intake can choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Those who need to limit their lactose intake should select hard cheeses (which are naturally low in lactose), yogurt (which is usually well tolerated), or lactose-reduced milk. Consuming small quantities of milk may help to increase tolerance of lactose.

The fortification of milk with vitamin D has played an important role in the near-elimination of the dietary deficiency disease rickets in the United States. Adequate intake of vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium and the prevention of osteoporosis. Valid concerns have been raised in the past about several reports that milk sold in a specific locality in the contained excessive amounts of this vitamin due to careless dosing; however, improved monitoring measures are now in place.

Cows' milk and its products are healthful, exceptionally nutritious foods that play an important role in the American diet. They should not be eliminated from government guidelines or programs.

New JAMA Study Shows Milk, Cheese and Yogurt May Help Prevent
Obesity, Type-2 Diabetes and Heart Disease


ROSEMONT, IL., April 23, 2002 – A new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that young adults who consume more dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, may be less likely to become obese and develop the insulin resistance syndrome (IRS), a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These findings are consistent with a growing body of research that demonstrates dairy’s role in reducing the risk of obesity and other chronic diseases.

The multi-center prospective study examined the correlation between dairy intake and IRS, a condition many Americans don’t know much about, but which may affect about one in four adults. IRS, also known as the metabolic syndrome or syndrome X, occurs when the body’s cells are resistant to the insulin produced by the pancreas – which means blood sugar is not properly controlled and the body may compensate by trying to produce even more insulin. In addition to abnormal blood sugar control, characteristics of IRS include obesity, high blood pressure and abnormal blood lipids.

The researchers looked at the eating patterns of 3,157 African American and Caucasian young adults, both male and female over a 10-year period. Two comprehensive food intake reports were averaged – one taken at the start of the study and one taken seven years later – to determine participants’ habitual intake of dairy products and other foods.

The results showed that overweight individuals, regardless of race or sex, who consumed more dairy products had a lower risk of developing IRS. While overweight individuals typically consumed fewer dairy products than their normal-weight counterparts, those who consumed the most dairy products had a 71 percent lower incidence of IRS than those who consumed the fewest dairy products. All types of dairy foods, both reduced and full-fat versions, provided the benefit. In addition, those who consumed more dairy foods were more likely to have healthier eating habits overall with higher intakes of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lower intakes of sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

Nutrient Package May Play a Role
While the researchers were unable to explain how dairy foods impact IRS, they point to several previous studies linking dairy foods and dairy food components such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium to reduced risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, they refer to the growing body of research showing that dairy food consumption plays an important role in body weight regulation. The researchers say that the decrease in milk and dairy product consumption over the past few decades, accompanied by an increase of soda consumption and snacking among children and teens, may play an important role in the current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as in the increase in heart disease rates.

The DASH studies (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) funded by the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, demonstrate that a dietary pattern that includes at least three servings of lowfat dairy foods and 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables in the diet provides heart-healthy benefits including reduced blood pressure and blood lipid levels.

“We’ve known for some time that adding more dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis and possibly even colon cancer,” said Deanna Rose, a registered dietitian for the National Dairy Council. “Now we can add to that list the important role dairy foods may play in helping control weight and reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Rose offers the following tips to help consumers incorporate more milk and dairy foods into the diet.
  • Fruit for Thought – Try one of the new milk drinks – they come in fun flavors like banana, strawberry or even peanut butter!
  • Cheese Please – Wake up your favorite vegetable or baked potato by topping it with shredded cheese.
  • Snack Right – Mix lowfat or fat free yogurt, fruit and lowfat granola for a crunchy treat.
  • Java Junkie – If you’re a java junkie, make sure to lap up a latte instead of a regular old black coffee.

    Source: Pereira, M.A. et al. Dairy Consumption, Obesity, and the Insulin Resistance Syndrome in Young Adults. JAMA 2002; 287: 2081-2089.



    Health professional organizations and government agencies recognize the nutritional and health benefits of milk and other dairy foods. USDA's Food Guide Pyramid recommends two to three servings/day of Milk Group foods for everyone two years of age and over. Despite overwhelming support for dairy foods, myths linking milk/dairy intake to an array of possible health problems arise. Some special interest groups with political or ideological agendas promote these myths in an effort to discourage consumption of animal products. Myths regarding dairy foods not only are unfounded but, if acted upon, can also jeopardize health. This Digest identifies some current myths related to dairy foods and reviews the scientific facts dispelling these myths.

    The myth that minority groups such as African Americans should avoid milk and other dairy products because of lactose intolerance is not supported by scientific evidence. Lactose maldigestion (i.e., low levels of the intestinal enzyme lactase necessary to digest lactose or milk's sugar) is higher among some minority groups such as African Americans than Caucasians. However, studies demonstrate that lactose maldigesters can consume the recommended number of Milk Group servings by using a few simple dietary strategies (e.g., consuming milk with meals, yogurt with active cultures, and aged cheeses). Avoiding or limiting dairy foods, the major source of calcium, is particularly serious for minorities such as African Americans who are already at a disproportionately high risk of calcium-related chronic diseases such as hypertension, stroke, and colon cancer. New research indicates that risk of osteoporosis among African Americans is higher than previously assumed.

    Likewise, the myth that intake of dairy products increases the risk of heart disease is unfounded. On the contrary, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan including low fat dairy products may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by its beneficial effect on blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood homocysteine levels. Findings from epidemiological studies demonstrate that intake of dairy foods or dairy food nutrients (e.g., calcium, potassium, magnesium) is inversely associated with stroke.

    There is no persuasive evidence to support the myth that consumption of milk and other dairy products causes cancer. On the contrary, intake of dairy foods may reduce the risk of some cancers, notably colon cancer. Moreover, several dairy food components such as vitamin D, calcium, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and sphingolipids may potentially protect against cancer.

    Also unsupported by scientific evidence are claims that early exposure to cow's milk increases the risk of Type 1 diabetes; that calcium-rich foods such as milk should be avoided to reduce kidney stones; and that milk causes mucus production in the throat. Although some infants (2% to 7%), particularly if genetically predisposed or fed cow's milk before one year of age, may develop cow's milk allergy, this condition usually disappears by two to three years of age and is rare in adults.

    Myths related to dairy foods raise unfounded health concerns about these foods. Conversely, a justifiable health concern is the low intake of milk and dairy products in the United States. Numerous studies support dairy's beneficial role in health and disease prevention.

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