Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hot Topics-Drink Your Milk!

In a legitimate study (96,000 participants, men and women over age 50, followed for at least 22 years) from Harvard Med School and Brigham & Women's Hospital, milk consumption during teen years was not linked to either less risk or greater risk of hip fracture later in life.

Based on biannual questionnaires from ages 13 to 18 about diet, milk consumption, smoking, meds, physical activity, weight  and  health history, researchers looked for clues to determine later risk of bone fracture.
Controlling for known risk factors for hip fracture and milk consumption, researchers found no link between teen milk consumption and risk in women.  In men, there was a slight increase in risk with more milk consumption, but this association declined when adjusted for height.

So, I still talk to my teen children and students about the importance of calcium consumption and how milk is the perfect nutrient package of protein, carbs and vitamins and minerals. Milk is equally valuable for the unhealthy beverages it displaces from the diet.  However, this study just goes to show how complex is the link between general dietary advice and specific outcomes.

We try to decipher research and pass along the best tidbits of advice, but nutrition is just as much as art as a science.  To me, art comes in to the picture when we talk about the taste, the texture, the presentation, the flavor, the freshness and the enjoyment of food.  I think these may be as important to healthfulness of food as the nutrients and micronutrients they contain.
(JAMA Pediatrics, November 2013)

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