NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 5, 2005

Researchers who claim to have proof that milk doesn't really do a body good might just have a hidden agenda, says Western Standard. The magazine's pronouncement follows a Pediatrics study that claims milk may be responsible for kids being overweight and does not aid in bone health.

So how did milk go from hero to villain status overnight? For starters, nutritionist Amy Joy Lanou and co-author Neal Barnard are members of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a partner of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Despite its name, only five percent of PCRM's membership is made up of actual physicians.

Furthermore, there are many flaws in PCRM's analysis, says Western Standard.

  • Research has shown that there is a significant calcium deficit among children and adolescents.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 90 percent and 70 percent of teenage girls and boys, respectively, do not receive enough calcium during their childhood when half of all bone mass is developed and about 15 percent of adult height is added.
  • Additionally, 15 randomized controlled trials and calcium balance studies found that calcium-supplemented subjects showed a greater bone gain than non-supplemented subjects.


  • A 2003 study found that boys who consume three servings of milk a day had significantly greater increases in bone-mineral density than juice drinkers. A secondary study found that children who avoid milk had lower bone-mineral density and were prone to fracture.
  • A 2002 study showed that women who had low milk intake during their childhood had less bone mass and were more at risk for fractures as adults.
  • Finally, in a review of 138 studies in 2000, it was concluded that calcium increases peak bone mass and slows the development of age-related bone loss.

Source: John Luik, "Got facts? Researchers who claim to have proof that milk doesn't really do a body good, might just have a hidden agenda," Western Standard, May 30, 2005; based upon: Amy Joy Lanou et al., "Calcium, Diary Products, and Bone Health in Children and Young Adults: A Reevaluation of the Evidence," Pediatrics, Vol. 115, No. 3, March 2005.

For Pediatrics abstract:


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