Milk May Raise Mortality Risk

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An increase in mortality risk is associated with frequent consumption of milk, according to a 2014 study published in the British Medical Journal. A team of Swedish researchers analyzed the diets of more than 100,000 men and women recruited from 3 counties in Central Sweden and estimated the mortality hazard ratios of all the subjects that participated in this study. At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that individuals who drank milk regularly have a higher risk of dying prematurely from chronic disease-related deaths.

The results of this study have massive implications. The consumption of dairy products is increasing in popularity all over the world. Out of the 816.69 million metric tons of milk produced worldwide in 2015, 94 million metric tons were consumed in the US. About 71 percent of Americans use milk and other dairy products as a major source of protein.

Karl Michaelson, MD, PhD, a professor of medical epidemiology at the Upsala University, Sweden, led the team of researchers. Karl Michaelson and his team suggested that the high concentrations of D-galactose present in milk could be responsible for the positive association between high milk intake and increased mortality risk. Several human and animal studies have shown that high circulating levels of D-galactose induce oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which have been implicated as a causal factor in the development of many chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, D-galactose have been established to cause premature aging and shortening of lifespan in animals.

Milk is the major dietary source of D-galactose. Milk is packed with high amounts of lactose, which is broken down to its components sugars: glucose and galactose. Although cereals, fruits, and vegetables still contain galactose, the concentrations of galactose in these plant foods are too little to trigger oxidative stress and inflammation that promote premature aging, the development of several diseases, and chronic disease-related deaths.

Healthier Alternatives to Dairy Milk

Milk is widely marketed as a nutritious source of calcium and protein to people of all ages. However, milk is packed with unhealthy nutrients, such as cholesterol, saturated fats, and lactose sugar, as well as proteins that promote the excretion of calcium from the body by the kidneys, thereby increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Broccoli, kale, lentils, beans, tofu, and soy milk are better sources of calcium and protein. If fact there are now many plant based milk substitutes which do not have the negative problems associated with dairy milk. Substituting dairy milk and other dairy products with products from whole plant based sources can help to reduce an individual's risk of suffering from many chronic diseases.

Additional Information:

(1) Milk Intake and Risk of Mortality and Fractures in Men and Women: Cohort Studies

(2) US Milk Market: Statistics and Facts

(3) D-Galactose-Induced Brain Ageing Model: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Cognitive Outcomes and Oxidative Stress Indices

(4) List of Vegan Foods With Protein and Calcium

(5) Milk Makes Estrogen Levels Rise

(6) Is Cow Milk Designed for Humans?

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