Monday, June 15, 2009

When good science leads to bad advice

A study in the July/August issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that that because "peak bone mass" is not achieved until people are in their 30s, it's important for young people to get plenty of calcium, protein and vitamin D.

After detailing this good science, the article then gives bad advice: It says that people in their 20s should drink more milk.

Milk has been found to increase the risk of prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease.

Also: Much of the milk available in US supermarkets is from cows treated with a genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone, which is passed on in the milk (the hormone is banned in Canada and Europe). This hormone raises the risk of colon, prostate and breast cancer. Dairy cows are also typically treated with antibiotics and fed nasty foods treated with pesticides. (Go here to read more about the dangers of milk).

Meanwhile, milk is an inferior source of calcium, vitamin D (which is usually added artificially to the milk) and protein.

One of the best sources of calcium is kale, which is a major ingredient in Spartan Diet recipes. Other sources better than milk include: green leafy vegetables, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, collards, figs, oats, almonds and prunes -- all key Spartan Diet foods.

Better sources of protein include wild game meats, egg whites, grains and legumes, all of which are major parts of the Spartan Diet.

And, of course, the best place to get vitamin D is from the sun.

So, yes, young adults aren't getting enough of the right nutrients for bone growth. But no, milk is not a good choice.