By Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD
Have you seen the recent headlines about milk? They’ve been sensational: Unsupported claims that milk could be harmful to your health, and we should re-evaluate decades of credible research on one of the most nutrient-rich drinks you can find.
Ultimately, I’m concerned. I’m concerned about the impact these exaggerated headlines could have on Americans’ food choices, and health outcomes. We need to do all we can to boost our nation’s nutrient intake – not take away foods that provide important nutrients. And, I’m concerned about basing our advice on one single study.
The latest was on a study published in the British Medical Journal. The Swedish researchers linked milk to negative health risks. But this is just one single study – an observational study – and this type of research can only show a potential association and cannot prove cause and effect. In fact, the researchers themselves note these findings should be "interpreted cautiously."
So instead of listening to sensational headlines, I base my recommendations on sound science – and hundreds of studies that support why milk is such a nutritious part of our diets.
What I know about milk, and what I think every milk company, and every consumer should continue to keep in mind:
- It’s the top source of much-needed calcium and vitamin D in our diets
- It’s packed with 9 essential nutrients, including high-quality protein
- Most of us fall short of the recommended amounts
- It’s hard to get the nutrients we need without milk in our diets
My advice? Drink more milk. There's simply no reason to change your diet based on a single research study.
Dr. Keith-Thomas Ayoob is a registered dietitian specializing in child nutrition and health. He has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Early Show and ABC World News Tonight, and is a highly sought after speaker, presenting on topics including childhood obesity and making nutrition and fitness “kid-friendly.” His research has appeared in professional journals including the Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Pediatric Annals, and he contributes expert opinion pieces to ABCNews.com and USAToday.com. Keith is an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where he is a practicing pediatric nutritionist and the director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center.