But new Swedish research suggests that cow's milk does little to strengthen bones and can even double the risk of early death.
The research by the Uppsala University in Sweden was published in the British Medical Journal.
Bare in mind that milk in Sweden is fortified with vitamin A which could have an impact on the findings.
The study tracked 61,000 women and 45,000 men for 23 years. Findings revealed no reduction in broken bones for those who consumed the most milk. But the worst thing is mortality rates among the women drinking three or more glasses of milk a day increased. Cardiovascular disease increased by 90 percent and cancer-related deaths escalated by a whopping 44 percent. Higher milk consumption increases oxidative stress, the biological stress marker known for causing aging, cardiovascular distress, and cancer.
Accordingly, the study’s male participants exhibited cardiovascular disease 16 percent more than men who consumed smaller quantities of milk.
For women it was associated with an increased chance of suffering a fracture. 50% of women will break a bone after the age of 50.
Those who drank three glasses or more a day (680ml) were twice as likely to die early than those who consumed less than one.
Almost three million people in Britain are thought to suffer from osteoporosis, me among them. I took HRT for 30 years before the age of 60, and now take daily calcium with vitamin C, and a weekly tablet of alendronic acid.
Because calcium is needed for bone building, milk should be beneficial. But researchers believe the fat in milk cancels out the positive effects of calcium, triggering inflammation and increasing the risk of heart attacks.
However, low fat dairy products like cheese and yogurt were found to have a beneficial effect, reducing early death and promoting bone health. Why the discrepancy? Lactose. Cheese, yogurt and similar foods have lower amounts of lactose than milk.
I use half-fat milk. Half a cup goes in my morning porridge and I take a dash of milk in my three daily cups of tea. I guess this reduces the risk of excess fat.
I often wonder why our forebears started drinking the milk produced for the animal's offspring. Once a human baby leaves a mother's breast, the adult does not need dairy products to function properly. Our ancient ancestors most likely would have gleaned calcium from other sources.
Spinach, broccoli and various legumes and grains are high in calcium, and people living on a well-balanced, plant-based diet have perfectly fine bones.
Instead of ditching milk altogether, maybe I'll cut down on the amount I drink. What about you?