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Higher consumption of milk may increase mortality risk: Swedish researchers

DBR Staff Writer Published 30 October 2014

Swedish researchers have found that high consumption of milk may cause early death and does not prevent bone fractures.


According to the research study published by the British Medical Journal, the high levels of lactose and galactose in milk have been found to increase oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in animal studies.

The researchers, however, said that the study can show an association between milk consumption and impacts on health but cannot prove cause and effect.

Research team led by Karl Michaëlsson said: "Our results may question the validity of recommendations to consume high amounts of milk to prevent fragility fractures.

"The results should, however, be interpreted cautiously given the observational design of our study. The findings merit independent replication before they can be used for dietary recommendations."

As part of the research, 61,433 women aged 39-74 years in 1987-1990 and 45,339 men aged 45-79 years in 1997, in Sweden completed food frequency questionnaires for 96 common foods including milk, yoghurt and cheese.

The Dairy Council in the UK has warned people over findings of the research study.

Commenting on the study, The Dairy Council Nutrition director Anne Mullen said: "On one hand the study suggests an association between milk consumption and mortality and fracture, yet an opposite trend with cheese and fermented milk consumption. Many other studies contradict the findings of this study with regard to milk.

"A similarly sized cohort study from Japan, published just this month, showed that drinking milk was associated with lower all-cause mortality in men and women. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses have shown no association between milk and dairy products and all-cause mortality.

"The nutritional benefits of milk and dairy products, including a range of vitamins and minerals including calcium and iodine are well documented."

Image: High consumption of milk may cause early death, says Swedish researchers. Photo: courtesy of SOMMAI / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.