Not eating dairy puts young adults’ health at risk

Millions of young adults are putting their health at risk by cutting dairy from their diets, claims the National Osteoporosis Society

Up to 3M young adults are putting their future health at risk by cutting dairy from their diet, warned The National Osteoporosis Society (NOS), as the number of children drinking milk in schools falls.

NOS found that 70% of 18–35 year-olds are currently – or have been – on a diet, with 20% of them cutting or significantly reducing the number of dairy products they consumed.

The most common trend for under 25s was ‘clean eating’ – which can see dieters remove whole food groups from their diets – sparked by a growing number of diet and nutrition bloggers on social media, claimed NOS.

Dairy products contain a high source of calcium and vitamin D, which is crucial for building healthy bones – especially in early adulthood – said the organisation.

Professor Susan Lanham-New, clinical advisor to the National Osteoporosis Society, said: “Diet in early adulthood is so important because by the time we get into our late twenties it is too late to reverse the damage caused by poor diet and nutrient deficiencies and the opportunity to build strong bones has passed.”

‘Too late to reverse the damage’

A vitamin D deficiency can lead to the condition osteoporosis, where bones become fragile and break easily.

“Without urgent action being taken to encourage young adults to incorporate all food groups into their diets and avoid particular ‘clean eating’ regimes, we are facing a future where broken bones will become just the ‘norm’,” added Lanham-New.

Cow’s milk contains one of the highest sources of calcium, but not enough children are drinking it, claimed food packaging firm Tetra Pak.

Almost a third (35%) of 6–8 year-olds and 65% of 9–11 year-olds are not drinking milk at school despite poor oral health, high child obesity levels and poor hydration, according to Tetra Pak’s Making More of Milk report.

The report found that over a quarter of parents (28%) said the main reason their children were not drinking milk in school was because they were unaware their children were eligible for free or subsided milk.

‘Key part of our children’s daily diet’

Tetra Pak north west Europe md Stefan Fageräng said: “Children need a healthy balanced diet and as milk is a rich source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and iodine, it is – and should continue to be – a key part of our children’s daily diet for a healthier future.

“School milk needs to be safeguarded and policy best practice shared across different parts of the UK to encourage greater uptake.”

Meanwhile, the reputation of dairy products have been damaged by news that was biased, misrepresented facts or had been completely fabricated, according to The Dairy council.

Communities and content manager Gary Cosby said: “It’s even more crucial in this era of fake news and misinformation that the science and evidence-­base on dairy is communicated through The Dairy Council’s social media outlets.

“The public are being overwhelmed with stories based on the opinion of non­-experts and we must ensure that reliable and trustworthy information is out there about dairy, health and nutrition.”


Vitamin D: an opportunity for food manufacturers

NOS clinical director Fizz Thompson said vitamin D presented itself as a marketing opportunity for food and drink manufacturers.

“Initiatives to do more to raise awareness about the foods high in vitamin D would be welcome, as would a push to improve food labelling to highlight vitamin D levels to help people achieve their daily recommended nutrient intake,” she said.

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Comments (3)

Geoff Southam - 20 Apr 2017 | 05:22

Dairy products as food?>???

At the tender age of 12 months our son was constantluy sick with colds and with a runny nose being his constant companion he had convulsions and spent time in the local hospital and then to a city hospital for further testing to find out what was wrong with him only to be sent home again with the doctors saying their was nothing wrong with him. Finally at the age of 18 months it was suggested we take him of dairy products which we were dubious about but we were desperate so decided to give it a try the change in him was amazing after only 10 days he was a totally different little boy no longer the snuffly sickly child but a happy lively healthy boy . I dont dont think he would have survived if we had not changed our eating habits and he is now a tall strong 40 year old with strong bones and perfect teeth never any broken bones even with him being a very active sportsman and he is now bring his childre up the same way Makes you think doesn,t it when companies come out with articles like this one me thinks its all to do with their bottom line and not the health of the general population

20-Apr-2017 at 05:22 GMT

Larsen James - 19 Apr 2017 | 07:19

20+ nutrients

The most comprehensive research re bones is the NASA work. Bones are a protein-mineral matrix that is filled with fat and stem cells that make blood. They get bigger/stronger with impact/weight bearing exercise. In the recent AF study, they found 25% of women and 9% of men arrived for training iron anemic. Treating the anemia and issuing a multi to the women decreased injuries and attrition by 50%. Milk consumption has dropped dramatically (WOTN). In fact, milk can be hard to find in military mess halls. Even if it was there, today's youth would still go for the colas. Therefore you really need a better milk beverage. In the Lappe study of 4,000 women in Army BCT, roughly 20+% had poor bone status largely due to a Hx of poor nutrition, poor exercise, smoking (interferes with bone remodeling), amenorrhea, etc. So, true, dairy products are an important source of calcium. Lappe in the Navy BCT study gave recruits 2,000 mg of calcium and 800IU of D which reduced stress fractures by 20%. The 2,000 mg dose was based on Klesges research of sweat losses in athletes. NOS needs to develop a comprehensive and accurate bone health model in order to be an ethical organization.

19-Apr-2017 at 19:19 GMT

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