Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Milk and Dairy
For reliable dietary advice, most nutritionists agree, look to the food pyramid. But when it comes to advice about milk and dairy, the question is: Which pyramid?
The official food pyramid comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It incorporates the recommendations of top ranking nutrition scientists from around the country.  But other groups, disagreeing with some aspects of the USDA’s recommendations, have constructed alternative pyramids. One of the most influential is the food pyramid created by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.  And one of the big differences between its advice and the USDA’s relates to milk and dairy products.
In 2005, the USDA’s dietary guidelines increased the recommended servings of milk from two to three cups a day. The latest guidelines, released in 2010, repeat that advice. They specifically urge Americans to get more fat-free or low-fat milk and related dairy products.
According to Harvard’s food pyramid, on the other hand, milk isn’t an essential part of a healthy diet -- and may pose risks
Indeed, countries in which almost no milk is consumed, such as many Asian countries, have low rates of fractures, he points out.
It’s true, he acknowledged, that milk is a good source of potassium. But the levels used for the USDA recommendations are much higher than they need to be to prevent hypertension, according to Willett.  “We’re much better off advising people to consume less salt,” he says.
As beverages go, milk is relatively high in calories. One cup of 2% milk has 138 calories, for instance. Drinking three cups a day adds 366 calories to the diet -- a lot for anyone watching their weight.
But Willett’s chief worry is that drinking too much milk may pose dangers. “By now there’s quite a body of data showing a higher risk of fatal prostate cancer associated with milk,” he tells WebMD. “And though the evidence is somewhat mixed, we’ve still seen a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer associated with drinking three or more servings of milk.”

What do you think? Is milk good for you? Do you think the food pyramid is correct? 


  1. I think that the reason for less dairy needed is b/c people are getting their nurients in other ways. I dont drink milk yet I'm perfectly fine b/c I am able to consume other foods that supply me w/ what I need. Milk obviously isnt totally good if it causes prostate cancer.

  2. Even though the site says that milk is good for you, I still won't drink it . To me milk does taste bad and I can find many ways to get nutrients to my body, for example I eat pudding, cheese and yogurt. These dairy products provide the calcium to build bones and healthy body.

  3. I think, just like the article said, that milk is not necessarily bad for you but that you do not need milk in order to be healthy. There are many different options on how to get your necessary nutrients and it just depends on the person's preference. Drinking milk does not cause diseases, it may just increase a chance of getting one and that is only if a person is drinking multiple servings a day. I personally drink one serving of milk a day to get some nutrients that I need but I also get nutrients from other food sources. Overall, I think it just depends on the person and their food preference.

  4. I believe that people should consume less milk in general. Despite common conceptions, the article shows that it is very possible that milk could be unhealthy when consumed in certain (common) quantities. I also find that recent studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health to be much more reliable than an older, possibly outdated food pyramid.

  5. I hate to say this but people should eat/drink less dairy. I think people need to know about this because ever since I was little i thought milk was good. I was told that it would make me big and strong... so in a way it worked.

  6. I had heard that milk wasn't really essential for humans past a young age, however I didn't know that it could be bad for you when consumed 3 times a day. I rarely drink it because I don't need it. Is it wrong that commercials encourage drinking milk?

  7. I agree with Erica that this article is not saying that everyone should quit drinking milk completely, but instead of milk there are so many healthier (eg. with less calories) alternatives that we can choose when it comes to consuming vitamins and other nutrients. Milk is not bad, but according to the article drinking more milk shows a connection to higher risk of cancer. Even if it cannot be proven certain yet, and because I personally prefer non-dairy milk, I would not risk it anyway.

  8. i think that the consumption of milk is a personal preference where you might be a milk lover and drink it multiple times a day or you could never drink it at all. there are many other ways to get the same nutrients through other dairy products if you decide milk is not your thing. ultimately i don think it matters if or how much milk you drink as long as you regulate your total dairy intake to prevent from negative effects.