Special interest food groups

There are many special interest groups in the food market. Think of all the ads and commericials that are blasted on tv and radio. The one I have been seeing recently is orange juice from Florida’s Natural Growers touting the benefits of orange juice. Others include beef, pork, and especially milk. Think about the ads with famous people and their milk mustaches. Many of these ads proclaim the benefits of regular milk consumption. Here’s a study looking at milk’s impact on bone density and risk of fractures later in life.

Here’s the abstract:

Importance Milk consumption during adolescence is recommended to promote peak bone mass and thereby reduce fracture risk in later life. However, its role in hip fracture prevention is not established and high consumption may adversely influence risk by increasing height.

Objectives To determine whether milk consumption during teenage years influences risk of hip fracture in older adults and to investigate the role of attained height in this association.

Design, Setting, and Participants Prospective cohort study over 22 years of follow-up in more than 96 000 white postmenopausal women from the Nurses’ Health Study and men aged 50 years and older from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the United States.

Exposures Frequency of consumption of milk and other foods during ages 13 to 18 years and attained height were reported at baseline. Current diet, weight, smoking, physical activity, medication use, and other risk factors for hip fractures were reported on biennial questionnaires.

Main Outcomes and Measures Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate relative risks (RRs) of first incidence of hip fracture from low-trauma events per glass (8 fl oz or 240 mL) of milk consumed per day during teenage years.

Results During follow-up, 1226 hip fractures were identified in women and 490 in men. After controlling for known risk factors and current milk consumption, each additional glass of milk per day during teenage years was associated with a significant 9% higher risk of hip fracture in men (RR = 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01-1.17). The association was attenuated when height was added to the model (RR = 1.06; 95% CI, 0.98-1.14). Teenage milk consumption was not associated with hip fractures in women (RR = 1.00 per glass per day; 95% CI, 0.95-1.05).

Conclusions and Relevance Greater milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture in older adults. The positive association observed in men was partially mediated through attained height.

Here’s Aaron Carroll’s blog about the study and comments below:

Researchers followed people for 22 years to see if drinking milk as a teenager affected the rate of hip fractures during the study period. What did they find? There were more than 1200 hip fractures in women and almost 500 hip fractures in men in the follow-up period. But it turns out that each additional glass of milk per day as teenagers was associated with a 9% HIGHER risk of hip fractures in men later in life. Drinking more milk had no effect in women.

In other words, regardless of what the ads say, as a teen there’s no protective effect of your “bones getting stronger” in terms of preventing hip fractures later in life by drinking milk. In fact, the evidence shows that it may make it more likely that males will develop hip fractures.

Don’t believe the hype! Fight the milk industrial complex!

RD: Beware the agenda of others. Especially when they want you to buy something to improve (insert topic of your choice). Be a skeptic. Take this article for example. A researcher working for a tabacco company claims smoking makes your brain work better. It’s hard to take his claims seriously (who knows they might be true) because you know who he is working for. We should be just as skeptical of the claims these special interest food groups make. Any catchy phrase could be inserted here…I’ll go with two. Show me the money (who are they working for) and Where’s the beef (where’s the proof)?


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