12 January - 20 June 2016

Not all dairy products are equally beneficial for bone health

06 Feb 13

A study published in the journal Archives of Osteoporosis by researchers at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew Senior Life, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, has discovered that not all dairy products are beneficial in promoting bone strength. Sahni et al came to these conclusions after analysing data from 3212 participants, with an average age of 55 years, involved in the Framingham Offspring Study.  The scientists examined the association of milk, yoghurt, cheese, cream, most dairy (total dairy without creams) and fluid dairy (milk and yoghurt) with bone mineral density over 12 years follow up.  The participants completed food frequency questionnaires and were followed for hip fractures during the study.   Sahni et al found that those who consumed between two and a half to three 8 oz servings of milk and yoghurt a day had higher bone density in the hip but not the spine.  However cream consumption was association with a lower overall bone mineral density.  Cheese and cream intake were not associated with bone mineral density.  The study reports that nutrient composition varies among dairy foods, stating that choosing low fat milk or yogurt over cream can increase intake of protein, calcium and vitamin D while limiting intake of saturated fats.  Cream and ice cream have lower levels of these nutrients and have higher levels of fat and sugar. They note that more research is needed to examine the role of cheese intake (some of which can be high in fat and sodium) and if individual dairy foods have a significant impact in reducing fractures.

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