Environmentalists go back and forth about the necessity of milk in a healthy diet. Some are advocates of organic milk, some raw milk, and some are vegans that shun milk entirely. It’s a balance of finding the healthiest, lowest impact means of getting the essential nutrients necessary for optimal health.
But a recent study has many questioning whether drinking milk on a regular basis may have harsh implications for the health of the prostate later in life. The study, published in this month’s addition of the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those that drank milk daily were more likely to die of prostate cancer later in life.
The study followed 2,200 men born between 1903 and 1937.
Among 463 men who recalled drinking milk less than once a day in their teens, one percent developed advanced prostate cancer or died of the disease over a quarter century of follow-up.
That figure was three percent among the more than 1,800 men who said they drank milk at least daily in adolescence.
The study found a connection between high milk intake during teen years and the health of the prostate gland. While the link could not be explained through education, check-ups, and diet, questions certainly remain.
From these data alone we cannot recommend that teenage boys should chance their dietary habits," [Johanna Torfadottir, a nutrition scientist and a graduate student at the University of Iceland] said. "We are only looking at the risk of one disease, prostate cancer, and obviously risks of other conditions, e.g. bone health, need to be considered."
While the research is just emerging, it creates more questions for milk consumption. Not to mention the environmental implications. Cows produce 120 pounds of waste each day, comparable to two dozen people, along with 18 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide.
Even if going vegan entirely isn’t realistic for you, limiting dairy to small portions of high quality local products is certainly a worthwhile feat especially in the face of emerging heath benefits.