11 thoughts on “Preventing osteoporosis without milk”

  1. dairy _causes_ osteoperosis.

    i read a research article somewhere on how vegan bones are as dense, but stronger than omni bones.

  2. I’d be more inclined to believe that dairy causes osteoporosis if I heard it from someone who wasn’t obviously motivated by AR concerns to get people to stop consuming dairy. But I don’t believe I ever have.

  3. Dr. John McDougall has been writing the same thing for years in his books and I got the impression that he has zero interest in animal rights. He will not even use the word “vegetarian” to refer to the vegan diet regime he recommends.

    Beyond osteoporosis there are non-vegan scientists who don’t have nice things to say about milk. T Colin Campbell of The China Study is one of them.

    Dr. Jane Plant is a scientist who got breast cancer, did some research, cut dairy out of her diet, recovered, and wrote a book about what she learned:


    Dr. Plant has no interest in animal rights, in fact she says she still eats a little bit of meat and VERY occasionally has dairy to fit in with people.

    I wonder sometimes about the PCRM too, but they usually include citations in their fact sheets. People who know how to evaluate studies can look those citations up and make up their own minds.

  4. oh & joanna, the reason dairy causes osteoporosis is that the excessive protein in milk, and the acidic nature of the proteins, decreases the pH of your blood. you body takes basic calcium from your bones to buffer the pH and bring it back to normal. you can get this info from sports coaches, nutritionists, etc- the majority of plant foods and plant proteins are very alkaline (your blood pH is slightly alkaline), so it puts less stress on your body and bones to use that protein, and decreases the chances of osteoporosis.
    animal proteins, esp. dairy, are very acidic (i think parm cheese is one of the worst). wheat and i think some bean are acidic, but not near as much as meat & dairy.

  5. I always thought the thing about milk being acidic was an urban legend from Diet For A New America.

    As always, Google provides

    That site states that milk has a pH of above 6 making it slightly acidic.

    Whether or not that acidity contributes or contributes significantly to bone loss I can’t say as I am not an expert.

    I have to agree with Johanna. I’ve read too much BS in regards to nutrition over the years. I would like either to have the time to trace all of the references myself or have a scientist disinterested in AR comment about the milk < => osteoporosis link.

  6. it’s not just the acidity of the food itself- it’s the acidity it creates while being digested. and the milk acidity => bone loss link is based on human biology (i learned about this in high school- proteins are composed of C,H, O, and N- the N turns into nitrogenous waste, which is acidic, and Ca+ (calcium) is leached from the bones to keep blood pH around 7.4. same is true with soda- very acidic, causes you to take calcium from your bones. it’s just how humans metabolize things, nothing BS or shady about it.

  7. Thanks for directing me to Dr. MacDougall. I haven’t read any of his books, but I poked around on his website and found this:


    Under “False Promise #2: Research Supports Dairy’s Benefits” he states that in a review of 21 studies of dairy and osteoporosis, 57% (or 12) found no benefit, and an additional 14% (or 3) found a harmful effect. That leaves 29% (or 6) that must have found a beneficial effect, but he doesn’t mention that. From what I know about nutrition research, that’s about par for the course: Some studies say one thing, others say the opposite, it’s very hard to get a straight answer on questions like this, and it’s very easy to cherry-pick data to give the answer that you want.

    When I first poked around in the literature, I was surprised to find plenty of studies, not obviously funded by anyone with a conflict of interest, that found a *positive* correlation between protein intake and bone health.

    Dr. MacDougall also talks a lot about studies that show that countries with the highest dairy intake also have the highest fracture rate. But that by itself doesn’t prove anything. The countries with the highest dairy consumption tend to be wealthy countries in the northern latitudes, where people live more sedentary lifestyles and don’t get a lot of weight-bearing exercise or sunlight, both of which would have an effect on bone health.

    The CSPI people once cited a study (I’ll share the link if I can find it) that some dairy products are beneficial for bone health and others are detrimental. I’m more inclined to believe that than anything else.

  8. I was lucky to get into Dr. McDougall’s stuff when I was in college and still had access to the graduate library as well as unlimited free interlibrary loans.

    Many of his older books( not meant for the popular market ) are much more impressive than his later books. I think he is a bit harder on protein and processed soy than he needs to be, but that is just my opinion.

    I like your use of the term “Cherry Picking”. That fits exactly how I feel about some of the veg*n nutrition literature coming out of some veg organizations.

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