Milk, Does a Body Bad?

This June 9, 2005 suggestive headline comes from ABC News, and is one of a flurry of articles based on a new study that suggests that the more milk that kids drink, the fatter they grow. The study was performed by a team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University in Boston and, published in the June 2005 issue of the journal, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The study involved a survey of more than 12,000 children aged 9 to 14. In the study researchers found that those boys and girls who drank more than three servings of milk a day were 25 percent more likely to become overweight than those who drank two to three servings a day.

Catherine Berkey, who led the study noted, “Contrary to our hypotheses, dietary calcium and skim and 1 percent milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not.” She concluded, “It could be that the youngsters drink lower-fat milk more freely. Thus, it may not be milk itself but the calories in milk that are to blame. The take-home message is that children should not be drinking milk as a means of losing weight or trying to control weight.”

Helaine Rockett, research nutritionist and one of the lead authors of the study stated, “We are saying that if a child has a weight problem, their first beverage choice should be water.” She also noted, “Milk has calories and there’s an advertisement out there that says if you drink milk you will lose weight. But if you eat or drink too much of anything you will gain weight.”

Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health, who also worked on the study said, “The basic beverage should be water,” Willett added. “We know that in many parts of the world, kids don’t drink any milk at all and they end up with healthy bones.”