Dairy: We need to rethink recommendations

Did you know that Australians are one of the fattest nations in the world?

Did you know that sugary drinks are the number one source of sugar consumed by Australians?

You did?

Did you also know that the SECOND greatest source of total sugar intake is DAIRY?

That’s yoghurt, coffee, tea, flavoured milk and icecream just to name a few. A small tub of yoghurt can contain up to 6 teaspoons of sugar!

But wait!

If we avoid dairy, because it gives one in 6 of us cramps, bloating or wind… AND it’s the second highest source of sugar intake.

How will we ever protect our bones?

CSIRO media relations officer Ms Pamela Tyers reports that

“Dairy foods are important for all of us, but especially for women owing to the calcium content, and foods from the dairy and alternatives group are important throughout life to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.”

And yet the idea that dairy consumption is linked with bone health has been totally disproven by a multitude of studies (research listed below) including studies that looked at the whole database of research.

Here’s a few excerpts from this research…

“No significant relationship was observed by age for low milk intake and hip fracture risk” Kanis et al


“Observational studies failed to show any association between dietary Ca intake and risk of hip fracture” Xu et al


“These data do not support the hypothesis that higher consumption of milk or other food sources of calcium by adult women protects against hip or forearm fractures.” Feskanich et al

So, it would seem that there is no relationship between how much diary you eat and your bone health.

However there is a link with higher intakes of dairy and higher intakes of sugar. Which we know can lead to obesity and diabetes.

The research paper which provoked this media release was released by Public Health Nutrition which investigated the rates of dairy and wheat avoidance. Citing that…

“Avoiding foods to alleviate adverse symptoms should be weighed against the consequences of eliminating dietary factors and their related nutrient profiles. In the case of dairy foods, those consequences could be significant for individuals and, given the apparent scale of the avoidance behaviour, for society in the long term.”

And yet I fail to see the evidence for adverse consequences to the individual since we now know that reducing your dairy intake doesn’t increase fracture rates.

Rather we’re seeing beneficial consequences!

Reduction of dairy consumption can reduce your total intake of sugar – that’s a good thing. For you body and your bones!

So, my recommendation is this:

Dairy can be part of a balanced diet, but ensure that if you’re going to eat it. Eat the good stuff: But whole organic milk, cheese and yoghurt from your local farmer.

But if you feel that they make you bloat, cramp or give you wind, it’s best that you avoid dairy altogether. And if your symptoms persist please see your health professional.

On a personal note we stopped buying milk about twelve years ago and only eat a very small amount of cheese, yogurt and ice cream. There are other issues with dairy that we might leave to another discussion for another day.

After all… we aren’t baby cows 🙂




Food avoidance in an Australian adult population sample: the case of dairy products Yantcheva et al, Public Health Nutrition: 19(9), 1616–1623.

It is important to note that this research was funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation which states clearly on it’s website that their greatest stakeholder is the Australian grain grower and the Australian government. They also failed to provide evidence that decreased dairy intake is associated with increase fracture rates.

Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Feskanich et al, American Journal of Public Health. 1997 June; 87(6): 992–997.

Does dietary calcium have a protective effect on bone fractures in women? A meta-analysis of observational studies. Xu et al, British Journal of Nutrition. 2004 Apr; 91(4):625-34.

A meta-analysis of milk intake and fracture risk: low utility for case finding. Kanis et al, Osteoporosis International. 2005 Jul;16(7):799-804.

Calcium, Dairy Products, and Bone Health in Children and Young Adults: A Reevaluation of the Evidence. Lanou et al, Pediatrics. March 2005, vol.115/3.

Milk intake, height and body mass index in preschool children. DeBoer et al, Archives in Disease of Childhood. 2015; 100:460-465.

Author: TammyS