Health & Wellness

Dairy Products Do Not Have Equal Benefits for the Bones

A study published in the Feb. 1 issue of Archives of Osteoporosis showed not all dairy products have the same nutritional benefits for bone health.

According to the researchers at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School (HMS), while milk and yogurt are associated with higher bone mineral density in the hip, these dairy foods do not have the same effect in the spine. Cream, on the other hand, may be associated with lower bone mineral density overall, the ScienceDaily reports.

“Dairy foods provide several important nutrients that are beneficial for bone health,” says lead author Shivani Sahni, Ph.D., Musculoskeletal Research Team, IFAR. “However, cream and its products such as ice cream have lower levels of these nutrients and have higher levels of fat and sugar. In this study, 2.5 — 3 servings of milk and yogurt intake per day were associated with better bone density.”

The researchers’ findings were based on data collected from a food frequency questionnaire completed by 3,212 participants from the Framingham Offspring study. The study suggests choosing low-fat milk or yogurt over cream can increase intake of protein, calcium and vitamin D while limiting intake of saturated fats.

Sahni added that more research is needed to examine the nutritional benefits of cheese in promoting bone strength because some cheeses may have high fat and sodium content. Researchers should also look into whether “individual dairy foods have a significant impact in reducing fractures.”

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