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Calcium and Milk: What's New?

Growing Healthy Bones

Bone is living tissue that throughout the lifespan, are constantly being broken down and built up. In healthy individuals who get enough calcium and physical activity, bone production exceeds bone destruction up to about age 30. After that, destruction typically exceeds production.

What Is Osteoporosis?

People typically lose bone as they age, despite consuming the recommended intake of calcium necessary to maintain optimal bone health. The loss of bone with aging is the result of several factors, including genetic factors, physical inactivity and lower levels of circulating hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men).

How Can Osteoporosis Be Slowed Down?

Preventing osteoporosis depends on two things: making the strongest, densest bones possible during the first 30 years of life and limiting the amount of bone loss in adulthood.

There are a number of lifestyle factors that can help with the latter:

Getting regular exercise, especially weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise.
Getting adequate vitamin D, whether through diet, exposure to sunshine or supplements.
Consuming enough calcium to reduce the amount the body has to borrow from bone.
Consuming adequate vitamin K, found in green, leafy vegetables.

Some other factors may also help lower the risk of osteoporosis:

Take care with caffeine and cola-drinks. Caffeine tends to promote calcium excretion in urine and cola has high levels of phosphorous, which may alter the dietary balance between calcium and phosphorous and thereby weaken bones.
Get enough protein, but not too much. The body needs protein to build healthy bones but as the body digests protein, it releases acids into the bloodstream, which the body neutralizes by drawing calcium from the bones.
Get enough vitamin A, but not too much. Vitamin A has also been found to direct the process of borrowing and redepositing calcium in bone. However, too much preformed vitamin A (also known as retinol) can promote fractures. Choose a multivitamin supplement that has all or the majority of its vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.

Should You Get Calcium from Milk?

When most people think of calcium, they immediately think of milk. But should this be so? Milk is actually only one of many sources of calcium—dark leafy green vegetables and some types of legumes are among the other sources—and there are some important reasons why milk may not be the best source for everyone.

These reasons include the following:

Lactose Intolerance

Many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. One alternative for those who are lactose intolerant but who still enjoy consuming dairy products is to take a pill containing enzymes that digest milk sugar along with the dairy product or to consume milk that has the lactase enzyme added to it.

High Saturated Fat Content

Many dairy products are high in saturated fats and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease. Most dairy products are now available in fat-reduced or fat-free options. The saturated fat that's removed from dairy products is inevitably consumed by someone, often in the form of ice cream, butter or baked goods.

Possible Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

High levels of galactose, a sugar released by the digestion of lactose in milk, have been studied as possibly damaging to the ovaries and leading to ovarian cancer, but more research is needed.

Probable Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer

A diet high in calcium has been implicated as a probable risk factor for prostate cancer. A more recent analysis of a Harvard study found that men with the highest calcium intake—at least 2,000 milligrams a day—had nearly double the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer as those who had the lowest intake (less than 500 milligrams per day).

The Bottom Line: Recommendations for Calcium Intake and Bone Health

Adequate, lifelong dietary calcium intake is necessary to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D and performing regular, weight-bearing exercise are also important to build maximum bone density and strength. After age 30, these factors help slow bone loss, although they cannot completely prevent bone loss due to aging.

Milk and dairy products are a convenient source of calcium for many people. They are also a good source of protein and are fortified with vitamins D and A. At this time, however, there is controversy about the optimal intake of calcium.

The NRV (Nutrient Reference Values) follow:  

Age

Calcium

1 - 3 year old

500 mg

4 - 8 year old

800 mg

9 - 18 year old

1300 mg

19 - 50 year old

1000 mg

51 - 70 year old

1200 mg

> 70 year old

1200 mg

At moderate levels, though, consumption of calcium and dairy products has benefits beyond bone health, including possibly lowering the risk of high blood pressure and colon cancer.

For individuals who are unable to digest—or who dislike—dairy products and for those who simply prefer not to consume large amounts of such foods, other options are available. Calcium can also be found in dark green, leafy vegetables, such as kale and collard greens, as well as in dried beans and legumes.

Calcium is also found in spinach and chard, but these vegetables contain oxalic acid, which combines with the calcium to form calcium oxalate, a chemical salt that makes the calcium less available to the body. A variety of calcium-fortified foods, such as orange juice and soy milk, are now on the market.

Calcium can also be ingested as a supplement, and if you do go the supplement route, it's best to choose one that includes some vitamin D. Antacids contain calcium, but do not contain vitamin D. So if you choose antacids as a calcium source, you may want to consider taking a separate vitamin D supplement.

Growing Healthy Bones

Bone is living tissue that throughout the lifespan, are constantly being broken down and built up. In healthy individuals who get enough calcium and physical activity, bone production exceeds bone destruction up to about age 30. After that, destruction typically exceeds production.

What Is Osteoporosis?

People typically lose bone as they age, despite consuming the recommended intake of calcium necessary to maintain optimal bone health. The loss of bone with aging is the result of several factors, including genetic factors, physical inactivity and lower levels of circulating hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men).

How Can Osteoporosis Be Slowed Down?

Preventing osteoporosis depends on two things: making the strongest, densest bones possible during the first 30 years of life and limiting the amount of bone loss in adulthood.

There are a number of lifestyle factors that can help with the latter:

Getting regular exercise, especially weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise.
Getting adequate vitamin D, whether through diet, exposure to sunshine or supplements.
Consuming enough calcium to reduce the amount the body has to borrow from bone.
Consuming adequate vitamin K, found in green, leafy vegetables.

Some other factors may also help lower the risk of osteoporosis:

Take care with caffeine and cola-drinks. Caffeine tends to promote calcium excretion in urine and cola has high levels of phosphorous, which may alter the dietary balance between calcium and phosphorous and thereby weaken bones.
Get enough protein, but not too much. The body needs protein to build healthy bones but as the body digests protein, it releases acids into the bloodstream, which the body neutralizes by drawing calcium from the bones.
Get enough vitamin A, but not too much. Vitamin A has also been found to direct the process of borrowing and redepositing calcium in bone. However, too much preformed vitamin A (also known as retinol) can promote fractures. Choose a multivitamin supplement that has all or the majority of its vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.

Should You Get Calcium from Milk?

When most people think of calcium, they immediately think of milk. But should this be so? Milk is actually only one of many sources of calcium—dark leafy green vegetables and some types of legumes are among the other sources—and there are some important reasons why milk may not be the best source for everyone.

These reasons include the following:

Lactose Intolerance

Many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. One alternative for those who are lactose intolerant but who still enjoy consuming dairy products is to take a pill containing enzymes that digest milk sugar along with the dairy product or to consume milk that has the lactase enzyme added to it.

High Saturated Fat Content

Many dairy products are high in saturated fats and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease. Most dairy products are now available in fat-reduced or fat-free options. The saturated fat that's removed from dairy products is inevitably consumed by someone, often in the form of ice cream, butter or baked goods.

Possible Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

High levels of galactose, a sugar released by the digestion of lactose in milk, have been studied as possibly damaging to the ovaries and leading to ovarian cancer, but more research is needed.

Probable Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer

A diet high in calcium has been implicated as a probable risk factor for prostate cancer. A more recent analysis of a Harvard study found that men with the highest calcium intake—at least 2,000 milligrams a day—had nearly double the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer as those who had the lowest intake (less than 500 milligrams per day).

The Bottom Line: Recommendations for Calcium Intake and Bone Health

Adequate, lifelong dietary calcium intake is necessary to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D and performing regular, weight-bearing exercise are also important to build maximum bone density and strength. After age 30, these factors help slow bone loss, although they cannot completely prevent bone loss due to aging.

Milk and dairy products are a convenient source of calcium for many people. They are also a good source of protein and are fortified with vitamins D and A. At this time, however, there is controversy about the optimal intake of calcium.

The NRV (Nutrient Reference Values) follow:

Age

Calcium

1 - 3 year old

500 mg

4 - 8 year old

800 mg

9 - 18 year old

1300 mg

19 - 50 year old

1000 mg

51 - 70 year old

1200 mg

> 70 year old

1200 mg

At moderate levels, though, consumption of calcium and dairy products has benefits beyond bone health, including possibly lowering the risk of high blood pressure and colon cancer.

For individuals who are unable to digest—or who dislike—dairy products and for those who simply prefer not to consume large amounts of such foods, other options are available. Calcium can also be found in dark green, leafy vegetables, such as kale and collard greens, as well as in dried beans and legumes.

Calcium is also found in spinach and chard, but these vegetables contain oxalic acid, which combines with the calcium to form calcium oxalate, a chemical salt that makes the calcium less available to the body. A variety of calcium-fortified foods, such as orange juice and soy milk, are now on the market.

Calcium can also be ingested as a supplement, and if you do go the supplement route, it's best to choose one that includes some vitamin D. Antacids contain calcium, but do not contain vitamin D. So if you choose antacids as a calcium source, you may want to consider taking a separate vitamin D supplement.

Calcium Content of Selected Foods

1 serving of Slender Wonder Protein Plus Shake contains 155 mg calcium and if mixed with a cup of milk (300mg) = 455 mg calcium. If you drink two shakes per day; you will consume in the region of 900mg calcium per day.

Dairy and Soy

Amount

Calcium (mg)

Milk (skim, low fat, whole)

1 cup

300

Buttermilk

1 cup

300

Cottage Cheese

0.5 cup

65

Ice Cream or Ice Milk

0.5 cup

100

Sour Cream, cultured

1 cup

250

Soy Milk, calcium fortified

1 cup

200 to 400

Yogurt

1 cup

450

Yogurt drink

350ml

300

Nonfat dry milk powder

5 Tbsp

300

Brie Cheese

30g

50

Hard Cheese (chedda)

30g

200

Mozzarella

30g

200

Parmesan Cheese

1 Tbsp

70

Swiss or Gruyere

30g

270

Vegetables

Acorn squash, cooked

1 cup

90

Arugula, raw

1 cup

125

Bok Choy, raw

1 cup

40

Broccoli, cooked

1 cup

180

Chard or Okra, cooked

1 cup

100

Chicory (curly endive), raw

1 cup

40

Collard greens

1 cup

50

Corn, brine packed

1 cup

10

Dandelion greens, raw

1 cup

80

Kale, raw

1 cup

55

Kelp or Kombe

1 cup

60

Mustard greens

1 cup

40

Spinach, cooked

1 cup

240

Turnip greens, raw

1 cup

80

Fruits

Figs, dried, uncooked

1 cup

300

Kiwi, raw

1 cup

50

Orange juice, calcium fortified

1 cup

300

Legumes

Garbanzo Beans, cooked

1 cup

80

Legumes, general, cooked

0.5 cup

15 to 50

Pinto Beans, cooked

1 cup

75

Soybeans, boiled

0.5 cup

100

Temphe

0.5 cup

75

Tofu, firm, calcium set

120g

250 to 750

Tofu, soft regular

120g

120 to 390

White Beans, cooked

0.5 cup

70

Grains

Cereals (calcium fortified)

0.5 to 1 cup

250 to 1000

Amaranth, cooked

0.5 cup

135

Bread, calcium fortified

1 slice

150 to 200

Brown rice, long grain, raw

1 cup

50

Oatmeal, instant

1 package

100 to 150

Tortillas, corn

2

85

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, toasted unblanched

30g

80

Sesame seeds, whole roasted

30g

280

Sesame tahini

30g (2 Tbsp)

130

Sunflower seeds, dried

30g

50

Fish

Mackerel, canned

90 g

250

Salmon, canned, with bones

90 g

170 to 210

Sardines

90 g

370
 

Calcium Content of Selected Foods

1 serving of Slender Wonder Protein Plus Shake contains 155 mg calcium and if mixed with a cup of milk (300mg) = 455 mg calcium. If you drink two shakes per day; you will consume in the region of 900mg calcium per day.

Dairy and Soy

Amount

Calcium (mg)

Milk (skim, low fat, whole)

1 cup

300

Buttermilk

1 cup

300

Cottage Cheese

0.5 cup

65

Ice Cream or Ice Milk

0.5 cup

100

Sour Cream, cultured

1 cup

250

Soy Milk, calcium fortified

1 cup

200 to 400

Yogurt

1 cup

450

Yogurt drink

350ml

300

Nonfat dry milk powder

5 Tbsp

300

Brie Cheese

30g

50

Hard Cheese (chedda)

30g

200

Mozzarella

30g

200

Parmesan Cheese

1 Tbsp

70

Swiss or Gruyere

30g

270

Vegetables

Acorn squash, cooked

1 cup

90

Arugula, raw

1 cup

125

Bok Choy, raw

1 cup

40

Broccoli, cooked

1 cup

180

Chard or Okra, cooked

1 cup

100

Chicory (curly endive), raw

1 cup

40

Collard greens

1 cup

50

Corn, brine packed

1 cup

10

Dandelion greens, raw

1 cup

80

Kale, raw

1 cup

55

Kelp or Kombe

1 cup

60

Mustard greens

1 cup

40

Spinach, cooked

1 cup

240

Turnip greens, raw

1 cup

80

Fruits

Figs, dried, uncooked

1 cup

300

Kiwi, raw

1 cup

50

Orange juice, calcium fortified

1 cup

300

Legumes

Garbanzo Beans, cooked

1 cup

80

Legumes, general, cooked

0.5 cup

15 to 50

Pinto Beans, cooked

1 cup

75

Soybeans, boiled

0.5 cup

100

Temphe

0.5 cup

75

Tofu, firm, calcium set

120g

250 to 750

Tofu, soft regular

120g

120 to 390

White Beans, cooked

0.5 cup

70

Grains

Cereals (calcium fortified)

0.5 to 1 cup

250 to 1000

Amaranth, cooked

0.5 cup

135

Bread, calcium fortified

1 slice

150 to 200

Brown rice, long grain, raw

1 cup

50

Oatmeal, instant

1 package

100 to 150

Tortillas, corn

2

85

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, toasted unblanched

30g

80

Sesame seeds, whole roasted

30g

280

Sesame tahini

30g (2 Tbsp)

130

Sunflower seeds, dried

30g

50

Fish

Mackerel, canned

90 g

250

Salmon, canned, with bones

90 g

170 to 210

Sardines

90 g

370

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