Givens DI and Hobbs DA
The importance of milk in the human diet as a supplier of energy, high quality protein and other key nutrients, including calcium, is broadly accepted yet in the mind of many there remains uncertainty about whether or not these foods contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. The evidence from long term prospective cohort studies that high milk consumption does not increase cardiovascular disease risk and indeed may provide benefit is now pretty unequivocal, although the effects of butter and cheese and benefits of fat reduced milk and saturated fat reduced milk are less certain. Milk is a crucial supplier of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium for bone growth and development in children and it is concerning that due to reduced milk consumption intake of these nutrients is often sub-optimal, particularly for female children. In addition, specific health issues in pregnant women and the elderly can be alleviated by milk or components of milk and these effects are not all explained by traditional nutrition.