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Harvard Medical School 1980 - 1992


The Harvard Nurses Study was an investigation into osteoporosis and bone loss in women. From 1980 to 1992 the study followed 77,761 women between ages 34 and 59 to determine the relationship between milk consumption and osteoporosis.

"Those who drank three or more glasses of milk per day had no reduction in the risk of hip or arm fractures over the 12-year period, compared to women who drank little or no milk, even after adjustment for weight, menopausal status, smoking, and alcohol use. Fracture rates were higher for those who consumed three or more servings, compared to those who did not drink milk."

Milk adversaries claim that milk is not good for you because of these factors:

  • The body withdraws calcium from the bones to neutralize the proteins and lactic acids in milk.
  • Milk consumption does not protect women from osteoporosis, in fact, it may cause it.
  • Milk protein attacks the immune system.
  • Cow's milk lacks essential fatty acids that human infants need for neurological development
  • Babies drinking whole milk in their first two years develop allergies, colic and diabetes.
  • Milk causes internal bleeding in children, which contributes to anemia.
  • Cow's milk contains "antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals, hormones, blood, white cells (pus), and bacteria from mastitis. (udder infection)
  • Evidence suggests it's the animal fat in milk which triggers the growth of cancer cells.
  • Various studies found "significant positive correlations" between milk intake and lung and ovarian cancers, leukemia, and Crohn's disease and possibly, lung and prostrate cancers.


In September of 1998, the ANTIDAIRY Coalition published a column containing a list of plant-based calcium alternatives. They make the following comments:

  • Human breast milk contains 33 milligrams of calcium per 100-gram portion.
  • Baby humans do not grow up to become 1,200-pound cows.
  • Foods are naturally loaded with calcium.
  • Cows do not drink milk. However, their milk contains large amounts of calcium. They obtain calcium from plant-based foods.
  • Their bones do not break (Until they meet their ultimate fate on the way to Burger King).

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[3] MS Sheikh et al. "Gastrointestinal Absorption of Calcium from Milk and Calcium Salts," New England Journal of Medicine 317 (1987):532.

[9] Ibid

[15] V Hug, letters to the editor, "Involutional Osteoporosis," New England Journal of Medicine 316 (1987):216

[16] Wical and Swoope, Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry 32 (1974):13.

[17] RR Recker, "The Effect of Milk Supplements on Calcium Metabolism, and Calcium Balance," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 41 (1985):254

[27] CC Pfeiffer, Mental and Elenental Nutrients: A Physicians Guide to Nutrition and Health Care, (New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, 1975),p. 272

[31] RM Francis and DM Beaumont, letters to the editor, "Involutional Osteoporosis," New England Journal of Medicine 316 (1987): 216

[50] American Journal of Medicine 46 (1969):197

[53] HF DeLuca, "The Latest Information on Vitamin D and Bone Status," Complementary Medicine May/June (1986):14

[54] RR Recker, New England Journal of Medicine 313 (1985):70

[55] E Underwood, Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition 4th edition (New York: Academic Press, 1977), p. 176

[56] Harvard Medical School Health Letter, March 1976, p. 2.

[57] Nutrition Today, March/April (1987):22

[58] Nutrition Reviews 43 (1985):345

(A) The National Osteoporosis Foundation Fifth International Symposium. (March 9) Dr. Robert Heaney of Creighton University, a principal scientist at Creighton's Osteoporosis Research Center;