Farmers have welcomed new scientific evidence which shows cutting out dairy is bad for human health.
The National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) warned youngsters should quit ‘clean-eating’ fad diets and should instead be encouraged to up their intake of calcium and vitamin D.
It said research showed those who cut or reduced dairy from their diet faced a ‘ticking time bomb’ to their bones.
Farmers and industry representatives said the research added weight to the industry’s work to debunk the myths surrounding dairy.
NFU dairy adviser Sophie James said: “Any research which shows how important the consumption of milk is is useful and is a benefit to dairy farmers.
“It comes as real encouragement for more people to drink milk.”
The research highlighted how a lack of dairy in the diet could specifically increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition which causes bones to become fragile and break easily.
Clinical adviser to NOS Professor Susan Lanham-New added: “Diet in early adulthood is so important because by the time we get into our late twenties it is too late to reverse the damage caused by poor diet and nutrient deficiencies and the opportunity to build strong bones has passed.”
It came as nutrition experts confirmed daily intake of cow’s milk had no negative correlation to childhood or adolescent obesity, but in most cases actually aided weight loss.
Dr Javier Gonzalez, lecturer in human and applied physiology at the University of Bath, told delegates at a Dairy Council dairy and obesity workshop, London, that those who had a diet rich in protein and dairy produce had what he called a ’higher thermic effect’.
He said dairy produce – particularly milk – better helped people burn energy and therefore increased their resting metabolic rate.
“People who have higher habitual calcium intake typically have a lower body fat percentage,” Dr Gonzalez said.
“There are three potential mechanisms: one of which is reducing the amount of fat that we absorb, another is that calcium has influence on our appetite, and the third is that calcium influences our fat oxidation rate.”
Milk and dairy products provide an array of nutrients including protein, calcium and phosphorus, and are very important for bone health, according to Dr Anne Mullen, director of nutrition at the Dairy Council.
She said: “Milk is high in protein and calcium and a source of phosphorus which all contribute to the maintenance of normal bone.
“Dairy is nutrient dense and there are low-fat products available for people who want to consume lower fat foods.
“This new study on bone health is extremely helpful in identifying the risks of eliminating dairy products entirely from the diet and highlights the growing concern that many young adults are putting their health at risk by seek dietary advice from bloggers on the internet.”