The Hershey's Chocolate people want you (and your newspaper and TV stations) to know that May is National Osteoporosis Awareness month. This morning's press release (4/23/02) promotes calcium-rich chocolate milk.
Toby Purdy, spokesperson for the company that attempts to promote milk chocolate as "nature's perfect health food", has this to say:
"We tend to ignore those health issues that we cannot feel or see...An easy and great-tasting way to increase your calcium intake is to consume our Hershey's Milks..."
The Hershey scientists continue to ignore the real science regarding bone disease. They must have missed Harvey and Marilyn Diamond's best seller (11 million copies sold), Fit For Life. The Diamonds wrote:
"Everything that you have been taught about calcium in milk is inaccurate and dishonest. Dairy products are a major cause of osteoporosis."
Osteoporosis is not a problem that should be associated with lack of calcium intake. Osteoporosis results from calcium loss. American women have been consuming an average of two pounds of milk per day for their entire lives, yet thirty million American women have osteoporosis. Drinking milk does not prevent bone loss. Bone loss is accelerated by ingesting too much protein, and milk has been called "liquid meat."
In order to absorb calcium, the body needs comparable amounts of another mineral element, magnesium. Milk and dairy products contain only small amounts of magnesium.
Hershey, along with many in the dairy industry, continues to ignore the following:
"Osteoporosis is caused by a number of things, one of the most important being too much dietary protein." - Science 1986;233(4763)
"Countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis, such as the United States, England, and Sweden, consume the most milk. China and Japan, where people eat much less protein and dairy food, have low rates of osteoporosis." - Nutrition Action Healthletter June, 1993
"Dietary protein increases production of acid in the blood which is then neutralized by calcium mobilized from the skeleton." - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1995; 61
"Even when eating 1400 mg of calcium daily, one can lose up to 4% of his or her bone mass each year while consuming a high-protein diet." - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1979;32
"Increasing one's protein intake by 100% may cause calcium loss to double." - Journal of Nutrition 1981
"Consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, were associated with an increased risk of hip fractures...metabolism of dietary protein causes increased urinary excretion of calcium." - American Journal of Epidemiology 1994;139
"Data indicate that frequent milk consumption and higher dietary calcium intakes in middle-aged women do not provide protection against hip or forearm fractures... women consuming greater amounts of calcium from dairy foods had significantly increased risks of hip fractures, while no increase in fracture risk was observed for the same levels of calcium from nondairy sources." - American Journal of Public Health, volume 87, 1997
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