Many people now accept that we ought to eat less meat and that, in fact, we don’t need to eat it altogether but it’s a whole different story with dairy. It’s so deeply rooted in the British psyche that we need milk it sends people into panic when someone tries to take it away.
The Conservative MP Heather Wheeler cried wolf immediately, painting the picture of crumbling teenagers lacking calcium and pregnant women carrying underdeveloped babies as a result. Ms Wheeler is, coincidentally, also the chairman of the dairy all-party parliamentary group that very recently released a report pushing for the promotion of a “three-a-day” dairy intake. And she was recently paid by Dairy UK to promote dairy consumption at their conference.
However, even the previous guidelines, which suggested more dairy, weren’t enough to ensure people have a healthy diet with teenage girls lacking in calcium, so perhaps it’s high time we look at our diet as a whole and stop equating milk with calcium. Countries with the highest dairy intakes have the highest rates of osteoporosis and milk consumption has been linked to digestive disorders, asthma, cancer, obesity and more.
The government suggests we eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day which is very important for healthy bones as there’s a whole lot of nutrients we need in them. Viva! Health recommends eating at least eight portions including green leafy vegetables as sources of calcium. Other foods such as tofu, almonds, Brazil nuts, enriched plant milks and dried figs are also good sources and we should regularly put them on our menu. Our White Lies website provides complete guidance on dairy-free diets and answers many questions.