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Too much milk not healthy: doctor

TAINAN, Taiwan -- Milk may be rich in the protein and calcium children need for their physical development, but if they drink too much of it over the long term, it will lead to the loss of calcium from their bones and may even affect their kidney functions, a doctor in southern Taiwan warned yesterday.

Guo Su-er, director of the Department of Nutritional Services of National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, said that parents should not allow their adolescent children to drink cow milk as a substitute for water, because doing so will be bad for their health.

She suggested that youngsters should drink no more than 500 ml. of milk a day, and that their nutritional needs should be balanced with the intake of a variety of other foods.

Many people incorrectly believe that drinking a lot of milk will increase their bone mass, Guo said, when in fact an excessive intake of milk can actually lead to bones losing their calcium.

She explained that drinking too much milk could lead to too much phosphorus acid in the blood, triggering a metabolic process in which the bones release their calcium to lower the acid level in the body.

Over an extended period, the habit of excessive milk intake could lead to osteoporosis and even damage the kidneys, she added.

Surveys conducted in Western countries have concluded that the incidence of osteoporosis is highest where the most milk is consumed.

Statistics show that Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands lead other countries in per capita milk consumption, and their incidence of osteoporosis is also higher than in other countries.

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