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Cut children's milk intake to avoid iron deficiency

by , 07 January 2013

Milk is seen as a healthy diet staple by many parents and the top source of Vitamin D. But according to last week's Nutrition & Healing newsletter from Dr Jonathan V. Wright, new research shows we need to give this a rethink, especially for children under the age of five. Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital has found iron deficiency could be linked to excessive milk intake.

Milk’s not good for you! Let me count the ways …
 
Iron is essential for brain and motor skill development in children aged between two and five. The reasons to avoid iron deficiency are endless. Low levels of ferritin, a protein that stores iron in the body, have been found in children with ADHD. A lack of iron could lead to hair loss or even anaemia. 
 
In addition to increased risk of cancer, Crohn’s disease and strep throat, each cup of milk ingested lowers iron stores in the body by 3.6%. Most surprisingly, Dr Wright has shown that a diet rich in milk doesn’t guarantee stronger bones. In fact, he states that a 12-year prospective study, published in 1997 in the American Journal of Public Health showed women who drank two or more glasses of milk per day actually had a higher risk of bone fracture than women who drank less than one glass of milk per week. 
 
You get more vitamin D from standing in the sun than from drinking milk
 
If you need one more reason to avoid it, the vitamins A and D, one of milk’s top selling points, are usually added to the milk as supplements. You get more natural vitamin D from standing in the sun. Lastly, Dr Wright says your body only absorbs about a quarter of the calcium in a glass of milk. So you could drink milk every day and still end up deficient in calcium!
 
But you don’t have to cut milk from your family’s diet completely. 
 
2 Easy ways to avoid iron deficiency
 
Avoid iron deficiency by limiting milk intake to two cups per day. Iron supplements can also assist. FSP Health has partnered with Health Works for your convenience – click here to order our 60mg iron chews. Dr Wright also recommends taking a Vitamin D supplement. 
 
For more tips on keeping your diet healthy, sign up for our Health Bytes newsletter! 



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