According to new research published in this month’s Public Health Nutrition journal, one in six Aussies is avoiding milk or dairy products despite have no medical reason to do so.
With dairy regarded as the best source of calcium for bone and dental health as well as a rich source of protein, the results have experts more than a little concerned – particularly for women.
“The scale of people restricting their diet without a medical reason is very concerning in terms of the public health implications, especially for women,” says CSIRO’s Bella Yantcheva.
“It means there is potential for nutritional deficiencies or imbalances, or the risk that an underlying health condition could be going untreated.”
Watch: Do you know how much sugar is really in your favourite drink? Post continues after video.
This is because women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis compared to men and have higher requirements of calcium during pregnancy and lactation.
The majority of the 1200 Australians surveyed by the University of Adelaide and the CSIRO for the study said they were making this choice to relieve adverse gastrointestinal symptoms such as cramps, bloating or wind.
And many did so thanks to the influence of of celebs, fad diets, friends or alternative health practitioners, rather than, you know, properly qualified experts.
“When people cut out core food groups on the advice of celebrities with no nutritional qualifications, it does concern me as I have seen firsthand the implications of people following fad diets and the damage that it can do,” says Melanie McGrice, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia.
Drink the milk, ladies. Image: iStock
"You wouldn’t allow a celebrity to operate on you or diagnose your cancer, so why would you trust them to provide you with dietary advice that can have just as significant impact on your health? If someone feels that they have a food intolerance, I’d encourage them to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian for comprehensive dietary advice."
Disbelief that people would voluntarily not eat the wonder that is cheese aside, cutting it out completely when it's not necessary carries a risk of adverse mental and physical effects in certain people.
"It can venture into the restrictive diet realm, resulting in disorders with an unhealthy relationship with food, as well as pyschological stress and of course, you're losing out on certain necessary nutrients which can be quite dangerous for certain groups," says dietitian Gabrielle Maston.
Australian dietary guidelines currently recommend people consume at least two to three serves (one cup or 250 ml) of dairy a day. (Post continues after gallery.)