Is Milk Good For You? The Science You Should Know


Is Milk Good For You? The Science You Should Know

11, November 2014 1:23 PM

At Dairy Council of California, we are often asked whether milk is good for you. There certainly are a lot of milk myths and misinformation swirling about, and it leads to people wondering whether they should continue to drink milk or switch to almond milk if regular milk is bad for you.

Our registered dietitian nutritionists on staff review the facts and decades of scientific research on milk on the health benefits of milk and have concluded that milk is in fact good for you and is an essential part of a healthy diet. That is why they agree with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and recommend that you include milk and dairy products in your diet and aim to meet the three recommended servings each day.

Milk is Good for Your Bones

Milk and dairy products provide the highest concentration of absorbable calcium, plus it includes vitamin D and potassium and when taken together, those nutrients provide a convenient package for building strong bones. In addition the protein, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 and zinc found in milk work together to build strong bones. Other sources of these bone-building nutrients come from consuming a well-balanced diet composed of a variety of foods, including all five foods groups.1,2.

While you can certainly count on other calcium rich food sources like leafy greens, beans or canned salmon with bones, the problem with those foods is that it takes an awful lot of them to add up to the calcium in one 8-ounce glass of milk. Not only is it unrealistic for most people to eat such high quantities of these other calcium-rich foods, it can take additional calories to meet your calcium requirements.


Infographic: Is Milk Good for You


Milk is a Good Source of Protein

Although calcium might be top of mind when you think about the health benefits of milk, the protein in milk plays an important role as well. Not only is protein key to an optimal overall diet, but calcium without adequate protein is ineffective at building strong bones. 3 

dairy milk in crate - is milk good for you or bad for you

Milk and dairy foods are a good source of protein – an 8-ounce glass of milk provides 8 grams of protein, a little more than the amount of protein in 1 ounce of cooked meat. For those looking to improve their diet with high quality protein sources, adding cheese or yogurt to a snack or meal is an easy fix.

Milk is Good for Your Heart

A host of studies have found that diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, with reduced saturated and total fat—can substantially lower blood pressure. This eating plan, called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) or a High Blood Pressure Diet, was originally published in 1997. Eating low-fat milk and dairy as part of this eating pattern has been found to not only reduce blood pressure, but also lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.4

Decide for Yourself: Is Milk Good or Bad For You? 

Everyone should make food choices based on their individuals needs, preferences and values, but before you decide to ditch the dairy, be sure to understand the health benefits of milk you might be losing and the facts around whether milk is good or bad for you. 

Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2 Matkovic, V. et al. Nutrition influences skeletal development from childhood to adulthood: a study of hip, spine, and forearm in adolescent females. J Nutr 134: 701s-705s, 2004. and Whiting, S.J. and F.A. Tylavsky. Nutritional influences on bone growth in children. J Nutr 134(3S): 689S-705S, 2004.

3 Bonjour JP. Dietary protein: an essential nutrient for bone health. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Dec;24(6 Suppl):526S-36S.

4 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute,, Accessed 11/7/2014

Tags: bone health dairy health benefits of milk Healthy eating LeAnne Ruzzamenti


  • health benefits of milk 3 years 189 days ago
    The article you posted in this blog is very clear with great explanation. And this article is very useful too. Thank you for sharing your article with us.

  • diana 5 years 15 days ago
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