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Old 12-09-2009, 02:08 PM   #1
Emily Ciccarella
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calcium intake, milk unfavored?

just curious to know why milk is unfavored by the paleo diet. Isn't calcium a required nutrient, or is it only important during growth stages? If it's required, what are other ways to get enough calcium?
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:32 PM   #2
Nick Wilson
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

Funnily enough, Robb Wolf's latest podcast touched on this point - well worth a listen. Head over to http://************* (WFS apart from very occasional language) or subscribe on iTunes (search for "Robb Wolf" and you'll find it).

Short answer is in 2 parts:

1. Milk isn't paleo because... well, because it's not paleo! It's a neolithic food, it wasn't available in the paleolithic period so by definition it's not paleo.

2. Yes, calcium is necessary. However, the important thing is how much calcium your body can use, not just how much you take in (or magnesium, or vitamin A, or whatever other substance you want to think of).

All foods ultimately produce either an acid or an alkaline load to the kidneys; and overall the body needs to maintain a neutral balance. If the foods you eat create a net acid renal load, then your body uses substances from your body to balance it back out to neutral; and it's preferred source for this is calcium from the bones. Or to put it another way, if you eat a net acid renal load, your body will use calcium from your bones to protect the kidneys. Dairy creates an acid renal load, so although it contains calcium it also contributes to your body leeching calcium out of the bones. This is why the countries with the highest rates of osteoperosis are pretty high on the list of dairy comsumers.

Typically, a diet high in non-starchy veggies (particularly dark green leafy veg) and good quality meat will give you plenty of calcium. If you eat a good quantity of veggies you'll also help the acid/alkaline balance, because fruit and veg produce an alkaline renal load whereas pretty much all other foods produce an acid renal load. Bone broths, marrow, and fish eaten with the small bones also give a good hit of calcium.

This is all covered in the Paleo Diet book, well worth a read if you're going to try to go Paleo... alternatively, have a good read through robb's blog and http://thepaleodiet.com (WFS).

As I say, Robb's latest podcast is well worth a listen as it discusses milk from various angles, including the insulin response it generates and its benefits in terms of growth promotion.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
Christopher G. Woods
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

The main reason that milk is unfavored by the paleo diet is that 60% of the worlds population can't process lactose. It can also result in excess mucus production in many individuals, along with contibuting to other digestive issues.

Calcium is an important nutrient (though it's role in issues such as osteoperosis is slightly overplayed), but is very plentiful in a well balanced diet. Greens (spinach, collards, kale, etc.) are generally your best non-dairy source.

I should note that I count myself among the 40% of the population who are lactase persistent and believe that ice cream may be the greatest food ever invented.

Last edited by Christopher G. Woods; 12-09-2009 at 02:37 PM..
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:41 PM   #4
Michael Travis
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

you can get calcium from spinach and brocolli as well as well as many other foods... the benefit of getting calcium through milk however, is that the body needs vitamin D in order to absorb the calcium. Without enough vitamin D the body can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol which can lead to insufficient calcium absorption. In this situation, the body must take calcium from its stores in the skeleton, which weakens existing bone and prevents the formation of strong, new bone.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:52 PM   #5
Wayne Riddle
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher G. Woods View Post
I should note that I count myself among the 40% of the population who are lactase persistent and believe that ice cream may be the greatest food ever invented.
Ditto. I'm not 100% paleo because of dairy: love milk, ice cream as a treat, yogurt, etc.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:57 PM   #6
Eric Montgomery
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

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Originally Posted by Michael Travis View Post
you can get calcium from spinach and brocolli as well as well as many other foods... the benefit of getting calcium through milk however, is that the body needs vitamin D in order to absorb the calcium. Without enough vitamin D the body can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol which can lead to insufficient calcium absorption. In this situation, the body must take calcium from its stores in the skeleton, which weakens existing bone and prevents the formation of strong, new bone.
All the more reason to get out in the sun every day or take Vitamin D3 supplements (WFS). 10,000 IU per day will cost you about $20 for a year's supply and will make a huge difference for you
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:51 PM   #7
Steven Low
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

Yeah, I take Vitamin D + cal/mag/zinc supplement. Works very well.

Although I eat my greens I found that my bones getting sore (overuse-ish) much easier without increased calcium intake. Vit D can leech calcium from the bones if your dietary intake is inadequate.

I believe I noted that in the link above.


And yeah, milk ain't paleo cause most people like me can't handle it.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:39 PM   #8
Michael Ingley
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

I used to feel like I was starting to get shin splints when I started running and didn't drink milk, now a couple weeks later, I'm running more per week and my bones feel stronger, I attribute this to the fact that I've started drinking milk a lot more.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:10 PM   #9
William McAlpine
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Travis View Post
you can get calcium from spinach and brocolli as well as well as many other foods...
I thought spinach is a poor source because the high oxalate content makes the calcium hard to absorb.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:01 PM   #10
Mike Romano
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Re: calcium intake, milk unfavored?

milk only has vitamin d in it because most milk is "fortified" with it...
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