As a trip to any good coffee shop reveals, in 2017 milk no longer means just cow’s milk. You are now likely to be offered a menu of milk options (probably soya, almond or coconut) as the popularity of dairy-free alternatives and plant based diets shows no signs of slowing down.
In fact, a National Osteoporosis Society survey found that a fifth of under-25s are now cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet, the BBC reported. The society noted that the ‘clean eating’ movement and promotion of fad diets by bloggers and the media could be to blame.
The charity - who surveyed 2,000 adults, including 239 under the age of 25 and 339 aged 25-35 - stated that they were worried how many young adults were putting their health at risk by eliminating dairy from their diet completely. Their biggest concern being that young people were not getting their recommended daily allowance of calcium.
While calcium can be found in green leafy veg (e.g broccoli, kale and rocket), some beans (red kidney beans and black beans in particular) and fortified non-dairy milks, one of the easiest ways to get your daily allowance is, of course, via milk. However, the survey found that a large number of young people were cutting dairy and not replacing it with any other calcium rich-foods.
‘Diet in early adulthood is so important because by the time we get into our late 20s, it is too late to reverse the damage caused by poor diet and nutrient deficiencies and the opportunity to build strong bones has passed,’ Professor Susan Lanham-New, clinical advisor to the National Osteoporosis Society said.
Lack of calcium can seriously affect bone health which can put you at risk of osteoporosis later in life. Currently, 50% of women, and 20% of men over the age of 50 suffer from the condition.
It is worth noting that not all people who avoid dairy are doing it for health reasons. With growing evidence suggests dairy farming is damaging to the environment, many are choosing vegan diets to reduce their impact on the planet. And those who do choose such diets needn't be too worried as long as they are finding other ways to get calcium.
‘While it's not necessarily dangerous to cut out dairy from your diet it's important to ensure you get enough calcium from other sources’ a spokeswoman from the British Nutrition Foundation told the BBC.