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Dairy-Free Diets Can Be Harmful for Young Adults


Cutting out or reducing dairy food could be a “ticking time bomb” for young people’s bone health, UK’s National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) is warning.

A NOS survey found a fifth of under 25s are eliminating or reducing dairy in their diet.

The society said it was concerned many young adults were putting their health at risk by following eating fads.

Cutting out milk products entirely can be harmful unless the missed nutrients are replaced, it says.

The society surveyed 2,000 adults, including 239 under the age of 25 and 339 aged 25-35.

Almost 70% of those aged 18-35 year olds were currently or had previously been dieting.

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One in five 18-25-year-olds said they had cut out or significantly reduced dairy in their diet, although the survey did not find out why.

Milk and dairy food, such as cheese and yoghurt, are important sources of calcium for strong bones.

The survey suggests that many young people seek dietary advice from bloggers and vloggers on the internet.

Although some of this advice can be good, it’s concerned some people become too restrictive about what they eat.

Dairy products are the main source of calcium – for example, milk, cheese and yoghurt.

Cow’s milk is the best source, but soya and almond milk may also contain calcium if they are fortified.

Skimmed and semi-skimmed milk contain more calcium than full fat cow’s milk.

Vegetables, nuts, seeds, boney fish and white flour products also contain calcium.

Choose low-fat cheese and yoghurt to cut down on fat intake, although crisps and biscuits contain much more fat.

For adults, 700mg of calcium per day is recommended but boys and girls between 11 and 18 need up to 1000mg.

According to experts, recommended levels can be achieved by eating three portions of dairy a day, such as cereal with milk, a yoghurt and a small chunk of cheddar cheese.