- Teenage girls are seeking ‘trendy’ alternatives to cows milk such as almond milk
- They are switching to the ‘fad’ diets in the believe the plant-based milk is better
- Stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow encourage people to ditch dairy milk in their diet
- Calcium from milk is an excellent method of strenthening bones for later life
One in six teenage girls has now cut dairy from their diets in a ‘generational health disaster waiting to happen’.
Research reveals that almost a fifth of teenage girls aged 13 to 19 are drinking less milk than two years ago, and one in six have cut it out altogether.
Many see trendy almond milk and other plant-based alternatives as a healthier option to cows’ milk, while celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow promote a dairy-free lifestyle. But Sophie Medlin, a lecturer in nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, warns that the shift could be doing more harm than good.
One in six teenage girls are avoiding cow’s milk in the belief that ‘plant milk’ is healthier
Hollywood stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow, pictured, advocate a dairy-free lifestyle
She said the majority of switches are the result of fad diets, presumed intolerances and a preference for what they perceive as ‘healthier’ options.
‘Many are completely unaware the majority of calcium needed for good bone health is stored in the body during your early years and your opportunity for strengthening bones ends after the age of 30,’ she said.
‘Iodine is also critical for a functioning metabolism and proper growth and development. Cows’ milk is one of the richest sources of both in the UK diet.’
A fifth of teenage girls surveyed blamed an intolerance to lactose for their avoidance of cows’ milk. However, the Food Standards Agency reports that the actual proportion of Britons who suffer from true lactose intolerance is as low as 5 per cent.
Additionally only 16 per cent of 18-35 year- olds who had given up cows’ milk had done so as a result of talking to a health care professional such as a dietician or a GP. This compared to 41 per cent who cited friends, family, celebrities, bloggers and social media as influences for such a change.
Miss Medlin said: ‘The current fashion for eliminating key food groups, promoted by the new generation of online influencers who have adopted dairy free diets for themselves, is concerning and without proper guidance could lead to many negative health consequences.’
Research suggests an alternative cause for those who report issues with dairy – the A1 protein. Miss Medlin said switching to cows’ milk that is naturally free from the A1 protein, such as a2 milk, could be the answer.