Diet therapy

Keep drinking milk

Over the last month reports in the media have focused on the new A2™ milk that has been marketed as a risk-free alternative. According to an A2™ Milk Company press release “The standard milk on the New Zealand market is A1 containing beta-casein which has been linked to heart disease and Type 1 (childhood) diabetes and other illnesses”1

While we await published scientific evidence to support the health claims of A2™ there are real concerns amongst nutritionists that people may avoid drinking milk altogether. Milk is a valuable source of calcium at all stages of life and is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Currently osteoporosis (bone thinning) is reaching epidemic proportions and it’s easy to see why.

The preliminary nutrition research of New Zealand children has found that milk intake is poor with 16% of pre-school and 18% of school children not having the recommended 2 servings of milk each day. Children prefer to drink cordials, fruit juice, soft drink and smart drinks rather than milk at school.

A national nutrition survey of adults in 1997 found that women aged 15-44yrs were also at risk averaging only 700mgs of calcium each day (1000mgs recommended) and the situation was found to be worse as women aged. Those over 60yrs were having only 670-700mgs mgs but needed 1500mgs/day.

Young children and men need to drink between 300-500mls of milk each day. After the age of 15 years young women can increase milk to 600mls/day and maintain this intake throughout life.

From the age of two years it is advisable to switch from whole to light blue® or mega milk® and then move onto Trim® and Calci trim® milk by the age of 5 years. This is because these milks have lower fat levels and more calcium and protein than whole milk and is essential for growth, bone and muscle health.

If you want to try A2™ milk then low fat varieties are also available. 2

If you are intolerant of dairy products then try rice, goats or soy milks are available for adults with added calcium.Making milk into a smoothie with fresh fruit or Milo® can help coax even the most reluctant starter.

Other than soy infant formula, goats and plant milks (e.g. rice, almond or oat milks) are not suitable for children under 12 months of age.

Read this article for an update on the A1 v’s A2 discussion.

The bottom line..

There is no doubt that reports favouring the use of A2 over A1 are growing and also there are now a wide range of milks available for people who may not tolerate any dairy products.
The bottom line is to ensure that you do get enough calcium and protein for good health and growth.

If you would like to discuss your milk intake or to check your calcium intake then contact Lea for a nutritional assessment and advice.


1. Lifestyle newspaper June 2011


About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »


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