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Study Finds Bones Were Stronger Before Advent of Dairy

Researchers discover that dairy does not build strong bones.

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis found that humans had stronger bones before they began consuming dairy. Graduate student David Katz and professor Tim Weaver examined 559 skulls and 534 lower jaw bones from more than 24 pre-industrial populations worldwide to determine the effect of diet on bone strength and shape. Despite claims that dairy builds strong bones, Katz and Weaver found that early hunter-gatherers had stronger jaws that they developed from chewing plants. Alternatively, animal farmers had weaker bones due to their soft diet. “At least in early farmers, milk did not make for bigger, stronger skull bone,” Katz said. A growing body of research continues to debunk the myth that dairy is essential for bone health, including a 2015 meta-analysis conducted at the University of Auckland that linked the excessive consumption of dairy to a higher risk of developing heart disease and kidney stones.

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