STATES CHRONICLE – A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that children who drink cow milk substitutes grow up shorter than those who choose the natural dairy product. Giving your children soy milk, almond milk, or any other vegetal substitute can really influence their height.
Substitute milk makes children slightly shorter
A team of Canadian researchers noticed how children who drank “alternative” milk were shorter. They discovered each cup of milk substitute reduced a child’s height by 0.15 inches. When they compared these children with those who drank cow milk, they saw how the former were shorter.
Jonathon Maguire, pediatrician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, compared a three-year-old who drinks three cups of substitute milk per day on average with one who drinks cow milk. The latter is around 1.5 centimeters taller. This is not a big difference for that age, but it is still present.
For the study, researchers looked at 5,034 healthy children aged between two and six. They were monitored between December 2008 and September 2015. From all these children, 84 percent consumed only cow milk, while 8 percent consumed both cow milk and alternatives. Five percent drank only milk substitutes, while 3 percent drank none of the beverages.
The quantity of non-milk consumed influences height
The type of beverage they chose did not influence their height that much as it did the quantity of the non-milk they drank. Researchers noticed that the more milk substitutes the children drank, the shorter they appeared to be. But will these children remain slightly shorter during adulthood as well?
Scientists said they cannot tell for sure if they will catch up on their height or not, but children usually stay among the lines of a certain height range. Therefore, if they tend to be shorter when they are young, they remain shorter during adulthood.
The study had its limitations, as it did not consider other aspects, such as the children’s diets. Also, being taller does not equal being healthier, and children should take all the necessary intake of potassium, calcium, and proteins either from cow milk or from other sources.
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