There are many ways for consumers to increase their intake of calcium, a mineral known to help strengthen bone structure and aid weight loss. But a recent analysis shows that milk, a natural source of calcium, remains the most cost-effective means of increasing calcium intake.
A recent study by researchers at Kansas State University in the US, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association , revealed milk as the most economical source of calcium by providing more calcium per penny when compared to other school lunch foods. WhyMilk, an association set up by the US National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board and the company Dairy Management to promote the benefits of milk as a natural source of calcium, has been promoting the research.
Researchers examined the nutrient content of school lunch components, including milk, and compared the costs of other food items. The results revealed that milk contributed the most calcium and protein per 100 calories and per penny.
An additional cost analysis reinforced the claim that milk is an economical calcium source, WhyMilk said. One gallon of low-fat or fat-free milk offered about 12mg of calcium per penny, while one gallon of calcium-fortified orange juice contained about 7mg of calcium per penny and fortified soy beverages offered even less at about 3.2mg per penny.
"Penny per penny, one gallon of low fat or fat free milk provides about twice as much calcium as fortified soy beverages, apple juice, breakfast bars and fortified bread, and almost double the amount of calcium in one gallon of fortified orange juice and in wheat cereal and waffles," dietician Ellie Krieger told WhyMilk.
"Most sports drinks and sodas offer none of the bone-building nutrients we need to help maintain strong, healthy bones."