Health advice can be really confusing and some dogmas are just wrong.Today I am going to look at three common health myths; calcium makes your bones strong; statins and eating cholesterol diet are the best way to lower cholesterol and protect yourself from heart disease; and high fibre wholemeal bread helps keep you ‘regular’.
Healthy Bones - The old adage that ‘Bones are made of calcium, and milk is rich in calcium, so drink milk to strengthen bones.’ is misleading at best. The general perception is that a lack of calcium increases the risk of a thinning of the bones as you age and the sales of calcium supplements have remained strong, especially amongst women.
However, evidence clearly shows that there is little correlation between rates of osteoporosis and calcium intake from milk. And recent studies also show that giving calcium only supplements alone doesn’t significantly reduce the risk of fractures in post-menopausal women. So does taking extra calcium help?
The RDA for calcium is between 800 and 1200mg, with the average dietary intake around 900mg. Some people incorrectly supplement 1,000mg of calcium on top of their normal daily intake. The problem with this is that studies show that in men, those supplementing more than 1,000 mg of calcium a day had a higher risk of cardiovascular death, but not stroke related deaths. Calcium, particularly if taken without magnesium and vitamin D, encourages deposition in arteries and raises blood pressure.