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10 False Science Facts Everyone Knows


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Milk helps you grow up tall and strong.
Is drinking milk going to make her taller? Not necessarily. Antonio Diaz/iStock/Thinkstock
Is drinking milk going to make her taller? Not necessarily. Antonio Diaz/iStock/Thinkstock

We've heard it from moms, dads, teachers, doctors, and -- perhaps most tellingly -- the dairy industry.

Want to be strong and tall, and boast the strongest bones on the block? Drink your milk.

As a 5-foot (1.5-meter) -tall weakling who was forced to drink milk every day of her adolescence, it does strike me that this science "fact" is either A) not foolproof or B) an indication that without help from calcium, I might've topped out at 4 feet 2 inches (1.3 meters) with broken fingers from moderately strenuous piano practice.

Let's ignore anecdote and stick with evidence-based study. Some scientists and nutritionists have argued that the U.S. dairy guidelines are overwhelming: three cups (0.7 liters) of milk or equivalent dairy (like yogurt or cheese) a day for anyone older than 8 [source: Kelly]. Researchers at Harvard and Cornell have both noted that increased milk intake didn't correlate to higher bone strength. However, be aware that plenty of conflicting studies do indicate calcium increases bone health [source: Kelly].

Some researchers even argue that Americans, with their high dairy diet, are actually victims of weaker bone structure due to the blood and tissues pulling calcium from the bones to counteract the high acidity in the animal protein of dairy. Important to note? Nobody claims drinking milk will make you taller.