Kids Really Only Need 2 Cups of Milk a Day, Study Says

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, In The News, Nutrition: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Nutrition: Big Kids, Nutrition: Tweens

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Kids only need two cups of milk and not a gallon! Credit: Getty Images


"Fresh, wholesome milk ... Vitamin D, calcium, essential for good strong bones and healthy teeth. But that's all Greek to you, isn't it, Mr. Gingivitis?" -- Sgt. Joe Friday in "Dragnet," 1987

Sgt. Friday probably spent a little too much time listening to Captain Kangaroo.

Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician and researcher at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, led researchers to find out just how much milk children should really be drinking. The Canadian television network CTV reports he concluded that two cups of milk per day is just about right.

Sgt. Friday was right: Milk is rich in Vitamin D. But previous studies have found too much milk can decrease the iron level in children's blood.

Researchers looked at 3,800 children at St. Michael's Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children to find out how much milk would give kids the Vitamin D they need without risking iron deficiency.

"So it struck us that, wow, if you drink milk, there's some good parts and some not good parts," Maguire tells CTV. "So how much milk would you need to balance those two things out. And what we came up with is about 470 milliliters [16 ounces] of cow's milk is the balancing point. So it's roughly two cups.

"So this really gets to that, saying to parents that two cups of milk is a healthy amount of milk," he adds. "You're getting great benefit from vitamin D and your child's not in harm's way from being iron-deficient."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.