Have you given up milk and cheese because you have kidney stones? Do you avoid spicy foods for fear of ulcers?  Let's look at the truth behind these food myths.

  • Milk Products and Kidney Stones: Many people with kidney stones skip out on the dairy products. The thinking goes thatmilk, cheese, and yogurt will cause more stones by increasing calcium in the urine. But research shows that getting calcium from food sources actually lowers your chances of forming kidney stones! That because calcium from food sources blocks the "oxalate" that binds with calcium to cause stones. But don't start popping calcium supplements to prevent kidney stones. The research shows that supplements don't seem to help - only the food sources of calcium. Drinking cranberry juice may also help.
  • Dairy and Weight Loss. A lot of people cut back on dairy foods to lose weight but some research shows that dairy foods actually help you lose weight while other research shows that dairy foods have no effect on weight. Add to that the blood pressure lowering benefits of low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt and you can see that there's no need to cut them out of a healthy eating plan.
  • Carbonated Drinks and Osteoporosis. There is no evidence that drinking carbonated beverages increases your risk of osteoporosis. You may also have heard that dark sodas are bad for you because of the phosphorus. Most research has shown that phosphorus is not a problem either. What could be a problem is too much caffeine - which can make you lose more calcium through the urine. But a couple of caffeinated sodas a day are not enough to cause excessive calcium losses. Also, if you drink lots of sodas in place of a healthy diet, then your bone health could suffer.
  • Spicy Foods and Ulcers. The Helicobacter pylori bacteria is the true cause of most ulcers - not stress or spicy foods. If spicy foods bother your stomach in general or while you are recovering from an ulcer, than you should avoid them. But if spicy foods aren't causing you any trouble, go ahead and enjoy them!

Beth Kitchin MS RD
Department of Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham

You can view this Good Day Alabama Segment at:  http://www.myfoxal.com/Global/story.asp?S=12414523

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