New research has answered one of the most common questions parents ask their doctors: How much milk should I be giving my children? The answer is two cups per day.
"We started to research the question because professional recommendations around milk intake were unclear and doctors and parents were seeking answers," said Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a paediatrician at St. Michael's Hospital and the lead author of the study.
Dr. Maguire and his team looked at how cow's milk affected body stores of iron and vitamin D - two of the most important nutrients in milk - in more than 1,300 children aged two to five years.
The results of the study appeared online in Pediatrics today.
They found that children who drank more cow's milk had higher Vitamin D stores but lower iron stores.
"We saw that two cups of cow's milk per day was enough to maintain adequate vitamin D levels for most children, while also maintaining iron stores. With additional cow's milk, there was a further reduction in iron stores without greater benefit from vitamin D," Dr. Maguire said.
The researchers recruited healthy children during routine doctor's appointments between 2008 and 2010. Parents were asked to fill out an extensive questionnaire about their children's milk drinking habits and other factors that could affect iron and Vitamin D stores. A blood sample was obtained from each child to determine body stores of iron and Vitamin D.