Evidence has found that humans had stronger bones before the consumption of dairy, due to the nature of the food that they were eating.
David Katz, a graduate student, Professor Tim Weaver, and statistician Mark Grote used a collection of 559 crania and 543 lower jaw bones from around the world and from over two dozen pre-industrial populations to study the influence that diet has on the shape, size and form of the human skull.
The study found that there were differences in the skulls for the groups that had consumed cereals, dairy, or both. Katz, who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Calgary said: “The main differences between forager and farmer skulls are where we would expect to find them, and change in ways we might expect them to, if chewing demands decreased in farming groups.”
This study looks at the consistency of the changes across the world, which is something that previous studies looking at the same topic haven’t done. The dairy industry that we know today promotes dairy for having healthy bones, using this as their marketing strategy.
However, this is challenged by the study with Katz saying: “At least in early farmers, milk did not make for bigger, stronger skull bones”. Other factors that had more influence on the strength of bones were gender or individuals from different populations that led the same diets.
The introduction of dairy and softer foods meant that the food needed to be chewed less, impacting the strength of bones. Hunter gatherers who ate wild foods and led a more plant based diet had stronger jaw bones from putting more effort into chewing the food, concluding that the diets including dairy did not benefit the strength of bones.