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Calcium: from a Logical Vegan Perspective by Arthur Ling (Plamil Foods), Vegan Views 98 (Autumn 2003)

Over its 59 years of existence, the Vegan Society has proclaimed that the composition of cow’s milk is for calves and not for humans. Plamil Foods (an exclusively vegan company) pioneered British-made soya milk in 1965, formulated by vegan doctors to meet vegan nutritional requirements.

The calcium content of the Plamil alternatives to udder milk is akin to human milk which has enabled it to maintain records on vegan infants who have been most successfully weaned on it over a span of 30 years. Vitamin D2 is provided because it is necessary for the correct absorption of calcium.

It is regretted that other soya milk manufacturers base their calcium content on cow’s milk, overlooking the fact that a high protein diet derived from meat/milk causes calcium to be lost from the body. Vegans do not suffer this calcium loss so do not need the high calcium level of cow’s milk. The highest incidence of osteoporosis is in countries where dairy products and calcium supplements are consumed in the greatest quantities – USA, Sweden, Finland and the UK.

Cow’s milk was meant for the quick growing bone structure of calves and its calcium content is too high for humans and conducive to a number of human ailments.

Plamil is the only alternative to dairy milk pack to carry the vegan logo and Donald Watson (founder of the Vegan Society) wrote in The Vegan magazine (Summer 1989): "Our present President, Arthur Ling of Plamil Foods Ltd, has since devoted himself with true dedication to meet our needs. Now that sales have built up, others – who might not have the same humanitarian principles at heart – have joined the bandwagon. We would do well when we do our shopping to remember who risked all in the early days in this difficult field of enterprise." In a letter in May 2003, Donald Watson says that he has remained loyal to Plamil over the long period from 1965 and regularly purchases Plamil concentrated soya milk to the exclusion of other brands.

Dietician Sandra Hood (Dietary Consultant to the Vegan Society) says in The Vegan magazine of Summer 2001:
"The calcium intake of vegans tends to be slightly below the recommended optimal amounts according to the Department of Health (based on conventional diets!). However, the body adapts to lower intakes and because as vegans we exclude meat from our diets, this encourages our bodies to retain calcium so our needs may be lower than omnivores."

Dr. Julian Whitaker says:
"In only two generations, the rate of hip fractures in the U.S. has quadrupled, and it is currently one of the highest in the world. Americans are also near the top of the chart of dairy consumption. Would someone out there please tell me why we keep telling our children that dairy foods strengthen their bones? Excess protein intake – not only from milk but all animal protein sources increases the need for calcium to neutralise acidic protein breakdown products, destroying bone in the process. A lifetime of a high-protein-diet usually eats away at our bones."

Dr. Gina Shaw says:
"The calcium-depleting effects of proteins are not lessened, even when large doses of calcium are ingested. What must be remembered is that calcium is found in all foods grown in the ground and that they supply a sufficient amount of calcium to meet the requirements of both growing children and adults. Animals consume the plants and absorbs the calcium – THAT’S WHERE THE COW GETS CALCIUM!"

The Vegan Society paper "Dairy Products and Human Health" says:
Osteoporosis: Animal protein (found in milk, meat, and other animal-derived foods) causes calcium to leak out of bones. (This is to neutralise the acidity caused by the protein, and the calcium is then lost in urine). Populations who consume the most animal protein (and the most milk) have higher rates of osteoporosis. Plant proteins do not have this effect, and there are plenty of vegans sources of calcium."

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says:
"Age-related bone loss may be more attributable to excess calcium loss than to inadequate calcium intake".

The Vegan magazine (Summer 2003) says:
"Less Risk of Osteoporosis: In a study by ARS Western Human Nutritional Research Center, Davis, California, vegan volunteers formed new bone at a significantly faster rate than the omnivore volunteers even though the omnivore volunteers were taking in more calcium than the vegans."

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Cross-reference: Nutrition and Health