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Drinking three or more glasses of milk a day may actually increase health risks, according to a new study.

Drinking three or more glasses of milk a day may actually increase health risks, according to a new study.

Odds are when you were growing up, you heard, "Drink your milk and your bones will grow up big and strong" on more than one occasion from your parents. And up until recently, that was the prevailing school of thought, with one scientist after another vouching for the bone health benefits of milk's essential nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D. But a new study may throw all of that conventional wisdom to the curb, with the finding that maybe milk isn't so good for your bones after all.

The Washington Post reports that researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have released their findings from a new study indicating that milk consumption may actually raise, rather than reduce, risks of bone fractures for women and mortality in both men and women. The data, published in the British Medical Journal, is pulled from two surveyed groups of adult Swedish men and women that reported on their daily levels of milk consumption.

According to the study, drinking three or more glasses of milk per day heightened mortality risk (linked to cardiovascular death) in men compared to those who drank less than one glass. Additionally, drinking three or more glasses of milk increased chances of both early death and bone fractures in women. These levels of milk consumption were found to be associated with likewise high levels of oxidative stress, typically found as an indicator for cardiovascular disease, aging and cancer.

But if milk is so naturally healthy, and its hormones help foster growth, why would it present any kind of negative risks? According to Harvard nutrition professor David Ludwig, it may be another case of "too much of a good thing."

"In some situations growth is a good thing, but in others it's not," Ludwig wrote in a 2013 paper. "To be experiencing life-long over-stimulation of growth pathways could in theory increase risk for cancer."

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