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Johnson says she supports daily milk consumption by schoolchildren because it is such an easy source of calcium. "Certainly, it is possible to meet one's calcium needs without dairy products. However, for the most part, calcium in other foods is not as readily available. For example, it would take 10 cups of broccoli to equal the calcium in one cup of milk. ... I'm not saying it isn't possible to get calcium and other nutrients without dairy, but I will tell you that when you look nationwide at food consumption the data show that that those kids who are not consuming dairy products on a regular basis are not meeting their calcium needs."

And even Turner agrees with the pro-dairy camp, that calcium is probably needed for bone health. But she says that "a cup of cooked collard greens can give you the same amount of calcium as a cup of milk," and she says that the collard greens are a healthier source of calcium. She also recommends calcium-fortified orange juice, which she says "offers calcium that is almost as absorbable as calcium in milk."

Although the milk debate may seem confusing, Kava says there is a very clear take home message: "In a nutshell, the key is moderation in everything. When people say one food or food group causes or cures everything, a red flag should go up, because it is very unlikely to be true. The whole discovery of vitamins set us up to expect magic bullets -- there are none."

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