10 Real Facts About Milk – Cows Milk
A lot of people grew up drinking milk and can’t imagine not having it in their diet. Other people can’t stand it or have an intolerance.1 Love it or hate it, you need the real (good and bad) facts about milk.
In the United States alone, approximately 20% of children have an allergic reaction to cow milk (second only to peanuts in food allergens). In fact, it counts for one-fifth of all food allergies in the U.S. among children.2
The “Big 8” Food Allergens
- Tree nuts
The average American household consumes about 20 gallons yearly – factoring in the entire population. Since many people don’t drink it at all and others rarely, this would account for some households that consume that much in a single month.
Before you decide on what you’ll serve at your table, here are 5 pros and 5 cons about one of America’s favorite beverages (it comes in fourth place behind soda, bottled water, and beer).4 Naturally, this doesn’t take other dairy goods – such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and sour cream – into account. This is solely liquid milk.
5 Good Facts about Milk
- It contains calcium, potassium, B vitamins, and is often fortified with vitamin D.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) touts the benefits to your bones from the calcium in milk (you can find even more in cheese, yogurt, and leafy greens).5
- The majority of humans are deficient in potassium and milk is abundant in this vitamin necessary for heart health (other options are leafy greens, beans, and avocados).
- How you feel is often dependent on vitamin D and most cow’s milk is fortified with this crucial vitamin that keeps so many systems in your body running smoothly (the absolute best source is responsible exposure to sunlight for 10 minutes on bare skin each day).
- A good source of protein, milk is good for building strong muscles (eggs, beans, leafy greens, and seafood are other excellent ways to get the protein you need).6
5 Bad Facts about Milk
- The “does a body good” campaign was recently shaken when a study of more than 100,000 people in Sweden were followed for more than two decades. The results, published in the British Medical Journal, came as a complete shock to the medical community. Those who drank the most milk had the highest risk of heart disease and bone fractures.7
- Milk might not be the best choice if you’re looking to control your weight or lose weight. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association from Harvard found that milk consumption was tied to weight gain and digestive distress such as irritable bowel syndrome.8
- Casein, a pro-allergy protein in milk, has mutated with genetic modification of cattle. Where it once may have caused mild digestive discomfort to many humans, it is more powerful now. Researchers have discovered that modern day cow milk is pro-inflammatory, which can lead to immune system and metabolic malfunction.9
- Researchers with the University of Iowa’s Department of Pediatrics published a study in 2007 that outlined health risks of cow milk to babies and children. They found that children who drank the recommended daily allowance of milk exhibited difficulty absorbing iron. The authors stated that approximately 40% of infants given cow milk experience intestinal blood loss, which decreases iron levels even further. Calcium and casein inhibited the natural absorption of iron, increased urine output, and raised the risk of dehydration.10
- Multiple studies have linked cow milk consumption to a higher risk of several cancers (prostate and ovarian), diabetes, higher LDL cholesterol, and systemic inflammation. It may also cause a higher incidence of acne, constipation, and faster aging.11
Unless you’re drinking organic, non-homogenized milk, you’re likely getting a somewhat toxic soup meant to counter the horrible condition of commercially raised cattle. Milk on your grocery shelf contains all manner of hormones and growth factors meant to settle the cows and change their growing pattern.
There are other options than cow’s milk. If almond or coconut aren’t to your liking, try goat’s milk. Goats aren’t as “popular” so they haven’t been overbred. Their living conditions are still far better than most dairy cows and they don’t require the counter-measures for as many diseases. Sheep’s milk is also beginning to make its’ way into the organic markets around the country.
Yogurt hasn’t been linked to the same issues as cow milk so get your dairy there and with cheese. The manufacturing process and contents are far different with these products than the gallons in the cold section.
Whenever you feel “off,” remove a particular food (or food group) from your diet to determine the cause. You might be shocked at how many ailments are actually a previously unknown food intolerance. This is one of the biggest facts about milk – that it is the highest self-reported allergy in the world. This method may work for you if your system doesn’t seem to be functioning at peak.
If you’re a regular milk drinker and suffer from allergies, sinus issues, or other chronic irritations to your stomach or skin, lay off the moo juice for a couple of weeks and see how you feel.
The more you listen to your body, the better you’re going to feel.
1 Medical News Today: Lactose intolerance: What you need to know
2 AAP News & Journals: The Epidemiology of Milk Allergy in US Children
3 University of Nebraska: Allergenic Foods and their Allergens
4 Huffington Post: By The Numbers: What Americans Drink In A Year
5 Medical News Today: All About Milk
6 Today’s Dietician: Milk Proteins: Packing a Powerful Nutritional Punch
7 British Medical Journal: Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies
8 Journal of American Medical Association: Milk, Dairy Fat, Dietary Calcium, and Weight Gain
9 Healthline: What is a casein allergy?
10 University of Iowa: Adverse effects of cow's milk in infants.
11 Center for Nutrition Studies: 12 Frightening Facts About Milk