”What are the key nutrients that dairy products offer, that other food groups don’t? “There is no one perfect food,” says Christopher Gardner, a professor and nutrition researcher from the Stanford Prevention Research Center. ” It is easier to get calcium from milk than many other sources. That is totally true. There are other ways to get calcium besides drinking milk. Some risks come from drinking too much milk.
To help understand the quandary, let’s break it down by the different types of dairy:
Regular Pasteurized Dairy
This means that the dairy has been treated to remove bacteria and has been combined to create a uniform mixture. Although this makes the dairy last longer, some vitamins and minerals are lost in the process. The pasteurization process of heating milk to high temperatures kills the live enzymes that are beneficial to humans and also break down the proteins in the milk. It does this by reducing the vitamin content and killing the “live and active” cultures. While milk is consumed in America for its calcium content, many vegetables, nuts, and fish like salmon or sardines contain more available calcium.
Dairy products that are sold in grocery stores are heavily advertised. This is often the case with products that have been heavily marketed to the public. It is usually a good idea to avoid consuming these products. Dairy marketing is specifically targeted at kids, those wanting to lose weight, and those at risk for osteoporosis.
Since milk is recommended for growth and given in schools instead of water, kids consume more milk than any other individual group. A study has found that full-fat dairy does not contribute to obesity as much as low-fat or chocolate dairy products. A 2006 Swedish study followed 230 families and found that children on a low-fat diet were 17% more likely to be obese. These children consumed more sugar to make up for the calories they weren’t getting from fat and had higher insulin resistance.
While all kids need healthy fats, milk is not the best nutrient source for them. Milk typically given to kids is reduced fat, which is not ideal. Some foods, like vegetables and certain types of fish, contain high levels of calcium that are easy for the body to absorb. Although human breast milk is believed to be the ideal source of nutrition for infants, it contains less calcium than an equivalent amount of Brazil nuts or olives. Eating vegetables creates an alkaline environment in the body, which helps the body absorb and retain calcium. (Milk, on the other hand, makes the body acidic).
You’ve probably heard that conventional dairy can contain moderate to high levels of growth hormone and antibiotics that aren’t properly disposed of.
Other food options marketed as healthy snacks for kids include cheese and yogurt. Pasteurization generally decreases the number of nutrients in food. In addition, many yogurts have high sugar content, which can offset any potential health benefits.
Raw, Organic, Pastured, Grass-fed, Full-fat Dairy
This dairy is a different type of animal. Probiotics have been demonized by the FDA because of the live bacteria they contain. I tend to investigate foods further when the FDA has given them a negative endorsement, as the FDA does not have a good track record of ensuring that dangerous foods (such as MSG, processed grains, and hydrogenated oils) are safe for us to eat.
Organic, raw dairy that comes from grass-fed sources contains more nutrients and live enzymes than pasteurized versions. Full-fat content helps to reduce the insulin spike and makes the calcium more available for the body to use. This type of dairy, in its fermented form, can be a good probiotic and calcium source. While fermentation does help break down lactose, the overall sugar content is still considerably less.
Raw milk that comes from pastured cows has not been treated or altered in any way and is therefore in its natural form. If you’re going to eat something, try to get the most natural form of it. Many people who are lactose intolerant can enjoy dairy in forms like butter and ghee because they contain almost no lactose. Dairy products like butter and ghee also contain good levels of healthy fats. Dairy products that come from grass-fed sources are natural and packed with nutrients. Most people can handle these products just fine.
What We’ve Been Told About Milk
We have heard many times that milk is a good source of calcium as well as protein and other nutrients such as vitamin D and potassium. Its the main champion? The federal government. Since the 1940s, milk has been advertised as a sure way to improve strength, health, and happiness. A government-commissioned poster from the Works Progress Administration era shows a white-clad couple playing tennis and golf while smiling broadly. The accompanying text touts milk as being beneficial for good teeth, health, vitality, endurance, and strong bones.
Dairy is still widely promoted by the government as a food source. It is featured on the “My Plate” guide as a food group. Even today, the U.S. The USDA and HHS suggest that dairy, including milk, is a necessary part of everyday meals. It is recommended that Americans drink three glasses of milk a day to meet their calcium requirements. But ultimately, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Healthy Bones Reconsidered
Let’s start with bone health. The evidence suggests that children who drink milk are taller than those who do not. Chan School of Public Health. According to David Ludwig, baby cows need dairy milk to grow quickly. Chan School of Public Health. He argues that the evolutionary purpose of Cortisol is to help animals that are at risk for predation to grow quickly. Being a baby buffalo on the grasslands, you would want to grow as quickly as possible to avoid being eaten by a lion.
A recent review from Ludwig and Harvard University endocrinologist Walter Willett in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that milk may not be as effective in promoting strong bones as previously thought. There seems to be a correlation between countries that consume high levels of milk and calcium and those with high rates of hip fractures. It’s possible that milk didn’t cause the fractures, but the rates of fracture are lower in populations that consume less dairy. This might help people see milk consumption in a new light.
Ludwig also mentioned that height can be a factor in causing fractures. “An extra serving of milk each day may cause a child to grow an additional centimeter during their adult years,” he says. ” Tall people are more likely to break a bone than people who are shorter. He says that the bigger they come, the harder they fall. Although milk may help kids to grow taller, they may also be more likely to have broken bones.
Researchers have found that milk is not the only source of essential nutrients for humans and that other food sources can provide these nutrients. The work of the researchers also went against the government’s suggestion of three servings a day of milk and other dairy products- something they say is too high.
levels of lactose intolerance are high, milk may not seem like an essential part of diets. Approximately 36 percent of Americans have trouble digesting lactose, which is a sugar found in dairy products, according to an estimate from 2017. Lactose intolerance can cause a range of symptoms, including bloating, discomfort, and stomach pain, though not everyone will experience the full range.
Lactose intolerance is more common outside of the United States. A large majority of the world’s population cannot digest lactose because their ancestors did not evolve the genes that allow them to do so into adulthood. “If you go back to ancient Greece and Rome, there’s no evidence that people were drinking milk.” According to Willett, milk and dairy is largely a Northern European tradition that is not seen in ancient Greece or Rome. There are some people, like those from Mongolia or the Maasai tribe, who continue to drink milk into adulthood, but the majority of the world’s population does not consume milk after infancy.
There are milk products available that do not contain lactose and the USDA has now included fortified soy products in their dairy recommendations. Other sources of calcium and protein are just as good as milk, experts say. While fortified plant milks are not necessary, they can be beneficial, according to Ludwig and Susan Levin. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is an organization that promotes plant-based diets and animal rights. Ingredients lists can vary, so it is important to check them for any added sugars and for overall nutrition content.
Prostate and Other Cancers
It is better to be cautious with drinking cow’s milk because there are more serious risks connected to it. Some studies suggest that consuming diary, including whole milk, may be linked to rates of prostate cancer, as Willett and Ludwig noted in their review. Dairy products may also be a factor in endometrial cancer, especially in older women who are not taking hormone therapy after menopause.
The biggest concern around milk is the growth hormones it contains. These hormones occur naturally because the milk comes from a lactating female cow. “Cancers are a disease of abnormal growth,” says Ludwig. ” But it is unclear what the consequences are of increased growth from long-term milk consumption in humans. There is a possibility that this could increase the risk of cancer, but it is not clearly proven and more research is needed.
The research on this topic is inconclusive, and the studies that focus on serious, chronic illnesses like cancer are often restricted by the time limits of more traditional studies.
Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Full-fat milk products contain more saturated fat and sodium which increases the risk of heart disease and other problems, so it is better to choose reduced- or low-fat milk products according to U.S. dietary recommendations. When it comes to the actual cardiovascular benefits or risks of milk products, the research is inconclusive. Although some studies have found that low-fat milk may help reduce blood pressure, these studies have been inconsistent. Additionally, neither whole milk nor low-fat milk has been clearly linked to heart disease or stroke.
According to Willett, consuming three glasses of full-fat milk per day would likely lead to an increase in saturated fat intake. 3 glasses of milk are too much “Dairy products contain cholesterol and saturated fat. Ludwig emphasizes the importance of considering what else is being consumed along with milk, as dairy products contain high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. For example, drinking low-fat milk might make children less full at mealtime, causing them to eat more of other foods.
He noted that instead of the traditional glass of milk and one or two cookies that kids might have eaten in the 60s, now they drink the fat-free milk with four or five cookies to go along with it. The trade-off of being overweight is very bad for your health. It increases your risk factors for cardiovascular disease and chronic disease.
The dairy alternative market has seen a large increase in popularity in recent years, most likely due to the rise in lactose intolerance. Although there are some good alternatives, many of them also have their own issues.
It is made by soaking and blending rice with water and other ingredients. Rice milk leads to a bigger insulin spike than regular milk does because rice is a grain and has a high glycemic index. Cheapness is not the only thing to consider when choosing a food, as it also needs to be nutritionally dense and not cause a large insulin spike. I don’t recommend it.
Soy milk is made with soybeans, water, and a variety of other ingredients like gums, starches, and fillers. Since it is not fermented, it has high estrogen levels, which is not healthy, especially for young boys and women who are of childbearing age. I highly discourage the use of soy milk.
I suggest making your own almond milk to avoid fillers and sugars, which is also a much cheaper option. If you buy store-bought versions, look for unsweetened versions. You can also make cashew or pecan milk easily by using the same method.
An alternative to almond milk that is very creamy and often made at home.
I believe this is the best alternative to milk available. Even though coconuts don’t contain actual milk, they do include a high-electrolyte juice that is helpful for restoring electrolytes after sickness. Coconut water is mixed with coconut fats and fibers to create coconut milk. There are healthy saturated fats and medium-chain fatty acids present in coconut milk, although they are present in smaller amounts than in coconut oil. This type of milk is a good choice for kids because it is higher in fat than regular milk and, when combined with a vegetable and meat meal, will provide more calcium. You can even try making your own!
Some people think that goat milk is a better alternative for human consumption because it is more similar to human breast milk. Some people tend to have less of a reaction to goat’s milk than cow’s milk, and there are goat cheese options available.
Uh yep, it’s a thing! We’ve tried it and my kids love it! Camel milk’s protein structure is different from dairy’s, and it has a whole variety of naturally occurring nutrients. You should give it a try, but I think you’ll want to do more research on it before you do.