Some Facts About Milk
If you think about it, it is weird that we drink milk that has been made by other mammal bodies to feed their young. And for us to drink we have to squeeze out it of their body. The philosopher Aristotle said; that milk was “twice-cooked blood”. No wonder we have a complicated relationship with it. Later it is the subject of a lot of debate. Some people say it is essential to strengthening the muscles and powerful bones. But others say it can cause heart diseases and cause cancer.
So who is right? Is drinking milk healthy or harmful? And why do we drink it anyway?
It plays an important role in the life of all mammals, right from birth.
We started drinking it because it is super nutritious. It is rich in fat, sugar, proteins, and micronutrients like calcium and vitamin D. But we have an unusual relationship with the white stuff. Humans are the only ones that continue to drink it.
After we are weaned off our mother’s milk.
The biological reason why milk so odd.
When we are babies our bodies make an enzyme called lactase that helps us to digest lactose. It is a naturally occurring sugar in it.
But around 70% of humans lose that enzymes and ability to digest lactose when they get older.
So who are the 30% who keep producing lactase? It is mostly Northern Europeans who have farmed cattle for thousands of years and evolved to tolerate dairy it with the help of genetic mutation.
Whereas 95% of Asia haven’t adapted to tolerate dairy milk.
This means that drinking it would give them stomach cramps and nausea.
It has also felt them bloated. There is also a proven link between milk consumption and cardiovascular diseases. Because of the saturated fat content of the milk.
But you had have to drink one liter every day to have an increased risk of heart diseases. Another sometimes cited worried is the risk of cancer because of the hormones in the cow’s milk.
As we drink it when the cattle is pregnant. But scientist says estrogen is too low to cause health effect in humans. And the recent major study found no cause for the concern.
What we do know is that milk production is harmful to the planet and cause animal suffering.
If you drink a glass every day. You add 229 kg to your annual greenhouses gases emission each year.
It is the as same as driving a petrol car for 941 kilometers, 585 miles. Your consumption also uses 45,733 liters of water equals to 703 showers lasting eight minutes.
So should we just drop it altogether?
Well, what about nutritional value?
Just over half a pint of milk a day provides 350 milligrams of calcium for healthy bone developments between the age of one and three. But again when it comes to adult researchers aren’t sure if cow’s milk can help keep our bones healthy beyond childhood.
So can we get milk’s vital nutrients elsewhere?
A lot of people are turning now for dairy-free alternatives. Plants based milk use significantly less energy land and water. So they have a much lower environmental impact than dairy milk.
But most nondairy milks pale in comparison to dairy in terms of their nutritional value. Only soy milk can compare to cow’s milk.
Other types need to be artificially enriched to have a similar level of calcium and vitamins. And there is also the quest to develop lab-made milk.
Several startup companies have started making similar proteins in the lab to produce cow free dairy.
So, poison or power food?
Well, it is complicated. But remember dairy gives vital nutrients and you should add in your everyday diet. But also remember eating a good amount of calcium and leafy vegetables can also give the same proteins and vitamins. It depends on the everyday consumption as well as the dairy sources and medical history of the respective person. A balanced diet is always the best.