Milk: The whole and the skim of it.

milkWe all remember that catchy slogan “Milk, it does a body good.” accompanied by actors and athletes spread all over magazines and television ads for a number of years. By looking at them you would think it worked miracles! The truth is milk can cause more harm than good. Recent studies have shown more than 75% of adults suffer from lactose intolerance. The few adults who can drink milk without digestive problems (gas, bloating, diarrhea) carry a gene mutation that allows them to produce the lactase enzyme. Lactase (not to be confused with lactose) is an enzyme that is required to break down milk.

Aside from the inability to digest milk, there are other factors that can also be dangerous to our health. To start, milk is a processed food. The processing steps remove not only the fat but also the Vitamin D which is stored in the fat. The manufacturer then adds Vitamins D & A back to the milk by a process called fortification.

Another health concern is antibiotics and hormones given to the cattle during the span of their lives. The excerpt below was taken from

A Swig of Antibiotics & a Slurp of Hormones
Dairy cattle get antibiotics regularly to treat mastitis (infected udder) so the antibiotics get deposited in their tissue. The antibiotics get expressed in the milk and then you drink it. Hormones are also given to meat and dairy cattle which ends up in your grocery store purchase. So with every bite of non-organic red meat or milk you are getting a nice dose of antibiotics and hormones.

These hormones and antibiotics, as well as other factors involved in milk and dairy consumption have been linked with an increased risk for cancer in some studies. In the journal, Nutrition and Cancer, a study appeared that looked at 3,334 cancer patients and 1,300 comparable control subjects. The cancer patient group included persons diagnosed with cancers of the oral cavity, stomach, colon, rectum, lung, breast, uterus, cervix, prostate, or bladder. As a group, control patients were more likely to report never drinking whole milk; cancer patients more often reported frequent consumption of whole milk. Other studies looking at “insulin growth factor 1” (IGF-1) have shown that IGF-1 is directly linked to increased cancer rates. Milk consumption increases IGF-1.

Where do we go from here? Thankfully there are a number of milk alternatives available such as almond milk (my personal favorite), rice milk and soy milk. It is important when drinking these alternative milks to verify they are not genetically modified (GMO). You can check The Non-GMO Shopping Guide for your favorite products. This website is a terrific resource for non-GMO products.

If you are not lactose intolerant and want to drink milk make sure you are drinking organic, non-GMO milk to get the most health benefits.



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