Drinking milk continues to be an issue with controversy. This was not always the case, and many of us can remember being encouraged to drink milk as we were growing up. Today, while milk remains one of the most popular beverages in the United States, this is much less a settled issue. We will look into both the positive and negative aspects of milk, as there is a lot of discussion on whether milk is healthy or not.
If you were looking for the most concentrated nutrients in a natural food that promotes growth and cell maintenance, you would wind up choosing milk. The concentration of minerals, vitamins, protein and sugar found in milk provide all the nutrients you would want to promote growth and care for your body. Ounce for ounce, milk, clearly designed to promote growth in children, naturally does this better than any other compound. To replace the calcium provided in a glass of milk, you would have to eat multiple servings of spinach or other vegetables. The other nutrients in milk are equally concentrated in one place. Clearly, milk serves the purpose it is made for.
The fats and proteins in milk are a good source of energy, but milk without the fat is just as good nutritionally. Adults don’t need as many calories as growing children. Some studies have shown that milk lowers ischemic heart disease and strokes. Vitamin D, found in milk, has an effect of lowering the instance of cancer infection. Teenagers who need extra calcium for development are hard put to find a better source than milk for this level of calcium.
Possible aid in weight loss
Newer studies have shown that those persons who regularly include milk and dairy products in their diet tend to lose weight and maintain their weight better than adults that drink very few dairy products. For now it is unsure whether this is caused by their lifestyle or solely due to the addition of milk in their diet.
Additives and antibiotics
Milk comes from cows that are raised by the dairy industry. Often these cows are given unnatural additives and antibiotics to increase their milk output. These additives can be passed on to children and adults by drinking the milk. Local milk from small farms are often better because the cows are not exposed to these types of chemicals.
Many schools offer children flavored milk drinks. These drinks often have as much sugar as soda and discourage kids from drinking regular milk. While the dairy industry is claiming weight loss by drinking more milk, other studies show that adding more calories by drinking milk does just the opposite; if your body receives too much calories, it will add weight. A glass of milk has as many calories as soda and may not add any needed nutrients if one’s diet is already diverse enough to contain all required nutrients.
Potentially stimulated cancer growth
Milk is known to contain an insulin-like growth factor, while fine for children, has been shown to stimulate cancer growth in adults. The fat found in milk does increase blood sugar levels, and adults who add whole milk to their diet have been shown to have an increase in coronary heart disease. Many adults don’t like the taste of milk, and since there are other ways to obtain needed nutrients, there is no reason for these adults to take in several daily servings of milk.
Decreased iron absorption
Other issues with milk are its ability to block the absorption of iron from the digestive track. Women need more iron as adults than they do as children, and most women don’t get enough iron even in healthy diets. Drinking milk with every meal makes this even worse. Dairy sources such as yogurt or cheese are safer choices for many adults than milk.
One can be lactose intolerant; in this case you can have very unpleasant side effects when consuming milk. Luckily, studies have shown that even adults who are lactose intolerant can usually manage to drink half a glass a day. This means these adults can still receive some of the nutrients from milk. Because everyone’s body is different, it is advised to consult a doctor or dietician if you are lactose intolerant. When trying to determine the amount of milk your body can handle, start with consuming a small amount and stop increasing it once you are encountering negative side effect.
As you can see, the verdict on milk is still undecided. The case for or against milk might be decided in the future, as today’s children, who have taken in less milk than their parents, become older and can be studied compared to an older generation. This might give us new insights on the benefits or negative effects of drinking milk over several years. For now milk can be a useful addition to your diet, but make sure you don’t consume too much a day.