Debunking The Milk Myth: Why Milk Is Bad For You And Your Bones

Is milk healthy? The milk and dairy market has a huge following so it is safe to say that people believe it as a healthy drink. Milk is known to be rich in calcium and thus, aid in the development of bones. But are we right to say that milk is indeed healthy? 

A research in Sweden found that women who consume over 3 glasses of milk a day had almost twice the mortality over 20 years compared to those women who only drink one glass or none at all. Unlike what advertisements say, the research also found out that high milk-drinkers did not have improved bone health and had more hip fractures. In the same study, the researchers also found that fermented milk product such as yogurt and cheese decreased mortality and fractures among women.

D-galactose, a breakdown product of lactose which has been responsible for its pro-inflammatory effects have been the underlying cause of these negative effects, according to the researchers. Among several milk products, milk has much more D-galactose compared to yogurt and cheese. D-galactose is actually given to create animal models of aging.

Does cow’s milk give you the calcium you need?

The popularity of milk has been widespread and it is based on the consumerism targeted ads that popularized the belief that milk is rich in calcium, supports bone development and overall well-being. Fairly speaking, milk does have a significant amount of calcium. However, there have been several scientific findings of the detrimental effects linked to milk consumption. One of these very surprising findings is that not only do we hardly absorb the calcium in cow’s milk, it essentially increases the loss of calcium from our bones. Animal proteins acidify the pH level in the body.

This triggers certain biological reactions. In this case, calcium stored in the body can be used as an acid neutralizer and that is found in the bones. The same calcium that the body needs to strengthen the bones is utilized to neutralize the acidity caused by milk. That leads to deficiency instead of bone development. Thus, countries with the lowest milk consumption tend to have the lowest incidence of bone fractures in their population. So if your reason for drinking milk is to have stronger bones, perhaps you should assess if milk is indeed the right drink for you to take in.

The Detrimental Effects Linked to Higher Milk Intake

To debunk the myths that milk has been known to have, several researches and observational cohort studies across both continents found that higher dairy intake is linked to higher risks of prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, multiple sclerosis, and atherosclerosis. Casein, the primary milk protein has been found to promote cancer initiated by a carcinogen in experimental animal studies. Dairy protein has been shown to increase Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), which promotes cancers and has been found to promote increased cholesterol levels. Cow’s milk, which is the primary source of milk and dairy products, may be a trigger of type 1 diabetes through a process called molecular mimicry. Higher milk intake has also been linked to constipation, ear infections, acne, and has been cited as the most common food allergen in the world.

Cow’s Milk is for Calves

Most mainstream health practitioners ignore the studies that have found the detrimental effects of milk. Popular belief has been all about its calcium benefits. But apart from the acidity that causes milk calcium to be barely absorbed, the majority of people cannot adequately digest and absorb the supposed benefits of milk due to lactose intolerance. Milk is healthy as it is designed by nature for a specific drinker. A baby needs mother’s milk because it is designed by nature for babies. Do you ever give a baby cow’s milk? No. Doctors are even keen on telling mothers not to give their babies cow’s milk. Considering that fact, you know that a baby needs the best nutrients for it to survive but we do not give it cow’s milk because it is not good enough (or not good at all) for babies! Why then do we consider taking it as adults?  

Cow’s milk is healthy for calves. It is custom-designed for them. The creativity of humans and ancient survival needs caused this habit to be followed. Consider the fact too that cows aren’t hardcore carnivores that can easily defend themselves. Calves need cow’s milk at birth but stop drinking as soon as they are weaned. This same process happens to all other mammals. Only humans continue to drink milk even after they are weaned. Each species of mammal has its own milk, cows and humans are no exceptions. Their milk content varies according to size, species, and needs. Do you think it would be advisable for a cow to drink a white whale’s milk? Or a white whale to drink a human mother’s milk? Although these scenarios can be virtually impossible, theoretically speaking, if it is possible, it would not be advisable. Whales and cows have different bodies and biological needs. The nutrients that a cow can give to her calf cannot suffice for the needs of a human baby. A mother’s milk is the perfect nourishment for human babies, but it has a different nutritional composition compared to that of a cow’s milk.

It is important to remember that not everything commercials say are true and good for you. Yes, cow’s milk can be healthy but for who or what is it healthy for? The findings aforementioned can be shattering as majority of the human race has relied on milk for calcium. There are other calcium sources we can benefit from. Calcium can be obtained from health supplements as well as natural food sources such as leafy greens, legumes, fruits, and sardines. If you really like the taste of milk, you can settle for almond milk and soymilk. So when you try to think of strengthening your bones through milk, think again. In our quest for the perfect health, we should remember that product knowledge is very basic and that includes knowing the products that even mom recommended.

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References: (2016). Milk Nutrition Facts - Read More on Milk Benefits at Milk Unleashed. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 May 2016].

Listverse. (2014). 10 Weird And Untold Facts About Milk - Listverse. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 May 2016].

Vivian Goldschmidt, M. (2016). Debunking The Milk Myth: Why Milk Is Bad For You And Your Bones. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 May 2016].

LIVESTRONG.COM. (2015). Is Cow Milk Healthy for Humans?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 May 2016].

Science, L. (2012). Is Milk Really Healthy for You? | Nutrition. [online] Live Science. Available at: [Accessed 17 May 2016].

Thomas Campbell, M., Thomas Campbell, M., T. Colin Campbell, P. and Douglas Lisle, P. (2014). 12 Frightening Facts About Milk - Nutrition Studies. [online] Center for Nutrition Studies. Available at: [Accessed 17 May 2016].

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