MILK, Does A Body Good (Or Does It?)

milk-fracture

When I was growing up, milk was a staple in my daily food supply. I would generally have a glass of milk at least three times a day. I was required to drink this because it was “good for me” and helped my bones and body grow and strengthen. Milk was considered an excellent source of protein and calcium. (It also went very nicely with cookies and cake!!)

Fifty six years later, I continue to hear this same mantra. Is it true, or has it been so indoctrinated into our thinking that its efficacy is assumed to be valid? Do the health benefits of cow’s milk outweigh the potential health risks?

UNDERSTANDING HEALTH BY APPLYING COMMON SENSE:

What is the function of milk? Humans and animals create this as a source of nutrition for newborns. The molecular structure of milk is specifically designed for each species including humans. As the gastrointestinal tract matures, mothers begin to wean their young and transition their diets to other food sources for long term growth and development. This “rule” is followed by ALL species except humans. Following the laws of common sense, why would we consider drinking milk beyond the weaning period a healthy practice let alone choosing the source of milk to come from another species (most commonly cows?) Calves thrive off this source, but do humans? The answer may surprise you.

OUR BELIEF SYSTEM:

There is no doubt that most people believe milk is important because it provides essential calcium to strengthen our bones and reduce the chances of fractures as we age. How surprised would you be if I told you that cow’s milk has been proven to increase the chances of fracture as we age? The mechanism to explain this is quite simple. Blood PH has a very narrow range for survival. It is between 7.35 and 7.45. Foods (in general) are either acidic (PH = 0-6.9) or alkaline (PH =7.1-14.) Protein found in processed milk (pasteurized and homogenized) is acidic.  If we do not provide our bodies with good sources of alkaline foods the blood PH levels become too acidic. With the PH range for survival so narrow, the body protects itself by taking calcium from within our bodies (specifically the bones and other organs) and uses it (an alkaline mineral) to bring the blood PH back within safety levels . Using calcium from the bones over time leads to osteopenia (early decrease in bone density) and ultimately osteoporosis (advanced loss of bone density.) Interestingly, statistics show that countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products overall have the lowest incidence of bone fractures. 

Amy Lanou Ph.D., nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C., states that:

“The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost nonexistent.”

 Milking cows are also injected with antibiotics and a genetically engineered synthetic growth hormone (known as rBGH {bovine growth hormone}) to increase milk production. When humans consume this milk it elevates a hormone in our bodies (known as IGF-1 {insulin growth factor}) that has been associated with increased risks for breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. These findings were published in the Harvard University Gazette (“Growth Factor Raises Cancer Risk,”) in April of 1999.

Does all this mean each and every person must give up all milk and dairy products to achieve good health? This would be unrealistic. Instead, why not consider reducing the quantity and frequency of milk consumption and other dairy products in favor of plant based products to help alkalize the body and strengthen the skeletal system? This, in turn, would likely reduce the risk of events that could lead to various diseases and other fatal outcomes.

Maybe we need to consider trading this milk mustache

Aracely-Milk-Mustache 2

With this vegetable and fruit smoothie mustache

Green Mustache 2

To achieve better health.

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51 comments

  1. I have recently given up milk, having looked into it and found it that despite being told it’s good for us out whole lives, it’s probably not. Milk is produced by businesses, and businesses have an objective of making money. There is no objective of truly considering and making the customer aware of what is best for them and their families. I now use coconut or almond milk 🙂

    I have lots of nutrition / wellbeing bits and bobs on my blog, I would love for you to take a look!

    http://brewsker.com

    Like

    1. Most billion dollar industries are likely to have some “dark side” to their businesses or business practices. This is why the consumer needs to be willing to educate themselves with all the wonderful resources now available. People like milk! I am a believer in lifestyles based on realistic moderation to satisfy individual needs while providing good nutrition to maximize individual potential. It seems to me that this approach will attract the largest numbers of consumers to improve the health of ALL nations.

      I have already gone to your site and have offered several comments. You offer good quality information that most people would find interesting AND benefit from. I plan to return to gain further insight into your approach for healthy living. Thank you for sharing your perspective and opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I agree with realistic moderation. There is no point constantly denying yourself what you want and constantly feeling hard done by! Thank you for all your comments!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What do you think of the almond and cashew milks?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are better options for overall health, but do not replace the implied value of cow’s milk. In other words, these are healthy products and offer great sources of multiple minerals and vitamins, but are not good alternatives for healthy sources of absorbable calcium. In fact, many of the almond milk products have fortified calcium added to simulate the nutritional value of milk. In addition, store purchased almond milk typically has chemical ingredients that may create gastrointestinal symptoms. If you like almond milk, it is easy to make and provides cleaner nutrition than most store bought products. As long as an individual does not suffer from tree nut allergies, this would be a good product to consume for improving dietary habits. As for calcium, I remain an advocate for assorted green vegetables, canned sardines and salmon, bok choy, broccoli, kale, chinese cabbage, organic tofu,(although controversial because of its phytoestrogen properties,)and organic edamame.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you very much.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Always a pleasure. Thank you for asking your question. This helps other readers get answers as well.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have a beaut for you when we get to over-the-hill exercises!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. No need to keep me in suspense. Feel free to share.

              Like

  3. I have a friend who works for the FDA. The stories she has about our milk supply are scary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing this. People assume the FDA’s sole responsibility is to protect the consumer. The politics behind various governmental agencies impede their ability to accomplish this goal. This is why the consumer needs to listen to ALL SIDES of any story to make a better informed decision for themselves. We can’t assume that doctors or governmental agencies operate with altruistic motives in all cases. Greed and temptation sometimes interferes with good judgement and integrity.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is insane! I never thought that would be the case!
    How mad is that!
    I don’t drink LOTS of milk but I am not afraid of it as it were.
    I shall take this information and go with it I think.
    Lattes are now out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Moderation, moderation, moderation. I believe we should be able to enjoy all foods, but do so intelligently. Life is not about sacrifice; it is about learning to maximize joy, good health and happiness. Reducing the quantity of damaging foods will NOT take away from these factors especially as you continue to learn to enjoy healthy eating!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely 90/10 should work. Earn your naughty foods by being sensible and active.
        I wish I knew that many many years ago!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post made me sigh. First I am a rehabilitated milk addict. And I mean it seriously. I have cut down to the point of drinking 1% with my morning coffee. But it is a cup of milk with a dash of coffee. Doc, it is ok for you to post this. I have 9 herniated disks & have been diagnosed with DISH spine. My doctor says I can drink all the milk I want. In my mind I tell myself that can’t be true. Your post has opened my eyes. O.O

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for allowing me to post this. For those readers unclear what DISH is, it stands for Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis. It is a condition that causes calcification of a ligament (anterior longitudinal ligament) that connects the individual spinal segments anywhere through the spine. On x-ray viewing its appearance is described as “candle wax drippings from vertebrae to vertebrae. The result is diminished range of motion. The cause of this condition is idiopathic which means UNKNOWN in doctor lingo.
      Although there is not conclusive evidence suggesting milk can exaccerbate this condition, common sense would suggest not to increase unwanted calcium deposition into soft tissues (ligaments) of the body. I would disagree with your physician regarding his suggestion to drink all the milk you want. I disagree for all the risks (not just abnormal ossification of ligaments in your case) associated with large quantities of milk consumption.

      You have quite a health history background. With 9 herniated discs you may want to reconsider your goal of winning the Olympic gold in 2016 in the weight lifting category: clean and jerk! 🙂

      Thank you for sharing this publicly. This is a story the public can gain good perspective from when following health care recommendations that don’t pass the “common sense” test.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your welcome. I still “treat myself” to that morning cup of coffee because it adds so much pleasure to my life. But I have curbed my consumption of milk. Thanks for clarifying this. Regarding the Olympics, I was really focused on the Pommel Horse. lol Thanks for confirming my suspicions. I appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re a good man for letting me share your story publicly. As long as that morning treat brings you happiness, I would encourage you to enjoy every last drop. This is all part of learning and understanding that eating healthier does NOT mean hating food choices. It means making better tasting, better quality food choices about 80%-90% of the time leaving less healthy options available about 10-20% of the time. Pretty realistic in my opinion.

          Like

          1. Very realistic. Thank you so much, wanted to ask you for a long time, didn’t have the courage. Then, I arrive at your page and there was the subject waiting for me. The man upstairs works in mysterious ways. Thanks

            Liked by 1 person

            1. You never need to hesitate. You are always welcomed to ask questions you may have. I may not have all the answers, but I will do my very best directing you to sources and qualified people to help you satisfy your questions. This is why I chose the field of comedy, I mean health care

              Liked by 2 people

  6. I live in cow country, NEPA, as you know, but I do not subscribe to the heavy milk drinking some of the folks I know subscribe to-I drink animal milk sparingly, mostly on my cereal. I know I can use Almond Milk for that, and I once did. I need to revisit that habit. Two things I cannot give up are my butter (a must in my house), and ice cream, my kryptonite, but I eat a whole lot less of them both than I used to on the farm. A whole lot!!!

    BTW: We drink only 1% milk. Is there a difference in risk when the milk fat percentage is lowered?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reducing the fat in milk does not reduce the potential health risks. Remember, I am NOT a proponent of giving up foods your really enjoy. It is more about reducing the quantity and frequency. The 80%/20% or 90%/!0% (healthy to non healthy) seems to satisfy most needs while improving the health of the body for most individuals. If you love it you shouldn’t have to give it up!! 🙂

      Like

  7. Great post Jonathan, I I think a lot of us grew up thinking milk was essential. We haven’t had cows milk in our home for years as we drink Soy milk but there is a lot of debate about that as well. I try to bring calcium in through leafy greens, almonds etc. A balance diet is always the answer, as you state.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am still a fan of edamame, tofu and soymilk (even with the phytoestrogen controversy) as long as the source is ORGANIC. It is a natural food product that requires minimal processing (as soy milk.) These sources offer another variety of protein the body can absorb well. I simply make it a smaller part of my protein intake along with eating only organic chicken, egg whites, turkey and wild caught fish.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I do not drink milk and didn’t even as a child. The only way they could force it down me was to fill half the glass with chocolate. Maybe that is why I have fallen on pavement twice and not broken a bone. I don’t get all those growth hormones. I usually take my calcium in pill form. Gee maybe I have been doing the right thing all these years and didn’t know it. Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on and commented:
    I have hated milk ever since I was a baby. Maybe I knew something others didn’t. Interesting article about milk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to see your body made a wise decision creating distaste for cow’s milk. Thank you for passing this message on to your OVER 500 followers. Congratulations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you and you are welcome! I had to sit inside every day at recess because I refused to drink my milk. Finally my mom called the school and said look she is allergic to it and no sense loosing a monitor who should be outside just to babysit my daughter who is not going to drink that milk. I was about 5 then. she had trouble with bottles too. I had to take something to calm me down and force it down. I am not allergic to it, just refused to drink it and at 5 I was quite stubborn already. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. About the time I started wearing reading glasses I started having a hard time digesting milk, I had cut back over the years but finally came to the point where I just couldn’t consume it anymore…funny how your body will talk to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pain and Pleasure; the two motivating forces in life that cause behavioral changes. I find it interesting that even when the body SCREAMS to change behavior, we find the ability to override our corrective behavioral mechanisms and continue to inflict damage upon ourselves. This is a classic finding in depression.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Again, you’ve posted something of great significance to ponder and research. Thank you! I’ve recently given up dairy but am quite lucky not to have a nut allergy, so I consume organic almond and soy milk.

    I also read that spinach, if cooked, will diminish the amount of oxalic acid which normally reduces the amount of calcium absorbed by the body. So, spinach appears to be a good source of not only vitamins but calcium, as well. As long as it’s cooked, right? I just read some contradictory findings out there, that it can get confusing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oxalic acid and phytic acid interfere with the bodies ability to absorb calcium. By getting calcium from various sources the body is able to meet adequate demands. Cooking does reduce the oxalic acid, but also kills the healthful enzymes in the raw food. All this means is, you should consume BOTH cooked and raw. There is always contradictory findings. In my opinion the best solutions are achieved by trial and error. Create a dietary habit of various foods prepared various ways and see:
      1. How you feel?
      2. What an annual blood chemistry profile looks like?
      3. See if the frequency, intensity and duration of illnesses reduces?
      4. What your body weight, Body Mass Index and lean muscle tone measures?

      These are good basic gauges to measure the health of a lifestyle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for always being so thorough and so logical! Haha… of course, eat both cooked and raw spinach 🙂 I could’ve had a V-8 (although I like making mine myself since the canned ones are salty). Thanks again for being the voice of common sense! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I still remember my primary school text books demanding to drink milk as it is or was an indispensable part of a balanced diet. I believe it would have been, if the cows were nurtured in the proper way..
    I replaced my milky tea in the morning with a cup of fenugreek-fennel tea

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wise decision to replace milky tea and milk with fenugreek-fennel tea. I’m not convinced drinking another species milk chemically configured for that species digestive system makes any sense to consume as part of a balanced diet even if the cow was nurtured properly. If our digestive systems were not designed with the enzymes needed to properly break down any substance, it is my belief we were not supposed to consume that substance. It just makes more sense to provide nutrients healthful not stressful to the body under normal conditions. I understand people like to enjoy desserts filled with unhealthy ingredients. This is why I stress a BALANCED approach by eating 80%-90% healthy and 10%-20% unhealthy. Realize, green grapes, onions, dark chocolate and raisins are healthy products for humans and LETHAL for dogs. There digestive systems were not designed to assimilate these nutrients and instead toxify the liver and kill the animal We must begin to understand whether it makes sense to consume a product or not. If we then choose to consume it, at least we can live with the consequences.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ☺Thank you for your detailed reply.. a lot of information. .

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Quite eye opening! The Dairy Council sure did a good job of promotion. I still remember the slogan: “Milk. It does a body good”. I guess not so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you. I can’t think of a major industry that doesn’t spend millions of dollars promoting their industries often at the detriment of the public. The Dairy Industry, Big Agriculture, Big Pharma and Big Banking have all been implicated in unethical illegal activities for self gain that have cost the consumer irreparable harm. This is why the consumer MUST take greater responsibility for their own health. We must begin asking “WHY” more often!

    Like

  15. YES FOR SURE! I think it’s a great idea to replace the milk moustache with the fruit and veg smoothie moustache. And also like to replace dairy products with plant-based alternatives like soy milk. Alternatives are not as readily available in the USA as they are in the UK though unfortunately so I’ve had to return to eating normal yoghurts even though I know my gut doesn’t appreciate it too much, but I have to eat my muesli with something! Any suggestions of where to buy almond/soy/plant-based yoghurt?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great question. I have never seen almond or soy made into a yogurt.

    Yogurt is one of the exceptions to the milk story based on it being a cultured product. It must, however, be organic. I buy the plain organic greek yogurt to increase the protein while keeping the sugar at bay. Even those with a lactose intolerance can usually consume yogurt without issues.

    Like

  17. I was completely surprised and couldn’t believe what I was reading. Like most people, I do believed the notion that milk strengthens our bone. But now, I need to rethink and can’t give up drinking milk completely, can we?

    Thanks for sharing!
    Arcane owl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t believe we need to give up ANYTHING WE ENJOY completely. It is a matter of living the 80%-90% quality nutrition and 10%-20% poorer sources of nutrition lifestyle. This helps people realistically make fundamental changes in dietary habits without depriving themselves. The benefits in making this choice are substantial.

      If you drink milk because you believe it is essential for bone health, this is not accurate. You can eat plant based sources which provide excellent bioavailable calcium without the potential negative side effects that milk creates.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your enlightening suggestion. I would like to know, which are the enriching plant based sources of calcium.

        Thanks 🙂
        Arcane owl

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Since I believe in variety, I’ll give you an assortment to choose from:

    1. Kale (1 cup contains 180 mg)

    2. Collard Greens (1 cup contains over 350 mg)

    3. Blackstrap Molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg)

    4. Tempeh (1 cup contains 215 mg)

    5. Turnip Greens (1 cup contains 250 mg)

    6. Hemp milk (1 cup contains 460 mg)

    7. Tahini (2 tablespoons contains 130 mg)

    8. Almond butter (2 tablespoons contains 85 mg)

    9. Great northern beans (1 cup contains 120 mg)

    10. Soybeans (1 cup contains 175 mg)

    11. Broccoli (1 cup contains 95 mg)

    12. Raw fennel (1 medium bulb contains 115 mg)

    13. Blackberries (1 cup contains 40 mg)

    14. Black Currants (1 cup contains 62 mg)

    15. Oranges (1 orange contains between 50 and 60 mg)

    16. Dried apricots (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)

    17. Figs (1/2 cup contains 120 mg)

    18. Dates (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)

    19. Artichoke (1 medium artichoke contains 55 mg)

    20. Roasted sesame seeds (1 oz. contains 35 mg)

    21. Navy beans (1 cup contains 125 mg)

    22. Amaranth (1 cup contains 275 mg)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I think (and you can correct me if I’m wrong) that milk issues exist in the States, but not in Canada. I’m not sure about the health benefits, but from everything that I’ve read, our milk here is safe. Like your banking system, your food system is different from ours…and not always in a good way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The milk issues you refer to deal with bovine growth hormones, less humane conditions and pesticides that our cows consume. The fact that milk is an unnatural source of nutrition remains the same for both countries. Unnatural in the sense it contains proteins that our bodies can’t break down properly and contains sugar sources the break down and become inflammatory agents within our bodies. It is also unnatural to drink milk beyond weaning let alone drinking another species source of infantile nutrition. The nutrients found in milk can also be found in more appropriate foods that offer more absorbable sources without the digestive complications.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But…but…milk is so tasty! 😉

        I used to drink a TON of milk but I’ve drastically cut back because as I’ve gotten older, my body hasn’t reacted well to consuming it…I suppose that’s for a few very good reasons that you mentioned.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s all about creating that balance between want and need. That is why I always state that people should be able to consume (within reason) anything they like to avoid the emotional pangs of deprivation. It simply needs to be reduced to approximately 10-20% of the food intake. Most people agree with the concept; it is the discipline they have a hard time with.
          For the record: I had a coffee flavored ice cream sundae with chocolate syrup, pecans, semi sweet morsels, reeses peanut butter cups and chocolate sprinkles last week. This dessert was 2000 calories and loaded with detrimental sugar and saturated fat. It was delicious and will satisfy my sweet tooth for 4-6 months. By limiting the frequency, it limits the hormonal shift that creates the cravings so many have a difficult time dealing with.

          Like

  20. Love the information you share!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I greatly appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

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