Holy cow. This dairy debate is still going on. Amazingly. I’ve conducted the research and found supporting evidence for both sides. That’s right. Scholarly research has proven both sides right… and wrong. So with that, my article here could be the shortest summary ever with some sort of headline like this: “EVERYONE WINS, THERE ARE NO LOSERS. RAINBOWS. UNICORNS. DAFFODILS! YAY.”
It’s totally not like that though, so check it out. Here are a few facts that should help you make the call. And disclaimer, I’m all for babies drinking mama’s milk. That makes sense. That’s how we’ve done it since the dawn of time. But after that… well… let’s take a peek:
Top 3 Arguments For Milk As A Part of a Well-Balanced Human Diet
- Milk contains important fatty acids important
Sort of true. Dairy does. Including some milk products. But it really depends on the process. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which arises as a metabolic by-product of rumen hydrogenation and which is found in foods of animal origin, has been proposed to possess potent health promoting properties, but much of this research has been conducted in experimental animals, not humans. [Read the full article here]
- Milk is the best source of calcium
This is why mom made us drink calcium, right? Well, again, it’s sort of true. Stats show that calcium absorption from milk isn’t superior or inferior to any other source of calcium. [Get the full scoop and the abstract here]
- Chocolate Milk is a great post-workout drink
Again, depends on who you talk to. Studies do show us that chocolate milk has resulted in higher mixed muscle postexercise muscle protein fractional synthetic rate with lower whole-body proteolysis and synthesis. In other words, yes, the human body can technically recover faster when chocolate milk is used as a post-workout beverage as opposed to other drinks. [Get the insider on the chocolate milk study here]
Top 3 Arguments Against Milk As A Part of a Well-Balanced Human Diet
True. Mostly, anyway. There’s a much higher ratio of protein enzymes in cows milk and studies show in early childhood a link between feeding cow milk formula and childhood obesity. Makes sense though, a baby cow grows 4x it’s birth size in the first year. [Read the article here]
Again, mostly true. Known as one of Paul Chek’s 4 “White Devils” (Sugar, flour and table salt are the other three for those keeping score at home…) cows milk has an enzyme that isn’t broken down well by a lot of human’s digestive system. It has a lot to do with where you grow up though. If you’re exposed to dairy at a young age, your body will tend to build up an enzyme that can process the lactose. That’s why North Americans have a bit more tolerance to dairy than other populations that aren’t exposed to it right away. Here’s a good explanation of this theory – Check it!
There was an interesting study of oriental subjects and milk digestion in the 60s where the results may or may not shock you… [Check the study out here]
- Milk will kill you. Or at least cause cancer, heart disease and diabetes and is responsible for a host of other terrible things like cheering for the Oilers or the Leafs. Okay, I’m joking about that last one…well, kinda.
Well. Sadly, this is a legit concern. Milk has been linked to some of the Here are some of the studies:
Milk & bladder cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer
Milk and diabetes
Milk and heart disease
To sum it up, there’s some evidence that some forms of cancer, diabetes and heart disease are linked to milk consumption. There’s no conclusive evidence it’ll make you loco enough to start cheering for the leafs or the Oilers though…
Both sides make fairly mild statements about whether or not you should keep dairy in th ediet or not. So, I’m going to take a stance. I like to think of it from a very practical standpoint.
We already discussed how milk is important to growth and development. We touched on the lifecycle of a cow. We haven’t mentioned the fact that humans are the only species in the animal kingdom that drink the growth nectar (milk) of another species well into adulthood, but that says it all right there.
The enzymes in cows milk are suitable for a cow, not a human. Babies should drink their mother’s milk, but after the initial year or so I truly don’t believe that it’s a necessary part of that child’s development. Humans should drink more water. The sugar that is packed in milk is dangerous. Lifestyle concerns have to be addressed when obesity is at such a peak…
So in case you haven’t guessed my stance yet.. no, I don’t believe humans should drink milk. There are plenty of alternatives that won’t promote sickness or worse out there and it’s of my opinion that we happened to let an industry bully us into thinking that we needed something for good strong bones. How about broccoli? Calcium all over. Vitamin D? Well, eat a nice balanced diet of fresh fruits, protein, vegetables and a host of whole foods and we’ve got it made. Milk is unnecessary.
Mooooo-ve on over dairy, we don’t need you any longer.
Thanks for takin’ a rip through this with me.