There are people in the nutrition industry that have an agenda. I’m sure most of you remember various campaigns, documentaries, fad diets, and old wives’ tales about what is good to eat and what is the worst for you, and ever since internet blogging and Netflix documentaries became a thing, it’s gotten worse over the years. It is almost impossible to separate fact from fiction, and it only gets more convoluted the more research is getting done. So, I am only going to utilize peer reviewed scientific research from groups that are not affiliated with specific food industry companies. I will do my best to avoid agenda for the benefit of anyone reading this blog series.
Is Milk Good for you or Bad for you?
If you’ve grown up in the 80’s and 90’s then you will remember the “got milk?” marketing campaign. Spearheaded by the dairy industry and the US Government, the campaign claimed that milk gave you strong bones, prevented things like heart attacks, and offered important vitamins and minerals. However, there have also been conflicting messages as of this year that tell you that milk is the devil. It makes you fat, creates cruelty to animals, and that you should avoid it completely. So, what is the truth? Is milk good, or the devil?
Let’s address the nutritional content in general. Here is the nutrition content for one cup of basic Vitamin D milk.
8 g of fat
12.32 g of sugars
7.69 g of protein
276 milligrams (mg) of calcium
205 mg of phosphorus
322 mg of potassium
124 IU of vitamin D
Ok, so milk has high-fat content, protein, and some sugar. It also contains a bit of Vitamin D, some potassium, and calcium. There are other ways to get those vitamins and nutrients, as well as fats and protein that are necessary for a daily diet, so skipping dairy is not the end of the world, but it the sugar levels is not as high as a can of coke.
Does Whole Milk Make You Fat?
In a pediatric study, the results of whole milk vs skim milk were surprising, but when you look at the whole picture it makes sense. While this isn’t the whole picture, they did notice that children who drank whole milk gained less weight than the children who drank skim milk. The children who drank skim milk more likely ate two cookies at snack time. Children who drank whole milk at snack time had only one cookie. The conclusion was children who drank whole milk ate less out of satiety through the natural fat that was in milk.
Does Whole Milk Prevent Bone Damage?
No, it does not prevent bone fracture damage. A study done in Sweden with a data pool of both elderly men and women concluded that the increased intake of milk isn’t really correlated with fractures. They also admitted the possibility of an increased risk of bone fractures, but that was as far as the conclusion went.
What Other Risks Does Milk Have?
Anything in excess can be bad for you, and truth be told not everyone can handle lactose the same way. Milk isn’t a good option for people with digestive sensitives or skin conditions. Also, there has been a risk of ovarian cancer in women and prostate cancer in men with an excessive calcium intake.
Does Milk Have Any Benefits at All?
Yes, milk does have benefits, but not like the campaigns would have you to believe. The increase of vitamin D helps with the production of serotonin, a chemical that decreases depression and regulates hormones. It should also be noted that higher potassium, as well as lower sodium, can decrease the risk of heart failure and high blood pressure. There are even antioxidants found in milk that can promote brain health according to one study in Kansas.
Overall, Milk is not evil, but it shouldn’t be the core of your diet. It can be an adequate supplement for Protein, Vitamin D, or Calcium alongside other sources. So, if you want a piece of cheese, eat a piece a cheese. It won’t kill you. But don’t treat it like the cure for bone cancer either. If you want it every day, the safest route is most likely one glass of milk a day if you aren’t lactose intolerant.