Milk: Does it Really Do a Body Good?
By Sara Butler
Unless you’ve been trapped on a desert island for the last couple of decades and just made it back to civilization, no doubt you’ve seen the plethora of milk advertisements out there telling you how good milk is for your body. But is it true? Does milk really do a body good or it is something you can easily get rid of in your diet? Here’s the truth about milk so you can decide if you want to keep it as a part of your diet or not.
Is Milk Good for Your Bones?
The notion that that milk is good for building strong bones and teeth is certainly one that has spread like wildfire. These supposed benefits are grounded in the fact that milk has calcium in it – about 300 milligrams per cup. The problem is many studies have shown a link between calcium loss and milk consumption.
The milk acidifies the body, as all animal proteins do, and calcium is an acid neutralizer. You know when you have heartburn you take calcium carbonate to neutralize your stomach acid? Same principle. Except when your body needs to neutralize itself it takes the calcium from your bones.
This might leave you scratching your head, but if you look at statistics from other countries with a low milk or dairy consumption you’ll see they have a low bone fracture rate too.
Milk is a Processed Food
The milk you buy at your market today is homogenized for safety. While drinking raw or unpasteurized cow milk isn’t advised, the homogenization process that milk goes through for safety actually alters the chemistry of the milk – making the acidifying impact of it in your body even worse. But unprocessed cow’s milk is still taken from cows that have been pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormone that increases their milk production. This, in turn, increases something called insulin growth factor, and if you drink cow's milk, that will be increased in your body as well. Increased levels of this factor have been linked in lab animals to cancer – so the real impact on humans is really unknown.
What Should You Do?
Not all products made with milk have this impact on your body. Kefir, yogurt, and sour cream are actually acid neutral – so you should include dairy products such as these in your diet, though you might want to go organic. You can also use milk substitutes such as almond milk to cook with or drink if you need milk. Rice milk, soy milk or cashew milk can be used as well.
There’s more to cow’s milk than meets the eye. It’s important to educate yourself to understand if cow’s milk is really the right choice for you and your family or if you’re better off without it!