Yesterday, over brunch, Michelle and I were talking about whether milk is good or bad for you. Lately there has been so much hooha over milk, and whether it is indeed good for you.
Unless you are lactose intolerant, most of us drink Cow’s Milk; and we have grown up believing there are is an array of benefits to this delicious white liquid. And we are probably not wrong believing that: milk is a great protein source as well as a carbohydrate source, with a wonderful blend of both whey and casein; allowing the protein to be absorbed immediately as well as over a longer period. It may be high in sugar (approx 12 grams) but it is actually low on the glycemic index, so it won’t spike your insulin. It sounds like a muscle builders drink of choice eh?!
However, recent research indicates that Cow’s milk might actually be detrimental, causing the opposite effect of what we want.
The main reason we are told to drink milk from childhood is because of it’s high calcium content. Calcium is stored in our bones, so we need calcium in order to have strong bones. But if you think in black and white, our body cannot even naturally absorb the calcium in Cow’s milk. All the milk we buy from the grocery store is fortified with Vitamin D. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking, our body cannot absorb calcium without Vitamin D, because if there isn’t enough Vitamin D, our body cannot make Calcitrol (active form of Vit D in the body), and thus will steal calcium from the bones (blah blah blah). So doesn’t that make you think that maybe osteoporosis and rickets and all these bone deteriorating diseases have been prevented not because of milk but rather because of Vitamin D being added to fortify milk. Ever since milk has been fortified with Vitamin D people seem to think that milk is indeed the curing factor. There are other ways can get calcium: eat yogurt, kefir, cheese and other products which are made from milk but are not milk itself.
If you think about all mammals on earth, they all drink milk right? Yes you’re right, they do, but ONLY at birth, then they never drink milk again. Even in humans, a mother produces milk and then stops lactating. Isn’t that an indicator that milk should not be consumed for the span of your life?
I did a little reading, and learned that all animal proteins acidify the body pH. So when you drink milk your body actually takes calcium from your bones to restore it’s pH balance…isn’t that causing the opposite effect? Now, just to let you know, yogurt doesn’t have the same acid properties as Cow’s milk and has a whole bunch of health benefits (hehe can you tell I am ALL for yogurt).
Also, the nutrient content in Cow’s milk is designed for a baby calf, while a human mother’s milk is designed for a human baby. So naturally speaking, consuming Cow’s milk seems wrong in so many ways. So is milk bad for you? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone has that answer right now, but with all this new talk of milk being bad, makes me think that maybe people who drink a lot of Cow’s milk should try to cut down. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
And on the bright side there are tons of other options:
Soy Milk is a good alternative and a good muscle builder. It doesn’t have quite as much protein as Cow’s milk, but still has a fair amount: about 7 grams. I know many dudes I have spoken to, will never touch soy milk because of it’s estrogen properties; but apparently it’s great for women because it is linked to breast cancer prevention. So Hey ladies! Let’s drink up!
Almond (my favourite) and Rice Milk are another two options. They aren’t quite as high in protein, or calcium for that matter, but they are a good substitute nonetheless. Just make sure you either take calcium supplements or you’re eating lots of yogurt, cheeses, and/or kefir.
We need around 1000mg of calcium a day. So however you decide to do it should be fine. Just remember to get enough Vitamin D as well 🙂