Milk, is it really a healthy product?
People began to use milk as a source of nutrition about 10 years ago. Although the animals whose milk people drink are cows, goats, sheep, horses, buffaloes, yaks, donkeys, and camels, cow’s milk is one of the most palatable and popular types of mammalian milk.
It has never been practiced to use the milk of predators on a large scale, as carnivores excrete milk with an unpleasant taste.
Cheese was used by Arab nomads traveling through the desert during the Neolithic period with milk in a bag made from the stomach of an animal.
Fast forward to the 1800s and 1900s when our relationship with dairy cows changed. Populations have increased and the importance of calcium and phosphorus for bone health has become clear.
Milk became the subject of ongoing public education campaigns, doctors presented it as a rich source of minerals. Doctors have dubbed milk an “essential” component of a child’s diet.
The industry responded to the demand, and milk began to come from cows raised in overcrowded, dirty barns. A lot of cows, a lot of dirt and little space are sick cows. Epidemics began to accompany a new form of unsanitary milk production. Dairy farmers are trying to sterilize milk and also test cows for various diseases, but problems persist; thus pasteurization became common after 1900.
Why is milk processing so important?
Bacteria and viruses can be transmitted from animals to humans. Pasteurization Pasteurization involves heating milk to temperatures that microorganisms cannot tolerate.
There are various forms of pasteurization.
1920s: 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes, 1930s: 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds, 1970s: 280 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 seconds.
What you need to know about milk production today
Cows carry calves for nine months and give milk only when they have recently given birth, just like people. In the past, dairy farmers allowed cows to follow a seasonal reproductive cycle, and calf births were synchronized with new spring grass.
Thus, the mother on free grazing could replenish her nutrient reserves. Grazing is healthier for cows because it provides fresh grass, fresh air, and exercise. In contrast, industrial production involves feeding grain to cows. The more grains, the more acidity in the stomach. The development of acidosis leads to ulcers, infection with bacteria and inflammatory processes. Antibiotics are prescribed to compensate for these processes.
Dairy producers today inseminate cows just a few months after previous births, with minimal time between pregnancies. When cows give milk for more than one year, their immune system is depleted and the quality of the milk deteriorates. Not only is this uncomfortable for the cow, it increases the estrogen content of the milk.
Estrogens can stimulate the growth of tumors. Research over the past decade has linked cow’s milk to an increase in prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers. A new study by scientists from the National Cancer Institute found 15 estrogens in milk from grocery stores: estrone, estradiol, and 13 metabolic derivatives of these female sex hormones.
Estrogens can stimulate the growth of many tumors, even at surprisingly tiny concentrations. In general, skim milk contains the least amount of free estrogens. However, it does contain hydroxyestrone, one of the most dangerous of the metabolites. There are other sex hormones in milk – “male” androgens and insulin-like growth factor. Many studies have linked elevated concentrations of these compounds to cancer risk.
The more pregnancies, the more calves. Calves are weaned within 24 hours of birth on most farms. Since bulls cannot be used to produce milk, they are used to produce beef. The meat industry is a by-product of the dairy industry. Heifers are replaced by their mothers and then sent to slaughter.
The number of dairy cows in the US dropped from 18 million to 9 million between 1960 and 2005. Total milk production increased from 120 billion pounds to 177 billion pounds over the same period. This is due to the accelerated multiplication strategy and pharmaceutical assistance. The life expectancy of cows is 20 years, but after 3-4 years of operation they go to the slaughterhouse. Dairy cow meat is the cheapest beef.
Milk consumption patterns
Americans drink less milk than they used to, and also prefer less fat milk, but eat more cheese and much more frozen dairy products (ice cream). 1909 34 gallons of milk per person (27 gallons of regular and 7 gallons of skimmed milk) 4 pounds of cheese per person 2 pounds of frozen dairy products per person
2001 23 gallons of milk per person (8 gallons of regular and 15 gallons of skimmed milk) 30 pounds of cheese per person 28 pounds of frozen dairy products per person
What you need to know about organic milk
Sales of organic dairy products are increasing by 20-25% every year. Many people believe that “organic” means the best in many ways. In a sense, this is true. Although organic cows should only be fed organic feed, farmers are not required to feed grass-fed cows.
Organic cows are less likely to receive hormones. The use of growth hormone is prohibited for organic farming. Hormones increase the likelihood of developing mastitis, reduce the life expectancy of cows, and promote the development of cancer in humans. But organic milk is not synonymous with healthy living conditions for dairy cows or humane treatment.
Organic dairy farmers and conventional farmers tend to use the same breeds and growing methods, including the same animal feeding methods. Organic milk is processed in the same way as regular milk.
What you need to know about the composition of milk
Cow’s milk is 87% water and 13% solids, including minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus), lactose, fats, and whey proteins (such as casein). Fortification with vitamins A and D is necessary since natural levels are low.
Casomorphins are formed from casein, one of the proteins in milk. They contain opioids – morphine, oxycodone and endorphins. These drugs are addictive and reduce intestinal motility.
Habituation makes sense from an evolutionary point of view, milk is necessary for baby food, it calms and binds to mom. Casomorphins in human milk are 10 times weaker than those found in cow’s milk.
What you need to know about the health effects of milk
Most of us consume mother’s milk after birth and then switch to cow’s milk. The ability to digest lactose declines around age four.
When a large amount of fresh milk enters the gastrointestinal tract, undigested lactose enters the intestines. It draws out water, producing bloating and diarrhea.
Humans are the only animals that have thought of using milk from another species. This can be disastrous for newborns because the composition of other types of milk does not meet their needs.
The chemical composition of different types of milk
While we are told that drinking milk is good for bone health, the scientific evidence says otherwise.
milk and calcium
In many parts of the world, cow’s milk makes up a negligible part of the diet, and yet calcium-related diseases (eg, osteoporosis, fractures) are rare. In fact, scientific evidence shows that calcium-rich dairy products actually increase the leaching of calcium from the body.
How much calcium we get from food is not really that important, rather, what matters is how much we store in the body. The people who consume the most dairy products have some of the highest rates of osteoporosis and hip fracture in old age.
While cow’s milk may be rich in certain nutrients, it’s hard to argue that it’s healthy.
Milk and chronic diseases
Dairy consumption has been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. Nutrition can alter the expression of genes involved in cancer development. Casein, a protein found in cow’s milk, has been linked to various forms of cancer, including lymphoma, thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.
What you need to know about milk and the environment
Dairy cows consume large amounts of food, produce large amounts of waste and emit methane. Indeed, in California’s San Joaquin Valley, cows are considered more polluting than cars.
14 calories of fossil fuel energy is needed to produce 1 calorie of milk protein
10 calories of fossil fuel energy is needed to produce 1 calorie of milk protein
1 calorie of fossil fuel energy is needed to produce 1 calorie of organic soy protein (soy milk)
Individuals who drink more than two glasses of milk a day are three times more likely to develop lymphoma than those who drink less than one glass a day.
Whether you drink milk is up to you.