Milk, a drink we have all come to enjoy and drink on a fairly common basis. Milk is the ingredient behind most of our food. This delicious beverage is served to our kids at their school lunches with the popular “Got Milk?” slogan behind it. We’ve all wondered, is drinking milk really that good for you?
We’ve all heard the benefits about strong bones and protein, but is drinking this delicious snack really that good for you? Is it all that it is caught up to be? In this article we will be discussing the benefits and disadvantages of drinking milk using scientific research. At the end of this article all the sources used will be available, and we will do our best to eliminate any biased sources to give you a fair conclusion. Is Drinking Milk Really That Good For You?
Is Drinking Milk That Good For You? – Brief Nutrition of Milk
Let us take a look at 2% fat milk, a fairly commonly used milk.
Milk in general will have similar nutrition give or take a few calories based on the type (skim/whole, etc.).
For 2% milk we are looking at about 120 calories for a 1 cup serving of milk loaded with 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 12 grams of carbohydrates.
Milk also has the benefit of giving you nearly 1/3rd of your calcium recommendation per cup at 286mg per cup, and some other vitamins like vitamin B12, Vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorous, and potassium. Milk is a fairly good item nutrition wise giving a fairly rounded balance for your daily needs.
Milk’s Advertising Campaign
According to Reader’s Digest Canada, milk had a solid advertising campaign starting from the 1950’s and stated that people in Sweden on average drunk about 2.5 glasses of milk everyday, and now those swedes are down to just less than one glass per day in 2019.
The purchasing of this famous product has declined over the past years, citing Reader’s Digest, “Sales have dropped across Europe—by 20 per cent over the past decade in Sweden, and by about 30 per cent over the past 15 years in the United Kingdom”(Lisa Fields).
Milk’s advertising campaign has always touted stronger bones and an irreplaceable part of your diet, let us fact check that right now.
Is Drinking Milk That Good For You? – The Truth About Milk
To start off with this paper, I want the reader to know basically unbiased facts. We will be mainly using sources from the National Institute of Health, and Harvard’s School of Public Health, both incredibly reputable sources.
Harvard takes a very strong stance on milk’s calcium content stating, “It’s not a news flash that calcium is key for healthy bones”(Harvard). However, Harvard also reiterates that, “high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer”(Harvard). While they make no stance to deny that calcium will help bone development, they do note that recently studies have shown that a large amount of dairy + calcium intake can lead to different cancers.
Harvard further states that you can obtain calcium from many sources other than milk such as vegetables or just a daily multivitamin. However, Harvard fails to bring much more into the dairy discussion as how it can be incredibly useful in diets for bodybuilders. We will discuss further about how this can affect athletes in this article later.
The National Institute of Health however gives a firm rebuttal to Harvard’s statement of the increased risk of cancer instead stating that milk actually, “protects against colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, gastric cancer, and breast cancer”(NIH). The National Institute of Health further says that evidence milk increases cancer is inconsistent. Additionally, the National Institute of Health further crushes Harvard’s argument by stating that milk in a way has little to no effect on a normal person’s diet as they age, and the few adverse effects reported are easily outweighed by the supposed benefits of milk.
Benefits of Milk
The benefits of milk are often controversial due to some arguing about if the benefits are actually worthwhile or just placebo. In this section we will just cover most of the known benefits of milk in an unbiased way to help place emphasis for the next part where we will discuss big negatives of milk.
One of the big benefits of milk is the calcium within allowing the bones to become stronger according to webmd.com. Additionally, since all milk is fortified with Vitamin D is allows calcium absorption to increase. Drinking milk is also incredibly important in childhood to allow the bones to grow quickly, however it is seen more as a preventative measure for adults to drink milk to help their bones not brittle and break down.
MedicalNewsToday provides very insightful benefits of milk in the body, such as the high potassium levels lowering the risk of ischemic heart disease by 49%. Milk due to its high levels of Vitamin D can help treat seasonal depressive disorders caused by low levels of Vitamin D in the body. Milk also has been shown to reduce the progress of osteoarthritis, which is degenerative joint disease.
MedicalNewsToday also makes light of an important vitamin in milk called Choline, which is shown to help sleep. Infact, MedicalNewsToday published such a great article, I recommend you read it seperately from this to help gauge your opinion. MedicalNewsToday essentially outlines every single vitamin and mineral and how it helps your body, which is very important in you deciding if it is worth it for you to take.
Negatives of Milk
While we have seen many of the benefits of milk in overall nutritional value compared to say soda or water, let us take a look at the negatives of milk. For starters, milk is a beverage that many people can’t actually take due to lactose intolerance or allergies to it. This can result in asthma attacks or horrible vomiting/diarrhea. According to Dr.Robert M. Kradjian in the article “The Milk Letter: A Message To My Patients,” found on Procon.org states, “I reviewed over 500 of the 1,500 [scientific] articles [on milk]… None of the authors spoke of cow’s milk as an excellent food, free of side effects and the ‘perfect food’ as we have been led to believe by the industry. The main focus of the published reports seems to be on intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children as well as infections such as salmonella… In adults the problems seemed centered more around heart disease and arthritis, allergy, sinusitis, and the more serious questions of leukemia, lymphoma and cancer… “
This is a big part of the negatives towards milk. Dr.Kradjian is stating something easily overlooked, we have viewed milk as this superfood for the longest time when in reality it isn’t. Sure, it has good vitamins and minerals in it that help supplement a diet, but it is far from a utopian meal replacement.Infact can cause tons of problems in the human body, not to mention you’re drinking whatever that mammal’s body produces such as toxins, etc.
Milk has always been advertised as a staple in the american diet, but nowadays people are starting to live without drinking it everyday, and finding benefits from it.
Milk For Bodybuilding and Athletes
However, it seems that a lot of these negatives affect mainly people that drink milk and live a normal lifestyle routine without bodybuilding or being an athlete. While nothing is wrong with that, for many of us bodybuilders we learn to eat lots of protein and lots of that protein is easily found in dairy. Luckily for us, a more recent February 2019 article published by bodybuilder Peter ‘Big Cat’ Van Mol who has published many supplemental and nutritional articles about lifting chimes in with a very intriguing viewpoint.
Van Mol quickly shares some information about milk and bodybuilding citing that Clancy Ross and John Grimek both used milk as a staple in their diet to gain muscle fast. Van Mol stated himself milk was one of the best supplements he used to gain 35 pounds in 10 months.
The bodybuilder quickly brings up some stunning facts such as how important calcium is in bodybuilding. Van Mol says, “But it plays a critical role in performance as well. Too little calcium and you can’t relax your muscles. Bad relaxation, makes for less potential energy and so on and ultimately for less than satisfactory contraction. Bad contraction equals bad workouts and no growth”(Van Mol).
While we have covered a lot in this article about the benefits of calcium on bones, he is stating something many of us forget, that calcium isn’t only a mineral or vitamin for bones, and it is essential to good weightlifting. Van Mol additionally adds milk is a very easy food to find your protein and calories in to bulk easier on at a cheap price. If you need to gain weight for health reasons or muscle, milk is a fast,cheap, and good way to do it. Van Mol’s article really summarizes that for fast recovery, good variety of proteins and nutrients that promote muscle growth, and a good thing in your diet to get big and strong, milk is hard to replace, especially at the low price it is produced at.
Well, to say the least this has been one rollercoaster of an article. To conclude everything, some studies have shown that milk has been increasing risks of cancer and have had negative health effects. However, the National Institute of Health has said these studies were all inconsistent. Additonally, most benefits of milk outweigh those negatives.
We later learned that there is way more to milk than just it strengthens bones. We learned how important the protein is, how it helps your muscles activate and recover. Lastly, we figured out it is a good part of the diet. Milk is definitely is better than a sugary soda or cake.
Overall, it seems like milk is not the super food we were once taught it was. However, it is far from being the worst thing you can consume, in fact it is far superior than eating junk food or drinking soda. Milk is good for you and can help a lot. Milk can especially help if you’re an athlete or bodybuilder. However, it is by no means the Utopian super food it was advertised as.