Is Milk Good Or Bad for Health ?

Milk has been around for thousands of years. By definition, milk is a nutrient rich fluid that female mammals produce to feed their young. The most commonly used milk comes from cows, buffalos, sheep and goats. Milk consumption is always a hotly debated topic in the nutritional world, so you might wonder whether it’s healthy or harmful. This article covers all the important aspects of milk consumption

Nutritional facts (100 ml milk)

  Cow milk (full fat) Cow milk (toned) Cow milk (fat free) Buffalo milk (toned)
Carbs 5 g 4.7 g 4.2 g 5.1g
Protein 3.8 g 3.3 g 2.9 g 4 g
Fat 3.5 g 3 g 0.2 g 5.5 g
Calcium 150 mg 102 mg 74 mg 201 mg

Other facts about milk

Carbs

  • Carbs in the milk are mainly in the form of a simple sugar called lactose, which constitutes around 5 % of the weight of milk

Protein

  • Protein in milk can be divided into two groups based on their solubility in water. Insoluble milk are called casein (80%) and soluble protein are called whey (20%)

Fat

  • Whole milk, straight from cow is around 4% fat. In many countries, marketing of milk is mainly based on the fat content. Whole milk is 3.25% fat, whereas reduced fat milk is around 2% fat. Low fat milk has around 1% fat

Health benefits of dairy milk

  • Bone development
  • Appetite control
  • Good source of quality protein
  • Heart health
  • Mental growth and development
  • Boosts energy and immunity
  • Helps the muscles build
  • Rich in anti oxidants
  • Reduces stress and anxiety

Milk processing methods

Pasteurization

  • This is the process of heating milk to destroy potentially harmful bacteria that are occasionally found in raw milk

Homogenization

  • In raw milk, fat globules have a tendency to stick together and float to the surface of milk
  • Homogenisation is done by heating the milk and pumping it through narrow pipes at high pressure
  • Purpose of homogenisation is to increase slelf life and give it a richer taste and whiter colour

Best time to have milk

  • Best time to have milk is in the evening or before bed time
  • Milk contains enzymes that help in reducing sleep
  • Milk is a source of trptophan, an essential amino acid, which means it is not produced by the human body. Trytophan is a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is converted to melatonin. Both of these are known to enhance sleep and help in relaxing the brain

Quality and benefits of milk depends on these factors

  • Cow’s age
  • Cow’s diet (grass fed is the best)
  • How happy the cow is
  • The environment where cow is
  • Additives given to the cow to increase milk supply
  • Whether the milk is pure or adulterated

Side effects of consuming milk

  • Acne problem
  • 60-75% people in the world are not able to consume milk properly
  • You may be lactose intolerant
  • When consumed in excess, can increase the risk of fracture
  • May lead to constipation
  • Acidity, indigestion

Milk and Hormones

  • More than 50 different hormones are naturally present in cow’s milk
  • These are hormones like prolactin, lutenizing hormone, estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, growth hormone etc
  • With the exception of insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), hormones in cow’s milk have no known side effects on humans
  • IGF-1 can also be found in human breast milk and is the only hormone known to be absorbed from cow’s milk. This hormone is responsible for growth and regeneration

The dangerous fact

  • Cattle are fed with a number of steroids and hormonal injections to boost the delivery of milk production
  • The injected oxytocin reaches the human body through consumption of milk or any other dairy product causing side effects
  • This is one of the reasons for onset of early puberty among girls, development of breasts in males and lack of testosterone production due to hormonal imbalance
  • The genetically modified diet also leads to hormonal imbalance in both men and women

Milk is filled with nine essential nutrients that benefit our health. These are calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin D, B12, A, riboflavin and niacin. In other words, when it comes to nutrition, milk packs quite a punch and you don’t need to drink litres of milk to accrue these benefits. Just one glass of milk daily is sufficient and gives a lot of macronutrients. Simple guidelines however should be followed to ensure that you get the best benefits and avoid any side effects from milk consumption.

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