I’m sure you have seen the barrage of commercials and magazine spreads that encourage you to drink milk. It is a common assumption that milk can do your body a lot of good. Well, not really. Unless you are a cow. And if you stop to think about what cow’s milk is exactly, it is breast milk designed to nourish growing calves. And remember that even cows do not continue to drink milk after they have grown. In fact, can you think of any animal at all that drinks milk from another animal once weaned? The answer is clearly no. We learn from Saveourbones.com that,
Nobody can dispute that cow’s milk is an excellent food source for calves. Weighing around 100 pounds at birth, a calf typically gains approximately eight times its weight by the time it is weaned. But unlike humans, once calves are weaned, they never drink milk again.
Why Cow’s Milk Is Bad for Humans
Every mammal species produces milk that is specifically designed for the growth and well-being for that particular species at birth and until weaning. The way cow’s milk is designed is that it is meant to double a calf’s weight over a period of 50 days – definitely not something I want to happen to me in that length of time. It also contains nearly three times as much protein as human breast milk (which IS the one meant for humans).
In most cases, cows in dairies that produce the milk sold in groceries are pumped full of hormones to make them produce as much milk as possible, and given antibiotics to prevent any infections from occurring. And all these chemicals come with the milk that you drink. The only exception to this rule is raw milk that comes from free-range, grass-fed, organic cows. With raw milk, it is possible to reap some benefits from cow’s milk, but not everyone has access to or can afford this kind of milk, since it can be rather pricey. Plus, many people are lactose intolerant, and The Mayo Clinic says,
Lactose intolerance, also called lactase deficiency, means you aren’t able to fully digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products. It’s usually not dangerous, but symptoms of lactose intolerance can be uncomfortable.
What’s funny is that this is actually a normal condition for many people because our bodies no longer produce the lactase enzyme needed to break down lactose once we have passed the early childhood stage. Again, this is because mammals are not expected to drink milk after the normal breastfeeding period.
How About the Calcium Found in Milk?
Now, of course, our bodies still need calcium, and while it is a fact that milk has plenty of it, it also contains a high amount of protein – so high that it makes it nearly impossible for our bodies to absorb the calcium that is in cow’s milk. And what is worse is that you can’t actually receive the calcium contained in milk because the high protein content will cause your body to take calcium away from your bones to act as a buffer in your blood. Therefore, instead of gaining calcium, your body is losing some of it when you drink milk.
The best place to get calcium is from dark green leafy vegetables. If you are like most people, you probably aren’t getting enough dark leafy greens in your diet, and in this case, you can supplement with Juice Plus+ or another whole-food supplement to help you get what you need. Instead of cow’s milk, try almond milk as a good source of calcium.
How About Drinking Milk to Prevent Osteoporosis?
It is a common belief that you should drink milk to prevent osteoporosis. However, you might be surprised to learn that there is actually no evidence that suggests increasing your dairy consumption will make it less likely that you will develop this condition. In fact, the countries with the highest milk intake also have the highest rates of osteoporosis, and this probably due to the fact that your body takes calcium from your bones to deal with the milk proteins you take in.
For years now, we have listened when told to get plenty of vitamins, and have eaten tons of eggs, cheese, and drank many glasses of milk to get our recommended daily intake of calcium and Vitamin D. But over the past 20 years or so, we are finally waking up to the idea that this information is incorrect.
Vitamin D Is Key
Meanwhile, it was noted that with the decline in the number of milk drinkers, there has been an increase in the number of people experiencing Vitamin D deficiencies, especially in America where not everyone is out in the sun every day and some cover themselves in sunscreen. Between 2001 and 2004, the number of men and women getting adequate quantities of vitamin D was reduced by nearly 50%. Most people believe that this is due to the fact that people spend most of their time indoors, avoiding direct sunlight, and using a sunscreen with too high of an SPF. WebMD tells us,
Sun exposure is an easy, reliable way for most people to get vitamin D. Exposure of the hands, face, arms, and legs to sunlight two to three times a week for about one-fourth of the time it would take to develop a mild sunburn will cause the skin to produce enough vitamin D.
Why Vitamin D Is So Important for Our Bodies
But why do we need so much Vitamin D, anyway? The reasons are that it prevents many illnesses and body disorders and it is a building block for calcitrol, a steroid hormone in your body. Vitamin D works with other nutrients and hormones in the body to enhance the unending process of bone renewal. Calcitrol also becomes a part of healthy cells, and it helps with the process of tissue renewal. Unfortunately, our bodies cannot create vitamin D on their own. There are two main sources of Vitamin D – direct sunlight with strong UVB rays, and you only need to be in the sun a few hours a week, or eat foods that are high in Vitamin D such as fish and foods like orange juice that are fortified with Vitamin D.