Milk....It Does A Body Good?

March 18, 2014   56 Comments

When you think about healthy eating as much as I have, you begin to question everything you have been told.

Need Milk?

Cow’s milk is one of those foods that was considered necessary for my growth when I was a child. I poured it on cereal, bought it at the school cafeteria, drank it with my meals, and kinda liked it.

I buy milk for my own children and they drink it every day. They need it for strong bones, right?

”Humans have no nutritional requirement for animal milk, an evolutionarily recent addition to the diet.”

states Harvard professors, Walter Willett and David Ludwig. Turns out that Willett did a study that found that high milk consumption in the teen years (13-18) didn’t translate to a lower risk of hip fractures when people were older.

There is a group of people that believe that cow’s milk is the perfect food....for baby cows. They think that humans should let the cows off the hook and stop milking them for our own nutritional purposes.

So maybe you don’t need milk. It turns out that you can get calcium from lots of different foods such as nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Just ask a vegan.

Could milk actually be harmful?

Milk has been linked both to increased cancer risk and reduced cancer risk. It does have protein and other nutrients that our bodies need so it isn't a waste from a nutritional perspective.

The USDA recommends limiting consumption of all calorie-containing liquids EXCEPT reduced-fat milk. The recommendation is that most age groups drink 3 cups daily.

Here is the rub. Milk is a calorie-containing beverage. It may not be soda or juice, but it doesn’t come without a cost. If you are overweight, an extra 340 calories of milk might be harmful to you.

Then there is sugar-sweetened low-fat milk. I believe my seven year old loves his chocolate milk. Is it okay to add sugar to get kids to drink the protein, calcium, and other nutrients?

Many different cultures around the world don’t drink milk because they lose the ability to produce lactase (enzyme for breaking down lactose) after they are weaned from breast milk. Western Europeans continue lactase production while 90% of African and Asian peoples can no longer digest milk after they are babies (Lactose Intolerance). A significant portion of the planet never even touches the stuff!

After thinking about milk for years, I have come to the conclusion that it shouldn’t be let off the hook so easily. If you drink a lot of milk, look hard at how many calories you are consuming. Could you get your calcium from other sources (like kale or broccoli)?

As we all know, drinking our calories is a fast way to lose track of them. You are not satiated by 100 calories of milk the same way you are by a 100 calorie apple because milk doesn’t have any fiber.

Milk can do a body good in moderation. I’m not sure 3 cups a day is moderation.

Please share your thoughts on milk.

Other posts you might like:


Can A New Drink Change Your Life?

Recently, a reader sent me a strange message about Almond Breeze. She wrote that it had CHANGED HER LIFE!...

Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges: A Little Cheese Goes a Long Way

These Laughing Cow Cheese wedges are an interesting take on cheese.....

Get Free Email Updates! Yes please!

First 20 Comments: ( See all 56 )

I think cow's milk is a habit with some people. "My parents always had it in the house so I must need it too." I never have milk in the house anymore & use almond milk when I need "milk." And everyone is fine :-)

Full disclosure--I am a vegan. I agree with all you have written about calf growth fluid ie milk. But I was shocked that it was followed by a review of cheese by Laughing Cow. What is cheese? Cheese is concentrated milk. Everything you aid about milk applies to cheese. It is glue in the arteries. I make nut based cheeses at my house.

Growing up we were blessed with a family cow. All 3 of us drank unpasteurized cow's milk until age 12. At that point we switched to water or tea and some orange juice. While the milk was calorically dense (Jersey cow) I believe it is the reason none of us suffer from colds, flus, or allergies.I believe that milk has a place in the American diet but in limited amounts for adults. I no longer drink any milk and my beverages calorie free.

As an adult I only use milk in cooking IF I must. Otherwise I use almond "milk" for most recipes and in cereal. I never coaxed my kids to drink milk, either. We don't need it. Calcium is in many other foods.

I had to laugh at Rita's comment. I am not vegan but she makes a great point.

You know, I find this very interesting!

A lot of regular users of essential oils strive to eat and consume as cleanly and naturally as possible. The whole point is to avoid (or at least reduce) the chemical onslaught our bodies endure from pharmaceuticals, household products, etc. these days.

But here is what I find so interesting. I belong to many Facebook groups consisting of essential oil users (newbies and veterans alike) and they're obviously full of people asking for advice on which oils to use for a myriad of issues and conditions - ranging from allergy congestion to very serious diseases and disorders. One of the first things I often see suggested for the "what oils would you try?" question is to ditch the milk and dairy and see if there isn't improvement.

There are countless testimonials from people who ditched the milk and experienced relief and healing from issues of pain, etc. - things I would have never dreamed were connected at all to milk and dairy.

As a life-long milk lover, I'm starting to believe your assessment is true - it's fairly well unnecessary and can do a body more harm than good!

Milk was a "must" when we were growing up too ... "drink your milk!" - today, we don't drink milk with our meals, but do use it in cereal, in coffee and eat cheese and yogurt. Like everything, moderation is key. I also put some faith in the fact that WW does a lot of research & still recommends low fat milk in their health guidelines (although I DON'T like the artificially sweetened food WW sells.)

I never cared for cow's milk. all I use in my house is unsweetened Almond milk. If you're coming to my home for a cup of coffee, and only use cow's milk, then I suggest you bring your own.

I'm 62 and haven't drank milk since I was weaned. Mom said I just refused to drink it. My bones are fine.

Thanks for the info on milk.

It makes a lot of sense. My father many years ago back when I had my first child in 66 told me he read somewhere that in the animal kingdom the babies only drink mothers milk in the beginning, once weaned they never touch it again. Once human babies are weaned from mothers milk or formula, they don't need it anymore. Actually back then, my pediatrician told me not to worry that my son didn't want milk anymore after I got rid of the bottle. He said he can get calcium from other foods. Problem is today kids eat junk all day long. They graze on processed foods, so maybe they do need some milk? I also memember a woman on the Phil Donahue show back in the 70's talk about blue eyed blondes and allergys. She believed all blue eyed blondes were suseptable to the dark circles under the eyes (allergys). She traveled to the nordic countys to prove this point, but couldn't find any blondes with allergys. She finally found one, but found out the child was from America traveling....hahah. The milk in foreign countys is better, no hormones and not pasturized or homogenized. Adel Davis was the woman's name and she was a pioneer to healthy eating.

I don't sit and drink a glass of milk but I do use it in cooking and my cereal. I use 2% milk. I laughed at the cheese being right after what you wrote as well.

I never thought milk was bad and I have hear "drink your milk" but I loved milk !! And now at 71 years have to watch my chlestrol ! so I don't drink it as much but still like a trip to the refrigerator every now and then for a god cold glass of milk ! The best was hand milked fresh cow milk ice cold !! And he cream off the top was the best !! Can't get that any mmore !!

Uploaded on Sep 16, 2011

A presentation by Joseph Keon, Ph.D..

Americans are less healthy than citizens of many other countries that spend far less for healthcare. Much of the problem stems from poor dietary choices inspired by nutritional myths. Perhaps the biggest nutritional myth of all is that which says humans need the milk of a cow to be healthy. Joseph Keon, author of Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth about Cow's Milk and Your Health, will show how North Americans unwittingly sabotage their health every day by drinking milk, how our obsession with calcium is unwarranted, and that the inclusion of dairy products in the diet may increase the risk of serious diseases, including prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers, Crohn¹s disease, and osteoporosis.

A wellness consultant for more than 25 years, Joseph Keon holds fitness expert certifications by both the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas, and the American Council on Exercise, and is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He is past chairman of the board of directors for Dr. Helen Caldicott's Nuclear Policy Research Institute, and past member of the Marin Health Council, an advisory to the Marin County Board of Supervisors. He has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers internationally and has also appeared on local and national broadcasts, including Martha Stewart Radio, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, and ABC News.

Filming and editing by Dr William Harris M.D. on September 13, 2011 at Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse, Honolulu, Hawaii

Sponsored by: Vegetarian Society of Hawaii

Category Education

LicenseStandard YouTube License

Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Jan-Feb; 1(1): 12–16. PMCID: PMC2715202Acne, dairy and cancer

The 5α-P link

F William (Bill) Danby

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine (Dermatology); Dartmouth Medical School; Manchester, New Hampshire USACorresponding author.Correspondence to: F. William (Bill) Danby; MD FRCPC; 721 Chestnut Street; Manchester, New Hampshire 03104-3002 USA; Tel.: 1.603.494.5181 (Cell)/ 1.603.668.0858 (Office Main)/ 1.603.645.8628 (Back Office); Fax: 1.603.647.0017; Email:

Author information ► Article notes ► Copyright and License information ►

Received September 30, 2008; Accepted October 6, 2008.

Copyright © 2009 Landes Bioscience

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Go to:Abstract.A potent link to dairy seems to exist for three hormone-responsive glands. Acne, breast cancer and prostate cancer have all been linked epidemiologically to dairy intake. Although mechanisms postulated here remain to be accurately defined, the likely link involves Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 as a general stimulant, synergized by the steroid hormones present in milk. The IGF-1 may be either absorbed from milk, or stimulated by its ingestion, or both. The 5alpha-reduced compound 5alpha-pregnanedione (5α-P) present in milk is a direct precursor of dihydrotestosterone and may act through that pathway in prostate cancer, but 5α-P has also recently been shown to be capable of inducing estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, upregulating cancer cells' sensitivity to estrogen. The introduction of exogenous hormones and growth factors into tissues that have not evolved defensive feedback inhibition of their corresponding endogenous sources is postulated as a direct stimulatory threat to these organ systems, whether for hyperplasia or neoplasia.

Many articles about Dairy is Scary. Check it out.

I love cow's milk! As long as I factor it in to the calories of my meal, I think it is perfectly healthy. It annoys me how superior some people get about how they don't drink cow's milk anymore. Your almond milk or soy milk ALSO has calories. I find if I drink milk with a meal, I'm full faster and don't eat as much.

If you really wanted to get studied up on the link between animal bi-products and our health, then you might check out the documentary "Forks Over Knives". It is extremely informative and helped me to start looking at food and my diet in a whole new light.

I am a 63-year-old a thin, fit and healthy female who has drunk milk my entire life. I drink nonfat organic milk and I see it as a healthy snack. For less then a hundred calories I get 7-8 g of protein which gives, when paired with an apple or banana, a boost to my blood sugar that is immediate and sustained. With only 1 gram of protein and more then 30% fat, almond milk does nothing for me in that way.

I can't help it, there is NOTHING better than a glass of milk with peanut butter and crackers. I think its all in moderation and buying organic and ASH-free.

See all 56 Comments

Add a comment:


(required, never published)

© 2024