Nutrition

Find out the Secrets of Drinking Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk has been a well-known source of nutrition and essential part of every day’s diet for many people. No doubt, it is still the same. However, recent studies have found that the same milk, which is overwhelmingly nutritious also have some harmful effects on the human body.

Sounds shocking. Isn’t it? Before accepting the claims, let’s first verify them by ourselves. In this article, we will study both pros and cons of drinking cow’s milk and understand if the claims are true.

Proven facts about pure cow milk

Nutrition facts of Pure Cow milk

Here is a screenshot from the Wikipedia page explaining the different nutrition and elements found in pure cow milk-

The chart clearly shows that milk is the highest source of Q protein after chicken liver. In fact, out of 26 essential elements, cow’s milk comprises 18 elements in abundance.

NutrientAmount per 244 gPercentage of Recommended Daily Amount (RDA)
Calcium276 mg28%
Folate12 mcg3%
Magnesium24 mg7%
Phosphorus205 mg24%
Potassium322 mg10%
Vitamin A112 mcg15%
Vitamin B-121.10 mcg18%
Zinc0.90 mg11%
Protein6 to 7 g (casein and whey)14%

In addition to these, pure cow milk is also a source of the following elements-

  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Iron
  • Vitamin K
  • Nniacin
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin

Fat content

Fat content differs from milk to milk. Whole fresh milk type holds most of the fats, which are:

  • Saturated: 4.5 grams
  • Unsaturated: 2.5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 24 milligrams

Health Benefits of Milk

Helps to control hunger

Drinking milk does not cause weight gain or obesity. Neither does it cause weight loss. As a result, milk consumption can help you control your hunger and provide the 18 essential nutrients at the same time.  Eventually, it can help you regulate your total fat consumption with unbalanced eating because of irregular hunger.

Improves bone health in children

Though milk is not associated with weight gain in adults, it indirectly increases a healthy level of weight in growing children. The calcium rich cow’s milk increases bone density in children whereas, casein and whey proteins improve the overall muscle development. In fact, experts have found that milk is better than giving your children calcium and protein supplements.

Enriches teeth and bone health in adults

Not just children but a glass of milk is the source for 30% of the total calcium requirements in adults. In addition, the potassium and magnesium minerals support the overall bone and teeth health as well. Let’s not forget the vitamin D, which is also 30% of the daily requirements for an adult. Vitamin D eventually balances the calcium and phosphorus in the human body. Overall, calcium, Vitamin D, and phosphorus balance in the body is essential to prevent dental cavities as well.

Prevents diabetes

Studies have found that a breakfast consisting fresh milk and a heavy carbohydrate diet can help reduce blood glucose all day.  The two high quality proteins (Whey and Casein) help you regulate the blood glucose and thus prevents at least 2 types of diabetes in adults. Ultimately, it improves your heart and kidney health to the great levels.

Prevents coronary heart diseases

Cow’s milk owns multiple ways to improve your heart health and prevent strokes. All the nutrients ensure a multi-dimensional balance that ultimately results in a good hearth health:

As it prevents 2 types of diabetes through blood sugar control, it directly reduces the chances of heart strokes. Milk is also a great source of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is a good cholesterol. It directly prevents heart diseases and stroke risks.

Potassium is pure cow milk helps regulate the blood pressure. Moreover, Dairy milk from the grass-fed cows consist of Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, which are essential to prevent coagulation in the blood vessels. Ultimately ensure a healthy heart.

Prevents Osteoarthritis

High quality protein in pure cow milk is a great source of amino acids. Moreover, the whole milk is rich in various saturated fats, which reduced the burning of muscles in extreme situations. Eventually, these mineral helps progression of Osteoarthritis in knee, which is incurable. Dairy is one of the recommended constituents of the diets prescribed for Osteoarthritis patients.

Rich Source of choline

Milk is also a great supplier of choline. Choline is found to be a rich element that supports sleep, motor movement, learning ability and brain memory enhancement. Specially, in children, a glass of whole milk can maintain the structure of cellular membranes, and improves the speed of transmission of nerve impulses.  1 cup of milk contains 38 milligrams of Choline, which is the next big source after egg.

Claimed cons of drinking milk

Not everyone can tolerate lactose

Not everyone can handle the lactose found in dairy milk. It cannot be digested by every human body. People who suffer with this indigestion are termed as lactose intolerant. People with poor lactose tolerance can suffer with the side-effects by consuming milk or any dairy product. The side-effects may include gastric, vomiting, bloating, diarrohea, and joints pain.

Note: Milk is essential for children even with lactose intolerance. You should consult a physician and plan a regulated intake of milk to balance the nutrients and prevent the symptoms at the same time.

Risk of multiple skin disorders

The same Whey protein and Casein also induces the secretion of IGF-1 hormone. This hormone is very similar to the insulin. However, it promotes acne formation on the face and body. Some people with regular milk intake show the signs of skin inflammation and sudden acne breakouts.

Note: The effects are different from person to person. You should consult a dermatologist to plan a regulated intake.

Contains more than required calorie intake

Milk is not just a heavy source of dozens of nutrients but also a similar source of calories. As simple as a cup of 2% milk consist of 120 calories. Eventually, a glass of milk will add 360 calories, which is 20% of the total calories recommended for a human body in a typical day. This is added to the calories gained through other food sources in the day. Thus, making the overall intake far more than what you actually require.

Note: Plan your daily diet according to the total milk and dairy products you consume in day-to-day.

Can cause osteoporosis in elderly adults

Osteoporosis is a slowly spreading disease in which bones weaken, loss mass and constituent minerals over a gradual time. The time and cause of this disease are different in individual persons. It is most common in elderly women after menopause. It gradually decreases the bone health and increases the chance of bone fracture.

Note: The role of milk and dairy products in escalating this disease is highly controversial. Some physicians believe milk is responsible, while majority decline it as a myth. Those who support milk state “our body digest and releases calcium from our body in different forms.  If the released calcium is not compensated, the body starts to replenish it from the bone, which makes bones weaker. So, milk does not cause osteoporosis but actually prevents it. “

Risk of multiple types of cancers

Some studies claim that dairy products may cause an increased risk of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancers. Especially in postmenopausal women, they claim a very high risk. However, there is this other side which claim that milk prevents various other types of cancers like colorectal cancer. They argument that Protein, Vitamin D, and lactic acid in milk prevent this cancer.

As per the other side is concerned, many studies suggest that unregulated consumption of milk and dairy products may increase the risk for prostate cancer. It is because of the bioactive compounds found in milk such as Calcium, oestrogen hormone, and IGF-1 hormone.

Note: Different studies have found that milk and dairy consumption is responsible for both prevention and cause of various cancers. The effects are different from people to people. It is better being safe than sorry. You should moderate your dairy consumption and plan a balanced intake because there are strong proofs that milk is more beneficial than harmful.  

Over calcium intake is not good

Some studies claim that the amount of calcium that milk provides is too overwhelming for the kidney to digest it. As a result, the undigested calcium coagulates and forms calcium oxalate stones.

However, the majority of studies have found that low calcium intake is not a wise option to prevent kidney stones. In fact, reducing milk consumption increases other risk and bone disorders. The calcium from milk helps regulate animal protein in the body. Omitting milk and depending on animal protein in fact increases the chances of the kidney stone.

Note: There is no strong evidence that milk calcium can cause kidney stones. Instead, there are strong proofs that milk calcium reduces the chances of kidney stone formation.

Key Takeaways

While there are both pros and cons of drinking milk, a majority of studies are in favour of the milk consumption. Except for the allergic issues, there is no such strong evidence that milk causes any form of a major disorder. However, it is also recommended to regulate the consumption as the excess of anything is not good. If you ever see any complication from milk consumption, you should consult your doctor and take advice. I am certain that no doctor will advise avoiding milk for a long time. They might advise a distance for some-period, but not for the lifetime for sure.

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Lily Bhat

I am a Food expert, dietician and an health advisor. I currently work for Frezu as an advisor. I cover the trends associated with food & health industry.

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