Have you had a milky day today?

Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile in Egypt. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)
Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile in Egypt. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)

Is milk good for you?

The answer depends on who you talk to. If you have milk allergy then of course it is not good for you. If you have no allergy then why wouldn’t you drink milk?

“America’s iconic ‘Got Milk?’ campaign was pulled this year (2014) after a successful run of over 20 years. Graced by the likes of Bill Clinton, Naomi Campbell, Elton John, David Beckham, and Angelina Jolie sporting a milk moustache, the campaign garnered wide recognition. Yet milk was losing favour against a growing variety of breakfast and drink options,” says Dr. Anita Jain, India editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ October 29, 2014).

Now the dairy industry is focused on promoting milk as rich in protein content. Protein is good for you. Milk has long been promoted as a source of protein and calcium essential for bone health. The evidence, though, on the health benefits of milk consumption is scant and divided, says the BMJ article.

Milk continues to be a controversial dietary recommendation. There are not just health risks and benefits to be considered, but often also the availability and feasibility of consuming milk against deriving necessary nutritional value from other foods.

With growing public interest in a vegan diet, the morality of consuming dairy products presents a new angle too, says Jain. A vegan diet is one that consists of only plant-derived foods. Vegans do not use or consume any animals or animal products including milk.

Many asthmatics perceive their asthma is worsened by drinking milk. There is no scientific evidence to confirm that.

There is no evidence that milk leads to excessive mucus secretion. It does not make saliva thick. These unscientific controversies make people forget that milk is an important source of calories, calcium and vitamins for children.

What is the difference between milk allergy and lactose intolerance?

Milk allergy usually shows up early in life. It’s one of the most common food allergies in children. Cow’s milk is the usual cause of milk allergy, but milk from sheep, goats, buffalo and other mammals also can cause a reaction. Milk allergy is a true food allergy caused by an allergic reaction to the protein in milk.

Lactose intolerance is caused by not having enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk and other dairy products.

Why is it important to drink milk?

Government of Canada food guide website says having milk or fortified soy beverages every day provides the nutrients that you need for healthy bones and optimal health. It recommends the following:

  1. Drink skim, one per cent or two per cent milk each day.
  2. Have 500 mL (2 cups) of milk every day for adequate vitamin D.
  3. Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk.
  4. Select lower fat milk alternatives.
  5. Compare the Nutrition Facts table on yogurts or cheeses to make wise choices.

Yes, milk is good for you. Bill Clinton, Naomi Campbell, Elton John, David Beckham, and Angelina Jolie cannot be wrong! Every day ask yourself: Have I had a milky day today?

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *