I am a vegetarian, not a vegan and consume dairy products. The part of the world, where I grew up milk was the essential part of our lives. Whether you like milk or not, parents give milk to a child at least twice a day. It was regarding as a full diet and a rich source of calcium. I was reading through the health section of Washington Post and an article grabbed my attention. It talked about the voices from critics that cow’s milk bad for health rather than good. I would like to present some of the arguments in the article.
Which organization is active in anti-milk movement?
There are many pro-vegetarian/ vegan groups that advice elimination of dairy products from your diet. In particular, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, have been leading the anti-milk movement.
Susan Levin, Director of nutrition for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, expresses main views about their thoughts against milk:
· As milk is rich source of calcium, which helps to build strong bones. There is no research that says the plant sources of calcium are less beneficial than dairy products.
o Vegetables such as kale and broccoli are rich sources of calcium. In fact orange juice, almond and soy milks are enriched in calcium and vitamin D.
· Lactose intolerance is your body’s inability to tolerate one of the sugars in milk and milk based food. As per Levin, many people have lactose intolerance and it is wide spread. Due to lactose intolerance people can not digest milk or daily products.
o She says,”The dairy industry would say you should force [milk] down or take a pill so you can tolerate it”.
There is one more fact those anti-milk activists cite is the use of natural growth hormone and antibiotics in dairy cattle. The feed that is given to cattle contains pesticides, which can ultimately end up in your glass of milk.
What are the counter arguments to anti-milk movement?
Spokeswoman for American Society for Nutrition and a professor of department of pediatrics at McMaster University, Stephanie Atkins presents some facts to counter the arguments given by Levin:
o Is common among young infants, but most of them outgrow it.
o Is over-diagnosed and if milk products are taken in small doses, most of the people can tolerate lactose.
o If you are the one who avoid milk products, you can manage necessary the essential elements for bone growth, namely, calcium, Vitamin D and phosphorous. To compensate for Vitamin b12, non-dairy users must take a supplement.
Greg Miller, executive vice president for research, regulatory and scientific affairs at the National Dairy Council, says that milk is safe and “Milk is one of the most regulated food products out there”. Also Miller says:
· Food and Drug Administration (FDA) every year checks for pesticides and other contaminants in food. Miller said that “dairy products come out clean every time”.
· Food industry is so much regulated that if residual traces of antibiotics is found in milk, whole truck load is dumped. Also, government provides financial incentive for farmers to keep milk free from antibiotics.
· World Health Organization (WHO) and other health organizations have found use of growth hormones safe.
There are always various arguments on use of a product, but I think dairy products are essential for your health. But, you should be careful, in which for, milk is consumed like raw milk. As Miller said “Pasteurization was put in place to keep any food-borne pathogens from reaching consumers,” he says. I continue to hold onto the fact my forefathers have believed that drink milk daily for a healthy lifestyle.