Every year, the dairy industry produces 700 million tons of milk worldwide. Milk and its derivatives, such as yogurts, cream, cheeses, milkshakes, and many others, are among the most consumed foods worldwide. However, the controversy about its consumption remains open since ancient times, is it good to drink milk beyond breastfeeding?
Drinking milk is common for humans
The truth is that humans are the only mammal that finds it natural to drink milk from other animals. Moreover, it is the only one that continues to drink milk after the lactation period is over.
According to experts, milk has been present in the diet of humans since they domesticated the cow. They estimate that this has been the case for about 10 thousand years.
However, more and more voices in the world unleash the controversy about whether its consumption causes adverse effects on human health. Such controversy is causing the consumption of milk to decline for some decades now. For example, in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that cow’s milk consumption in the U.S. has dropped by 40% since the 1970s.
While it is true that since that time the offers of other alternative products, such as soy or almond milk, grew, cow’s milk consumption declined for other causes. The expansion of veganism, health care, ecology are among some of these reasons.
Also, there is a group of people who have difficulty digesting lactose. Almost 65% of the world’s population has this difficulty to a greater or lesser extent, which also contributed to the drop in consumption. So, the question would be, is it healthy to drink milk all our lives or is it harmful to include it in our regular diet?
Benefits and disadvantages of cow’s milk
Cow’s milk and all its derivatives, such as yogurts, cheeses or butter, provide calcium, proteins and nutrients to the body. In addition, they contain several vitamins such as A and D.
According to the British Health Foundation, cow’s milk provides nutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamins, zinc and iodine, which are necessary for health. All these elements are not naturally present in alternative milks. Manufacturers add them artificially.
However, cow’s milk has as a drawback its high fat content. Therefore, the recommendation of professionals is that in adolescence and adulthood, it is better to consume skimmed or reduced-fat milks.
The other problem mentioned is that not everyone can digest lactose. This digestion requires an intestinal enzyme that is present in infants to process breast milk. Over the years and with growth, in some organisms that enzyme disappears.
Although, it is scientifically proven that the consumption of milk and its derivatives benefits health. Discussions about its consumption may be true. However, it continues to be one of the most consumed and preferred foods worldwide.