From our first moments of existence, through our school years, and into adulthood, people all around the world have been consuming cow’s milk for the majority of their lives. It’s a staple of any kitchen, and is found in countless cultures around the world.
Milk is considered to be an excellent source of vitamin D and calcium, and is said to provide many nutrients that other foods cannot. Many people go through their lives drinking milk unbeknownst to the health dangers it poses, with no understanding that they are consuming one of the unhealthiest substances for the human body.
Lactose Intolerance, or Lactose Persistence?
Many readers may be wondering what exactly makes cow’s milk such an unhealthy part of a human diet, seeing as the popular drink is common in most diets; however, despite the continuing popularity of milk, the fact remains that the human body greatly opposes the presence of milk in one’s digestive system. Essentially, the human body does not have the enzymes necessary to entirely break down and digest the lactose found in cow’s milk, making every human adult lactose-intolerant in some way. In fact, scientists have begun to refer to the rare ability to properly digest milk as “lactose persistence,” as it is far less abnormal than finding individuals who are lactose intolerant. For many adults, the effects are not felt as they have minor immediate impact, but over time the continuing consumption of milk can lead to a variety of issues, both digestive and skeletal.
Some of the minor impacts of ingesting cow’s milk include can include an upset stomach or abnormal bowel movements, however after years of use, these issues can grow into real problems for some. Through evolution, cow’s milk has been specifically designed to feed and nourish young calves, providing them with the nutrition they need much like breast milk gives human babies the nutrition they need to grow properly. Humans are the only species on Earth that drinks another animal’s milk well into adulthood, and we’re paying the price for it. It’s not hard to imagine that ingesting milk intended for a calf is bad for our bodies, but the negative impacts of drinking milk go further than most know.
A Good Source of Calcium?
Despite the common myth that drinking milk leads to strong, healthy bones, the exact opposite has been proven true. Research shows that drinking milk deplete the calcium stored in human bone, meaning that over time, drinking milk actually makes the human skeletal system more fragile and prone to breakage, with some speculating that this phenomena is the cause of increased bone fractures found in the elderly. In fact, it’s been shown through studies that countries with the lowest dairy consumption actually have the lowest number of bone fractures among their citizens.
Once milk is consumed and enters the human body, it acidifies and the body begins to correct this. To correct the acidified animal protein found in milk, the human body must deplete stores of calcium found in the bones to do this. Combined with the body’s inability to absorb the majority of calcium found in milk, essentially drinking the substance causes calcium depletion, which over time lends hand to fragile and brittle bones.
What Can Be Done?
Essentially, government officials around the world are well aware of the health deficiencies caused by the ingestion of milk, however it is unlikely that any office of agriculture or food and safety division will ban the sale of milk. Countries around the world raise cattle as livestock, using milk as a way to get more profit out of the cows which are bred. Milk produces millions of dollars in gross domestic product (GDP) year after year for countries which drink and sell the substance, meaning that it lends a large hand to a healthy economy. In the United States for example, milk is given in all public schools nationwide with the student’s lunches, and because of this the dairy farms in the U.S. are thriving. When the dairy farms thrive, so do the economy, meaning that this problem is here to stay.
Healthy Milk Alternatives
For readers interested in turning away from cow’s milk for a healthier alternative, try almond or cashew milk. They are both an alkaline substance, meaning that your body gets a significant amount of calcium by drinking it, and can digest it with little to no issue. Goat’s milk is also a healthy alternative that can be digested far easier than cow’s milk, and is often sold as organic, making it another excellent option for those looking to find a healthy dairy alternative.
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