Expert Weight in On: Cow's Milk
I Wrote the original article two years ago after being concerned over the number of parents switching their children to non-dairy milks due to some unfounded health concerns. This is one of a series I wrote. My opinion hasn't changed but my concerns are deeper than ever as small dairy farmers are losing their farms and kids missing out on nutrition.
I saved the most complex milk discussion for last as experts are on both sides of the fence regarding the science of low fat, full fat cow's milk, and cow's milk in general. When making a decision about what milk to drink, it is best to think of our daily diet (intake) in general as opposed to evaluating cow's as a stand-alone drink. Let's see if we can make any sense of the issue.
Nutrition Facts One cup of cow’s milk is high in protein(8g), calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D. If you choose full fat(whole) cow’s milk be mindful to keep daily total saturated fat to 5-6% of your total calories that is recommended by most health organization. If you are an adult and drink 1 cup of whole milk each day it can fit into your nutrition goals for the day as each cup of whole milk will have 5 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fat goals are based on many factors so use this website to know your personal target. To keep your saturated fat intake lower, choose low-fat instead. In general, children should preferably drink whole cow's milk at age one to two unless advised by their pediatrician.
Research on Men and Milk Intake Men who eat a lot of high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer, but these men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables as well. Some studies have suggested that men who consume a lot of calcium (through food or supplements) may have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Dairy foods (which are often high in calcium) might also increase risk. But most studies have not shown that the average diet not high is calcium and dairy is harmful.
Organic Department of Agriculture rules require organic dairy farms to use 100 percent organic feed, no growth hormones, and no antibiotics. Buying organic also supports healthy agricultural practices. Organic milk OR grass-fed milk costs a little more but has slightly more omega-3 fatty acids. It’s hard to find data supporting organic milk as better, but these things are hard to choose.
Milk Allergies There is a difference between lactose intolerance and a milk/diary allergy. An actual allergy to milk is when you are allergic to casein(protein) in milk. When you're allergic to it, you know it. If you're lactose intolerant you also know; your stomach hurts and you feel gassy. If you like milk and don’t tolerate lactose, lactose-free milk is a good option or a calcium and vitamin D fortified almond or soymilk will be the best option.
This all goes back to making a choice that is suitable to your health needs. For me, because I’m lactose intolerant I use soy or almond milk. And for my son, I choose an organic brand.