Milk is a familiar, one-of-a-kind beverage consumed by humans and other animals. Humans do not drink human milk, but drink the milk of other species, and do so commonly throughout their adult lives. Milk is not only drank but is often used in cooking. New alternatives to milk, such as calcium-enriched juices, soymilk, and rice milks, have stormed the markets. In Asian markets, powdered calcium is a popular commodity, often spooned into a pot of rice or soup. We have been told milk “does a body good” and is important for growth in children and maintaining health in adults.
But some scientific studies have found that contrary to popular belief, drinking milk may do more harm to our bodies than good. In this essay I will explore the pros and cons of the effects of milk on our bodies. Probably the biggest pro and thing that most people know about milk is the calcium content of it. A large part of the ongoing milk advertisement campaign seeks to persuade people to drink milk for its calcium content.
Indeed, calcium comprises a crucial aspect of human health. Not only is calcium needed for muscle contraction, but calcium lends to our bone structure, bone recovery (re-calcification), and bone health as well.
Human locomotion is made possible by rigid skeletons formed from calcium salts in the ground substance of bone. Less calcium therefore leads to weakened bones, resulting in the serious condition known as osteoporosis. Inappropriate levels of calcium can also lead to kidney stones, seizures, and body spasms. In addition, neurotransmitters specifically rely on calcium ions to continue to relay chemicals to areas of the body that need them. Lastly, calcium is an important factor in the blood coagulation cascade. In short, without calcium, humans could not survive.
The recommended daily allowance of calcium is approximately 800-1000 mg, although 1200 mg is ideal, according to the most recent update by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA also notes that the majority of Americans consume only 500-700 mg per day, which is not enough. This leads to the debate about milk. Milk contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, proteins, fat, sugars, and vitamins A and D, what some call the “perfect package. ” However, the FDA reminds consumers not to capitalize on one source of nutrition. It recommends a variety of foods, the best choices being grains and vegetable sources.
The biggest reason I chose this topic to do this paper on is because I was really curious about what could possibly be the cons of drinking milk. According to a list proposed by the “Not Milk” campaign, milk contains less calcium per given amount than other foods. Raw turnip greens or cooked turnips, watercress, and seeds (such as sunflower or sesame) all contain larger amounts of calcium compared to milk. Compare the 234 mg of calcium in a 100-gram portion of almonds to the surprisingly low value of 33-35 g of calcium per 100-gram portion in a typical milk sample (2% milk fat, my favorite) from the store.
Milk and milk products also cause an about 50% of the adult population’s uncomfortable bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea. We call this lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance can result from two things: either through a natural enzyme deficiency, which prevents the body from digesting milk sugars, or through an allergy to milk itself. Opponents of milk argue that milk contributes to obesity, calcium deficiency, allergies, heart disease, cancer, and other health ailments.
They also state that claims regarding milk’s benefits are merely advertising campaigns designed to promote dairy sales and that many nutritious alternatives to cow’s milk exist. In conclusion, milk plays an important role in many diets today and make millions for dairy farmers, a huge part of this countries economy. Many of us grew up eating cheese pizza, yogurt, milk and cookies, and cheesecake. We have grown so comfortable consuming milk and eating milk products that many do not give a second thought to the possible positive and negative effects of milk. To me, after looking at some studies and what not, milk does a body good.