You have it in your cereal, in your tea/coffee or even a glass full as a refreshing beverage and it seems you are filling your body with calcium, vitamins, and an abundance of goodness, but the question is what’s really in your milk? There are pros and cons to milk and this is determined by the type and quality of the milk that you are having. Making the right choice is important for not only looking your best but also for optimal health and it is paramount that you understand why and what the best choice is.
We advise our clients to be aware of dairy, as very few people can assimilate and digest dairy effectively. Should you be one of those who can or just simply want dairy in your diet always aim to go for full fat organic milk – if you want to go one better, raw milk from the right source is an even better choice.
Today we give cows inappropriate feed such as soy, bakery waste, citrus peel cake and the swill from ethanol production; all foods that cows are not designed to eat. The confinement environment and the inappropriate feed make these cows sick meaning they need antibiotics and other drugs. We breed cows to give huge amounts of milk, and give them hormones in order to increase milk production. These cows produce large quantities of watery milk with only half the amount of fat compared to milk produced by old fashioned cows eating green grass. The milk produced is then shipped to factories for processing where it is completely remade. Of the reconstituted milks, whole milk will most closely resemble original cow’s milk which is why we suggest to always choose this to accompany your coffee or porridge.
The dairy industry promotes low fat milk and skimmed milk because they can make more money on the butterfat when used in ice cream. When they remove the fat to make reduced-fat milks, they replace it with powdered milk concentrate, which is formed by high temperature spray drying. The milk is then sent by tanker trucks (which are not refrigerated) to bottling plants. The milk is pasteurized at 161 Fahrenheit for fifteen seconds by rushing it past superheated stainless steel plates. If the temperature is 230oF (over the boiling point), the milk is considered ultra-pasteurized. This ultra-pasteurized milk will have a distinct cooked milk taste, but it is sterile and shelf stable. It may be sold in the refrigerated section of the supermarket so the consumer will think it is fresh, but it does not need to be. The milk is also homogenized by a pressure treatment that breaks down the fat globules so the milk won’t separate. Once processed, the milk will last for weeks, not just days.
So why is all this important?
This process makes the milk difficult to digest and renders the proteins allergenic which is why many people struggle to assimilate and digest dairy effectively. However more alarming is the fact that a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed scientists have found that one single glass of milk can contain a delightful (or not) medley of up to 20 different kinds of painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones. While research has found similar in goat and breast milk, cow’s milk contained the highest amounts. With the cows being kept in unnatural conditions on feed that is not natural cows become ill so they are given antibiotics, pain killers and hormones. This is what is found in the milk – so this is what you are putting into your body if you are making the wrong choice.
Organic Vs. Regular
So why do we say organic milk over regular milk? Simply organic milk is a must when you consider the hormones that are left out for one. But hormones aren’t the only problem with regular milk: the overuse of antibiotics is rampant among dairy farmers, just like it is on most factory farms. These antibiotics are given routinely to cattle (and many other livestock) and the drugs show up in the milk the cows produce. Pesticides, too, are also present in the feed of dairy cattle, and these too can show up in milk. Organic milk, however, has none of these ingredients, since their use is forbidden in organic certified dairy cows, which can only eat certified organic feed.
What about Calcium?
Contrary to popular belief, commercially sold milk is not the best way to get calcium. After all, where do the cows get calcium for their big bones? That’s right… from plants! The calcium they consume from plants has a large amount of magnesium, which is necessary for the body to absorb and actually use the calcium properly. Magnesium and calcium work together as great team with many benefits. Without magnesium, calcium is not fully absorbed; a factor which leads to diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Both calcium and magnesium are needed in the human existence, and the combination of these two elements has to be in the appropriate ratio. They need to co-exist in order to ensure a normal body function. For example, calcium deficiencies can be solved by taking the right amount of magnesium, instead of the popular belief that an increased intake of calcium will solve the low level. This is one of the many reasons why supplementing with magnesium is needed as it has so many benefits, and alarmingly magnesium deficiency is creeping up year on year.
Full Fat = More Calories!?
For those calorie counters who are worried about full fat milk containing more calories than their super healthy watery, chemical laden fake milk here is some interesting information. Yes hard to believe I know, but there are still calorie counters out there who believe this is the way forward to achieving the body of their dreams! Research shows fats actually curb your appetite, by triggering the release of the hormone cholecystokinin, which causes fullness. Fats also slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, reducing the amount that can be stored as fat. In other words – the more fat in your milk, the less fat around your waist. Not only will low-fat milk fail to trim your gut, it might even make you fatter than if you were to drink whole fat milk, according to one large study. In 2005, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and other institutions studied the weight and milk consumption of 12,829 kids ages 9 to 14 from across the country. “Contrary to our hypothesis,” they reported, “skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not.”