Mom made you drink a cup a day because it was “good for you.” Everywhere you turn you’re pummeled with pics of celebs with mustaches raising their glasses like some prized glass of Dom Perignon. There’s even a council to make sure that you drink 3 glasses a day of it! But what EXACTLY does milk do for you? And does it REALLY do a body good?
The scoop is….the research is mixed. Here is the list of reasons why you should/or shouldn’t drink it, so you can decide what’s best for you and your loved ones.
Milk is high in calcium, which is important for healthy bones. Additionally, the calcium in milk is well absorbed by the digestive tract because the vitamin D and lactose found in milk help the calcium absorb. Even though lots of other foods contain calcium, milk is a particularly efficient way to obtain it. To get the same 300 milligrams of calcium that comes in a glass of milk, you’d need to eat 10 cups of spinach or 4.5 servings of broccoli. Also, milk’s calcium comes in a readily usable form. Some plant foods contain inhibitors that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the calcium they contain.
Studies have shown that drinking milk can help regulate weight gain and may even help you to lose weight. Scientists believe there may be a correlation between low calcium and vitamin D levels and obesity. Participants of studies who increased their dairy intake to the RDA, experienced increased levels of calcium and D along with weight loss. Just be sure to remember that if you’re drinking milk for weight loss, choose low or nonfat versions.
It can help you build muscles and repair tissue. With all of the 9 essential amino acids, milk is considered a complete protein and can help you build lean muscle like nobody’s business. Also, milk is insulinogenic…meaning that it spikes your insulin. This is particularly good if you drink milk right after your workout. Ever see the ads on milk being the best workout recovery drink? This is because right after a workout you are depleted of sugar and nutrients and drinking milk with its’ insulin response helps you gobble them up, which helps you recover faster…and better.
Milk is also a good source of phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and riboflavin (a B vitamin). A recent study reported diets of 16,000 Americans found that people who ate little dairy, took in lower levels of all sorts of nutrients, including vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, potassium and vitamin D.
Drinking milk can lead to constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, allergies and eczema. Dairy contains some really allergenic proteins, such as casein. In allergic and sensitive people, it can wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal tract and as a result, cause secondary issues as well, like malnutrition and autoimmune disorders. Additionally, many people lack the enzyme to digest lactose (milk sugar). This is called lactose intolerance, and although it’s not serious or life threatening, it can send you sprinting to the bathroom with bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Unless you’re drinking organic milk, it may contain the antibiotics given to the cow while it is lactating. Studies have shown that humans absorb the antibiotics and this can cause harmful bacteria to become more resistant to these antibiotics. This makes the antibiotics ineffective at killing the bacteria. Suddenly that minor, easily cleared ear infection aint so easy to cure.
Even though drinking milk every day helps ward off osteoporosis, a small group of researchers recently found that drinking too much milk can actually contribute to calcium loss. They found that the high amount of protein in milk thins blood and tissue, causing it to become acidic. In order to neutralize the acidity, the body draws out calcium from bones. As a result, the more milk you consume, the more calcium you need to process the protein intake. As with everything, moderation is key and the suggested daily amount of 500 to 700 milligrams is still thought to be good for your bones.
Organic cows are often milked while pregnant, producing milk that’s full of hormones. Astoundingly, the average glass of milk can have up to 60 different hormones in it. These are anabolic hormones, which means that they help you to grow. But not all growth is good. You don’t want to grow cancer cells and you certainly don’t want to grow big tummies.
It can give you pimples and make your skin look like crap. Milk not only increases your body’s production of insulin but is also linked with higher levels of an insulin like growth factor (IGF-1), which is linked to acne. The evidence is not exact, but if you’re having problems clearing up your breakouts, milk may be the culprit.