Milk: Healthy and nutritious
drink, or fattening, contaminant-filled menace?
You might expect an organization called the Dairy Education Board to promote
milk as a good thing. But instead, this advocacy group claims that Milk is a
deadly poison. Oops. And as Americans have grown more wary of saturated fat, and
more concerned about hormones and other substances fed to and injected into
dairy cows, milk consumption has fallen dramatically. In the post-war days of
1945, the average American was consuming 45 gallons of milk a year. By 2001, per
capita consumption was down to just 23 gallons.
But here is the thing: Plenty of new research says that we should be drinking
more milk, not less. In fact, swapping soda, juice, sweetened iced teas, and
other beverages for milk might be one major reason why Americans are gaining
weight at such a rapid pace. Milk not only helps boost protein intake and cut
down on sugar, but consuming calcium through dairy foods such as milk may
actually reduce the fat absorption from other foods. Who wouldn't want that?
(Hungry for more hard-hitting nutrition facts and findings every day?
Here are four milk myths you might have heard, and why you should consider
answering the cowbell more often.
Claim #1: Milk is a fat-burning food.
The Truth: Maybe. In a 6-month study, University of Tennessee researchers found
that overweight people who downed three servings a day of calcium-rich dairy
lost more belly fat than those who followed a similar diet minus two or more of
the dairy servings. In addition, the researchers discovered that calcium
supplements didn't work as well as milk. Why? They believe that while calcium
may increase the rate at which your body burns fat, other active compounds in
dairy (such as milk proteins) provide an additional fat-burning effect.
Claim #2: Drinking milk builds muscle.
The Truth: Absolutely. In fact, milk is one of the best muscle foods on the
planet. Milk is full of high-quality protein: about 80 percent casein and 20
percent whey. Whey is known as a â€œfast protein because it 's quickly broken
down into amino acids and absorbed into the bloodstream perfect for post-workout
consumption. Casein, on the other hand, is digested more slowly ideal for
providing your body with a steady supply of smaller amounts of protein for a
longer period of time, such as between meals or while you sleep.
Bonus Tip: Remember the old saying "Milk: not just for breakfast anymore." Well,
here are 20 foods that shouldn't be for breakfast, period. Check out our
shocking list of the Worst Breakfasts in America!
Claim #3: Cows are given antibiotics. Doesn't that make their milk unhealthy?
The Truth: No one really knows. Some scientists argue that milk from cows given
antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance in humans, making these types of
drugs less effective when you take them for an infection. But this has never
It is true that hormones and antibiotics have never been part of a cow's natural
diet, and they have been shown to have adverse effects on the animals. Canadian
researchers, for example, discovered that cows given hormones are more likely to
contract an udder infection called mastitis. If you're uneasy, you can purchase
antibiotic-free (and typically hormone-free, as well) milk from producers like
Horizon and Organic Valley at most major supermarkets. The cows will certainly
Bonus tip: While you're at the supermarket, add these foods to your list: the
125 best supermarket foods. Remember: You don't have to sacrifice flavor to eat
Claim #4: Fat-free milk is much healthier than whole.
The Truth: Nope. While you've probably always been told to drink reduced-fat
milk, the majority of scientific studies show that drinking whole milk actually
improves cholesterol levels just not as much as drinking fat-free does. One
recent exception: Danish researchers found that men who consumed a diet rich in
whole milk experienced a slight increase in LDL cholesterol (six points).
However, it 's worth noting that these men drank six 8-ounce glasses a day, an
unusually high amount. Even so, their triglyceridesâ€”another marker of
heart-disease risk decreased by 22 percent. The bottom line: Drinking two to
three glasses of milk a day, whether it's fat-free, 2%, or whole, lowers the
likelihood of both heart attack and stroke a finding confirmed by British