Raw and organic milk may offer numerous health benefits, but a Harvard researcher and pediatrician argues that conventional milk and dairy products alike may cause some damage to your health due to the health-compromising sweeteners that are added to them.
The Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics published the research of David Ludwig, in which he mentions that there have been countless pieces of research that concluded the ill effects of sugar-sweetened beverages. Of course, it is well known that over-consumption of sugar is linked to obesity, diabetes, inflammatory-related pain, and much more. Due to sugar’s negative effect on our health, even the United States Department of Agriculture, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other organizations have recommended not to consume calories from sugary drinks.
The low-fat milk is heavily promoted as a one calorie-containing beverage, and the organization recommends drinking 3 cups a day. Mr. Ludwig questions the scientific rationale for this recommendation.
“This recommendation to drink three cups a day of milk – it’s perhaps the most prevailing advice given to the American public about diet in the last half century. As a result, Americans are consuming billions of gallons of milk a year, presumably under the assumption that their bones would crumble without them,” he says.
He believes that while the USDA is recommending consumption of reduced-fat milk, it also inadvertently encourages the consumption of added sugars – a piece of advice that goes against all the research that advises against consumption of sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages. The idea of consuming low-fat milk or chocolate milk cancels out the whole reasoning for the recommendation in the first place, since the fats are simply being replaced with dangerous sugars.
“The worst possible situation is reduced-fat chocolate milk: you take out the fat, it’s less tasty. So to get kids to drink 3 cups a day, you get this sugar-sweetened beverage,” Ludwig says. ”…we can get plenty of calcium from a whole range of foods. On a gram for gram basis, cooked kale has more calcium than milk. Sardines, nuts, seeds, beans, and green leafy vegetables are all sources of calcium.”
The Case Against Low-Fat Dairy, and Other Dangers of Milk
Without a doubt, Mr. Ludwig has a point in analyzing and eventually criticizing the USDA’s recommendations, but there is much more to the full-fat vs. low-fat argument for milk and dairy products.
There are plenty of reasons to avoid trans-fats and refined polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils (like corn, soy, sunflower, and canola), but the evidence for moderate consumption of saturated fat, which is found in milk, coconut oil, and grass-fed land animals, is coming to the surface. While saturated fat was denigrated for decades, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an analysis in 2010 which concluded that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of [coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease].”
In addition, there are numerous benefits to drinking full-fat dairy products. In its most pure state (raw, organic, and coming from grass-fed cows), full-fat dairy has been found to potentially promote heart health, aid in vitamin absorption, control diabetes, lower bowel cancer risk, and even aid in weight loss. But, while pure dairy could promote it, conventional dairy may prove damaging to the health.
Each of us should be well educated on the content of our dairy before consuming more conventional dairy. Don’t be surprised if you discover more than 20 painkillers, antibiotics, and much more in your milk.