Self Cure

WHY NOT TO DRINK MILK?

Despite so much scientific evidence and globally acknowledged changes there is hardly any awareness about consumption of milk. As a health coach I constantly face questions about milk. Many people get shocked when I ask them to give up dairy or at least stop daily consumption. 

One question comes persistently, “Our forefathers drank milk and led healthy lives. Then why should we give up drinking milk?

Let’s examine the Milk Question with more depth.

NATURE’s DESIGN

Milk serves a very important purpose in mammals (the species to which Humans belong). When the child is born it is not fully developed and cannot hunt or forage for its own food. It doesn’t have the physiology or the digestive system to eat food.

 It needs 3 things: 

  1. Nourishment (for survival and growth)

  2. Immunity (to adapt to the external environment and pathogens ) 

  3. Brain development (for overall health)

Milk is required only for first phase of our life

As per laws of nature, milk is a perfect and only food meant to be consumed during the initial years of growth i.e until teething which symbolize shift from liquid to solid foods. The enzymes that are necessary to break down & digest milk, (rennin & lactase) are gone by the age of 3 years in most humans, when teething happens. Our liver which is the main organ concerned with milk digestion is comparatively 3 times larger in child than an adult indicating nature’s design. So, the first mistake that we make is to continue consuming milk which was designed for a certain phase in our lives. No other species makes this mistake.  

Milk is species specific

Second, nature did not design any one species to drink the milk of another species. The milk produced by each species varies, based on their growth cycle and physical structure. A calf completes its cycle in 18 months and humans take 16-18 years. 

 

NUTRITION

Humans consider milk as the main source of calcium and protein in their diet. It has been written in our textbooks, advised by doctors and passed on as common wisdom that the two most important nutrients in milk are protein and calcium. 

Calcium: Required for our bones

Calcium content of human milk is just 33 mg per 100 gms. This is enough to provide us with all the calcium we need at a time when it is most needed, i.e. from age 0-3 years. Calcium content of most green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds is much more than that of human milk. Calcium, an integral part of every cell, is found in all fruits, vegetables, grains, and especially in seeds and nuts. 

The calcium content of cow’s milk (120mg per 100ml) is nearly four times that of human milk (34mg per 100ml). This discrepancy occurs for a good reason. Calves grow much more quickly and have a larger skeleton than human babies and therefore need much more calcium (FAO, 1997).

Cows produce calcium-rich milk from the grass they eat! Lack of calcium intake through diet is not a common cause of calcium deficiency. 

Two most important factors to get enough calcium are vitamin D and alkaline foods. In the absence of sufficient Vitamin D, calcium does not get absorbed. We all know Vitamin D is produced when we expose ourselves to the Sun. Second, consumption of acid-forming foods forces the body to leach calcium from bones to maintain acidic alkaline balance (check the book Ted Morter ) . 

Calcium content of food (per 100-gram portion)

 Human Breast Milk

 33 mg

 Almonds

 234 mg

 Mustard greens (raw)

 183 mg

 Amaranth

 267 mg

 Pistachio nuts

 131 mg

 Beans (pinto, black)

 135 mg

 Raisins

 62 mg

 Sesame seeds

 1,160 mg

 Chickpeas (garbanzo)

 150 mg

 Moringa leaves

 185 mg

 Ragi/Nachni

 344 mg

 Spinach (raw)

 93 mg

 Sunflower seeds

 120 mg

 Cow’s milk

 120 mg

We can observe that the calcium content of human milk is just 33 mg per 100 gms. A human baby’s requirement for calcium is highest as it is developing the bone and skeletal structure. Yet, calcium in human milk is enough when it is most needed.

Over 70 per cent of the global population obtain their calcium from other sources – people such as the Japanese who traditionally have consumed no dairy yet, have far better health and live considerably longer.

 

 

Protein: Our growth nutrient

As mentioned above, protein requirements for each species are based on their growth cycle. Growth is much wider than just height and weight. It implies wholesome development of human body including brain, digestive organs, bones, skin and muscular structure. Growth is biological it implies rate of increase of cells.

Our daily protein requirement is 0.8 gm/Kg of body weight. So, we need 30-70 gms of proteins per day. We do not realize that all plant products have proteins, from fruit and vegetables to grains - for the simple reason that ‘proteins are the building blocks of life’. So, when we consume a wholesome diet we get enough proteins.

Proteins serve many important functions in our body:

  • They build up muscles and other tissues

  • They are required for the functioning of hormones and enzymes

  • They are required for building the immune system

Above figure shows that the protein content in 100g of whole cow’s milk (3.3g) is more than double that is present in human milk (1.3g). The amount of protein in milk is linked to the amount of time a mammal takes to grow in size and get matured. Growing calves need more protein to enable them to grow quickly. Humans are slowest growing mammals physically as brain development is the key whereas in animals physical growth takes preeminence over brain development. Faster we grow rapidly we mature and age. We can observe human beings has natural longer lifespan than animals.


The Growth Cycle

 

Human 

Cow

Birth Weight

3-4 kg

25-45 kg

Growth cycle

17-18 years

12-18 months

 

Link between growth cycle and protein %

Species

Days to double body weight

Protein % in milk

Human

180

0.9

Horse

60

2.5

Cow

47

3.4

Goat

19

2.9

     

Source: WWOU

Human infants on the other hand need less protein and more fat as their energies are expended primarily in the development of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. (Ref Viva.org.uk)

The proteins in milk can be divided into two categories: 

  • Caseins 

  • Whey proteins

Human milk contains these two in the ratio of 40:60 respectively; while in cow’s milk the ratio of casein to whey proteins is 80:20. As the amount of total protein in cow’s milk is more than double than that of human milk, cow’s milk clearly contains considerably more casein than human milk. 

Casein can be difficult to digest. In fact it is used as the basis of some glues! Infant milks are formulated to contain more whey than casein (the ratio of whey to casein in these milks is similar to that of human milk), and this is why it is easier for new babies to digest. Casein has been linked to a range of diseases and allergies, including type 1 diabetes (see Diabetes). (Ref Viva.org.uk)

Immunity

A key function of some important human milk proteins is to provide antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi. 

The major immunoglobulin (>90%) in human milk is secretory immunoglobulin A (SlgA), which is a dimer linked to a secretory component and a joining chain. This molecular arrangement allows the molecule to resist intestinal proteolysis, which is confirmed by the detection of modest amounts of SlgA in the stool of breastfed infants. 

SlgA binds to bacteria and viruses in the intestine and prevents attachment to mucosal epithelial cells, limiting infection and colonization.

Mingruo Guo Dr, in Functional Foods: Principles and Technology, 2009


 

 

Fat: For Brain Development

100g of whole cow’s milk contains 2.5g saturated fat, 1.0g monounsaturated and 0.1g polyunsaturated fat. While 100 gms of human milk contains 1.8g saturated fat, 1.6g monounsaturated fat and 0.5g polyunsaturated fat (FSA, 2002). 

These figures demonstrate the higher level of saturated fat in cow’s milk as compared to human milk, and the higher level of unsaturated fat in human milk compared to cow’s milk. This imbalance contributes to the unsuitability of cow’s milk for human infants.

The higher level of unsaturated fatty acids in human milk reflects the important role of these fats in brain development. In humans the brain develops rapidly during the first year of life, growing faster than the body and tripling in size by the age of one. The brain is largely composed of fat.

Early brain development and function in humans requires a sufficient supply of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. The omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) and the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are both essential for brain development and functioning. Both of them are supplied in human milk but not in cow’s milk (Ref Viva.org.uk)

Human milk contains enough Lipase to digest and assimilate fats. This is missing in cow’s milk. Another interesting point is that fat levels in human milk varies throughout the day whereas in animal milk this is constant. So, animal milk is not adaptive to human needs.



TRADITION

This is the toughest question to answer. No one can deny that milk has been an integral part of the human diet for less than 8,000 years (this is very recent in evolutionary terms), especially in India. 

However, most people don’t drink milk - as their bodies cannot tolerate it. Up to 100 per cent of some ethnic groups are lactose intolerant.

But, I decided to investigate this further. I found that milk, what it was a few generations back and what it is today, are completely different drinks.

Let’s See Why: 

  • Our ancestors drank Whole milk (not pasteurized), mostly Raw (not with coffee,tea,bournvita,Horlicks, sugar)

  • Our ancestors drank milk from one cow specifically, mostly reared at home or at the village level

  • So the milk was consumed within a few hours. 

  • Now, milk is sourced via huge supply chains, comprising millions of cows - not necessarily of one subspecies. 

  • Milk that we get today in our homes, is pasteurized, freeze dried and reconstituted. You may be drinking it months after it has been taken out.

  • Our ancestors probably drank it once or twice a day. Now milk is hidden in almost every packaged food- biscuits, chocolates, ice creams, bakery products etc.

So, the milk that we consume today is not the same milk which our ancestors used to drink. 

Ayurveda says that milk is satvik in its properties. But we can say that it gets tamasic when we factor in how animals are treated to extract the milk, milk processing, form of consumption and the quantity in which it is consumed.

If we have to pick something from tradition then let’s choose compassion, harmony with the environment, physical movement, coexistence with nature and animals. Why not pick qualities which have a far deeper and significant impact on our health.

Milk's Alternatives

Plant-based foods such as nut milks, nut butters and cheese are an excellent alternative to dairy. We have put together recipes for many of them. You may read the following blogs for the same:

For more recipes, see https://www.wellcure.com/recipes 

 

References:

http://tmrinternational.org/why-you-should-not-give-your-baby-cow-or-any-animal-milk/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/human-milk-proteins

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23158513/

https://www.viva.org.uk/white-lies/who-drinks-milk

 

Further Reads:

  1. Milk is silent killer Dr NK SHarma

  2. China Study Dr Colin Campbell

  3. What you eat today? –Ted M Morter

  4. Documentary on Netflix : Cowspiracy and Fork over knives

  5. https://sharan-india.org/milk-is-not-healthy/

  6. https://www.ornish.com/

  7. http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/

  8. https://nutritionstudies.org/



Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food & lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. The views expressed by the users are their personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.

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