“Milk makes bones strong,” say some. “Milk leads to cancer and other diseases,” say the others. What’s with these milk myths, is milk actually unhealthy? We clarify.
There is a lot of discussion about whether milk is healthy or unhealthy – including with untrue claims.
Not all people tolerate milk. But that’s not because milk is unhealthy.
In order to protect animals and the environment, you should consider a few things when buying milk.
Whether in muesli, in coffee or just for refreshment: many people drink milk every day. After all, milk makes you big and strong – doesn’t it? For years there have been many myths surrounding the popular dairy product. We clarify whether milk is unhealthy or healthy.
Is milk healthy and makes for strong bones?
What’s the truth behind the claim “milk makes your bones strong”?
Answer: Milk contains calcium and this is the main component of our bones. However, the conclusion that the calcium in milk makes bones stronger is not correct. Our body needs vitamin D so that the calcium can flow into the bone structure. In order to form this vitamin, however, the body needs exposure to sunlight. Drinking milk alone is therefore not enough for bone formation.
In recent years, some studies have even come to the conclusion that milk increases the risk of fractures. However, the study results are controversial, a connection between high milk consumption and bone fractures has not been proven. The Max Rubner Institute, a federal research institute for nutrition and food, came to the same conclusion in 2015.
Is milk healthy because it keeps you slim?
Is it true that milk keeps you slim?
Milk provides our body with protein, fats and milk sugar (lactose) as well as several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Due to the many nutrients, you should not drink milk as a drink like water, but consume it in moderation as a food. But does milk keep you slim or does milk make you fat?
Answer: To answer whether milk is a slimming product or a fattening product, you have to look at the different types of milk. Whole milk, low-fat milk and skimmed milk are bought the most. Whole milk usually has a fat content of 3.5 percent, while low-fat milk still contains 1.5 percent fat. Skimmed milk has a fat content of no more than 0.5 percent.
If you drink a glass of whole milk, you are already consuming a lot of fat. Whole milk is not a slimming product. If you want to eat less fat and therefore less calories, you can use low-fat milk or skimmed milk. However, this does not have any health benefits.
What is also not true: milk is not (alone) responsible for obesity. If you drink a glass of milk every day, you will not gain weight from it. If you are overweight, your entire diet plays a role, as do exercise and sports.
So that milk does not become unhealthy
How Much Milk Should You Drink?
The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a moderate daily intake of milk and milk products. 250 milliliters are recommended for adults, which corresponds to about a glass of milk or 250 grams of yoghurt, kefir or quark a day. In addition, the DGE recommends one or two slices of cheese, which correspond to a quantity of 50 to 60 grams.
Is it true that milk causes stomach ache?
Does milk give you a stomach ache?
Answer: Not everyone tolerates milk (equally well). For some people, milk causes abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea. This is due to the lactose in the milk or the missing enzyme in the human body to break down the milk sugar. There are many people with lactose intolerance: In Germany, about one in five cannot tolerate milk.
People with lactose intolerance can either switch to lactose-free milk or plant-based drinks, or simply absorb calcium from other foods. Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, fennel, and Chinese cabbage are high in calcium, as are whole grain breads and nuts.
Does milk increase the risk of cancer?
We read again and again that milk increases the risk of cancer. Claims range from colon to prostate cancer. Is that true?
Answer: The science here is still in the research stage and no study has conclusively proven that milk alone increases the risk of developing cancer.
The only exception to this may be prostate cancer. As the Max Ruber Institute explains, there is a possible connection between a very high consumption of milk and the disease in this cancer. However, you would have to drink 1.25 liters of milk or eat 140 grams of hard cheese every day.
In the case of colon cancer, on the other hand, milk even seems to reduce the risk of developing the disease. The Max Rubner Institute also came to this conclusion. However, this effect does not only affect the calcium in the milk, but can also be absorbed from other foods such as green vegetables or nuts and have a preventive effect against colon cancer.
Milk production and animal welfare
Is the claim that milk causes animal cruelty true?
We not only consume milk in its pure form, but also in all dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt, cream or quark. In addition, processed milk powder is found in many foods. This demand for milk has to be produced somehow. Germany is the largest milk producer in the EU. Isn’t that at the expense of the animals?
Answer: It depends on what milk or milk products you buy. Milk from conventional production can also mean factory farming and mass production – and not the happy cows on the lush green pastures. To ensure that the cows produce as much milk as possible, they receive special concentrated feed and are regularly inseminated. They are therefore permanently pregnant in order to give more milk.
There are stricter regulations for organic milk; for example, no unnatural feed may be added and the cows have more freedom of movement and often access to pastures. The number of animals in organic dairy farming is also usually smaller. Nevertheless, milk production is also the top priority here and the cows are “permanently pregnant”.