JAN 29, 2020 9:00 AM PST

Milk, a Controversial Food?

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

When it comes to foods with a controversial reputation, milk isn't your usual suspect.

First and foremost, we humans are mammals and breast milk is a quintessential nutrient-rich liquid food in our infancy. During adulthood, the commonly consumed cow's milk represents a good source of calcium and vitamin D, which benefit our bone health and help prevent osteoporosis. It's also rich in protein and potassium, which can assist us with muscle repair and reduce blood pressure. 

On the other hand, the prevalence of lactose intolerance among different populations stoke distaste of the bovine-originated beverage and other dairy products. For those who lack lactase (the enzyme that's responsible for breaking down lactose), drinking milk can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and even nausea and diarrhea. Even for the individuals who can consume dairy, the lactase activity in their bodies can quickly decline as they age, making them less tolerant.

What's more, in recent decades, several clinical studies linked the consumption of cow's milk to cancers and cardiovascular diseases, even though the results are still considered inconclusive, and they contradict with data from other studies. 

Beyond health-related issues, the bad treatment of farm animals and environmental concerns are making people uncomfortable about milk. The industrilized production of animal milk is also a resource-intensive process, in terms of the use of energy, water, and cattle feed. 

So while milk is still the go-to food for obvious nutrient and health benefits, many people are starting to consider alternative options for this otherwise household staple.  

Source: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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