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SHOULD WE DRINK COW MILK?

SHOULD WE DRINK COW MILK?

Everyone is now much more aware of possible food allergies and intolerances. This means that even the most traditional foods get called into question, and the good old ‘pinta’ is the latest to fall under the spotlight.

Does milk have a place in a 2016 diet, and what kind of milk should we choose?

WHAT NUTRIENTS ARE IN MILK?

Calcium and protein are absolute essentials in our diets, and dairy products are a good source of both. Milk is also a good source of omega 3, which may increase the absorption of essential fat-soluble vitamins.

Natural milk has 3.5% fat, reducing to 1.7% in semi-skimmed. Skimmed milk has a miniscule fat content of 0.1%, and also loses some of its vitamin content.

SHOULD I DRINK RAW MILK OR PASTEURISED MILK?

The milk in the shops is not as it came out of the cow. Most milk is now pasteurised, which means it is heated and then cooled to kill harmful bacteria. ‘Raw’ milk has not undergone this process, and can only be sold by strictly regulated produces.

Although there are claims that raw milk is better for you, there is no reliable evidence for this. Raw milk has also caused cases of serious illness.

WHAT ABOUT HOMOGENISATION?

Another common process is homogenisation, which means that the milk is shaken up to distribute the fat globules evenly. This is why milk no longer has the cream on the top. Homogenised milk lasts longer, and is also thought to be easier to digest.

COULD I BE LACTOSE INTOLERANT?

All humans are born with the ability to digest milk, by producing an enzyme called lactase. As adults, much of the world stops producing the enzyme and so cannot tolerate lactose. Evolutionary factors mean that most Europeans are able to digest milk. If you think you may be lactose-intolerant, it's easy to check.

Milk is a good source of nutrition, and if you like it and can tolerate it, there is no reason not to include it in your diet. However it isn’t essential, because there are many non-dairy sources of calcium . So it is up to you!

 

the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

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