When you drink cow’s milk, your body breaks it down and absorbs most of the nutrients. The two exceptions are Vitamin D and iodine, which are found in acceptable quantities only in raw milk. Cow’s milk contains a good amount of calcium as well as 27 other minerals that health specialists say an adult needs.
It also has a protein content similar to meat or soybeans but lacks the lysine required to balance its sister amino acid methionine. Whey, another component of cow’s milk, fulfills some functions not otherwise met by human physiology such as antibody production and insulin regulation – yet increases testicular weight 47% on average according to one study done on rats.
Milk is one of the most homogenous food products on the market today. Milk cows are fed Vitamin D to prevent rickets, so humans who drink milk are getting a dose of Vitamin D. Milk cows are also often supplemented with iron because it can be difficult for kids to get enough iron in their diets alone, so milk drinkers may not need to worry about supplementing with this important mineral. Milk contains calcium which can help keep bones healthy and strong. It’s certainly better than having dirty teeth that are never brushed.
What is cow milk?
Cow milk is a mammalian secretion obtained from the mammary glands of cows. Cows have four stomachs – they use their first three to digest grass, and in the fourth stomach, a lot of enzymes convert raw cow’s milk into thick curds. This mixture has a low pH which makes it an unfavorable environment for bacteria forms… but not really favorable to our own stomachs either! That said, at least drinking cow milk reduces our exposure to other infectious factors that can be present in water or less sterile animal milk like goat milk, sheep milk, or horse milk that are consumed by populations around the world in varying degrees.
Cow’s milk is a dairy product disliked by many people for its high saturated fat content and strong flavor. Cow’s milk has three times the level of saturated fat as human breast milk, but almost twice the levels of protein, six times more iron, ten times more Vitamin A, and fifty times the amount of calcium found in breast milk.
Despite what some think (and research on this varies), cow’s milk is not worse than artificial sweeteners or certain vegetables with traces of arsenic. It does have naturally occurring antibiotics that fight bacteria–although they are not generally needed or desired by humans these days for health-related reasons unless your immune system had been severely compromised through illness.
Biochemical compounds in cow milk:
The following chemical composition of cow’s milk was reported by the USDA for 2008 production levels.
Nutrients per 100 grams Energy, kilocalories Amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrate
Total fat, g 7.8 <1 g (0%) 8.4 max (1%) – 3% range
Essential Fatty Acids 0 0% 1-2% range
Cholesterol, mg 10 <5 mg (0%) 500 max (50%) – 250mg-500mg range
Protein, g 7 13-19g (7%-16%). As human breastmilk is higher in protein content at 11-16%, there are plans to increase nutrient component proportions in lab grown meat.
Cow milk is about 87% water, 3.4% cow’s milk protein, 4.8% lactose (milk sugar), 1.7% minerals, and the balance in trace nutrients like vitamins A1 and B12. The fat content of cow’s milk is generally low – on average 3-6%. Cow’s milk also contains Omega-3 which the body needs to maintain mental health and physical health.
A baby can extract what it needs from its mother while she breastfeeds for that period but will need supplements if bottle-fed or not breastfed for some time afterward or not at all. Unfortunately, many countries are removing formula-fed babies from their mothers too soon without traditional breastfeeding periods.
Cow milk used to be the only option, but nowadays the dairy industry is rapidly switching over to the production of soy and/or nut milk. Cow milk has been found to contain: sodium, 590mg; cholesterol 135mg; carbohydrate 11g (lactose 8.9g); protein 22g (lactalbumin 16.6g; casein 10.7g): minerals: calcium 178 mg; phosphorus 248mg; sodium 251 mg; potassium 463mg).
The list for sheep’s milk is comparable although there are small differences in the quantities of everything (moo?). For all other animal milk, there are major differences because their nutritional composition changes depending on what the cow ate.
Milk is a rich protein source:
It is true that milk is a source of quality protein. However, many people can not digest it properly due to lactose intolerance.
A plant-based diet with good sources of healthy carbs and fats can provide just as much, if not more, dietary protein than animal proteins by themselves. Plant-based proteins are also easier for the body to use for energy than animal-derived ones like meat which contain high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Despite what some people claim about soy (that they cannot be sure how much GMO contamination they may contain), in general, ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, or beansprouts are likely better sources of quality carbohydrates since these foods do not need sugary sauces to make them taste good.
Cow’s milk is a source of high-quality protein, but not the only one. Eggs are an excellent quality protein, for instance. One cup of raw eggs has 13 grams of protein and just 1 gram of sugar (while one cup of milk has 14 grams of carbs and 7 to 8 grams of fat). So if you’re looking for a healthy diet, get the rest from places other than dairy products because it’s too hard to moderate them in your diet given their calorie densities and lackings in vitamins/minerals that come from other foods.
Milk promotes bone health:
Milk is good for bone health. In fact, milk contains a lot of calcium that our body needs to form strong bones and teeth. In countries where people traditionally drink cow’s milk (also called a dairy), like Ireland, India, Israel, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden the rate of osteoporosis is very low compared to other countries where dairy products are not consumed as standard fare.
Given that this food group has helped populations with traditionally high rates of bone health remain healthy into old age it would seem logical to be able to say conclusively that maybe there really might be something in milk after all! The reason why Ireland has maintained their healthy bones may also relate back to genetics.
Milk is very good for bone health. Milk contains calcium and vitamin D, both of which are crucial to developing strong bones. Besides these two important nutrients, milk also contains lactose sugar, and other micronutrients that promote growth and help maintain healthy blood cells.
With this added nutrient density, milk not only promotes healthy teeth but guards against brittle nails and dry skin as well! Some people may be sensitive or allergic to dairy products – if so see your doctor about a different supplement formula. Drinking non-dairy beverages such as soy, almond or rice milk won’t do much for bone health either.
Milk helps prevent weight gain:
Milk helps prevent weight gain because milk contains a high number of proteins. Many health benefits have been attributed to drinking milk, including a reduced risk for heart attack and cancer. But the most valuable role in reducing your weight is due to the extra protein found in it.
Protein suppresses appetite better than carbs or fats by signaling satiety (fullness) hormones such as PYY and GLP-1; insulin; serotonin; glucagon, which inhibits appetite; cholecystokinin(CCK), which affects hunger and fullness; and ghrelin, which controls how hungry we feel. Your body needs calories from food and drinks each day to grow muscle mass (or at least maintain after we’ve reached adult size).
Milk helps prevent weight gain if the calories in the milk are consumed with an appropriate dietary balance. Importantly, that appropriate balance must factor in the caloric level of food that is consumed throughout the day or week. The findings on the Liquid diet research study at the University of Nottingham suggest that consuming additional liquid to meet fluid requirements can lead to compensatory behavior and ultimately weight gain in some people due to increased feelings of hunger and risk for malnutrition caused by inadequate intake. This study found a significant increase in uncontrolled eating when water was provided without limits.
Although cow’s milk has so many health benefits, some of the immune-system-boosting properties milk implies are weakened or even rendered inert, making it more difficult for your body to fight disease. Chemicals (such as hormones) in conventional dairy products can imitate estrogen and lead to conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition characterized by insulin resistance, obesity, masculinization of females, and sterility in males.
A substance found in cow’s milk called Beta-casomorphin also has psychoactive effects, triggering addiction behaviors much stronger than those caused by morphine. It attaches itself to opiate receptors in the brain as well as dopamine pathways that deal with pleasure-seeking behavior — which is why people might be “addicted” to drinking milk!
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