Wednesday, January 28, 2015
#MilkTruth: Thoughts on Milk
There were a lot of conversations about milk in the media yesterday. Those conversations will continue and they will continue to run the gamut from milk is the best food in the world to milk is the worst food in the world.
I happen to be in the camp that feels milk is one of the best foods in the world. I was lucky enough to inherit lactase persistence from my ancestors; as a result, I enjoy several servings of milk and dairy foods every day. I also happen to be a dairy farmer, who comes from a long line of dairy farming families, which, by nature, makes me biased towards the goodness of milk.
However, I understand that some people cannot consume dairy foods. Food allergies and food intolerances are real. My own sister poured orange juice over her corn flakes for the first several years of her life before she outgrew a dairy allergy.
Regardless of how I feel about milk, I support the consumption of whatever foods best meet an individual's or family’s needs. Stated another way, people should be free to make their own food choices. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who believe in converting others to their way of eating using whatever means possible. Thus, information about food has been tainted with opinion, emotion, and misconstrued science. And that has led to lots and lots of questions about the food we eat.
If you have questions about drinking milk, here are five things I think you should know:
• Milk is a nutrient powerhouse – and it’s not just for kids. Eight grams of high-quality protein per glass plus calcium, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin is one heck of a nutritional package.
• Milk contains a lot that’s good, without the “bad” that some people think (like excess calories and fat). Whole milk is less than 4% fat and contains only 150 calories per eight-ounce glass.
• Milk is simple – especially compared to non-dairy milk-like products that can have more than 10 ingredients. Regular milk has no added sugars, fillers, or flavorings.
• Milk provides high-quality protein (some non-dairy milk-like products may have just 1 gram of protein). The protein in milk is a complete protein and, gram for gram, one of the most affordable proteins.
• Milk is a real, wholesome and local product from family farms across the nation. My family and all of the dairy farm families I know take great pride in providing the best possible care for our animals, being stewards of our land and resources, and providing consumers with high-quality milk. That milk travels very few miles, relatively, from the time it leaves our farm to the time it reaches the grocery store.
If you’d like to read more, the new website – MilkTruth.com – includes links to a number of good articles about milk, authored by experts and writers from outside of the dairy industry, who aren't as biased towards milk's goodness as I am.
Along with believing milk is one of the best foods in the world, I take issue with plant-based beverages being marketed as dairy products.
Milk is known for it's purity, simplicity, and nutrient content. Commercially manufactured nut, seed, and grain milks are not pure or simple and they don't compare nutrient-wise to real milk. That doesn't mean I feel they shouldn't be produced; on the contrary, they are a great option for those who can't drink milk but want to enjoy a bowl of cereal or a latte. I just don't believe they belong in the dairy section of the grocery store.
The bottom line: If you think milk is one of the best foods in the world, keep on drinking. If you have questions about milk, please seek answers from a reputable source. If you happen to think milk is one of the worst foods in the world, let's respectfully agree to disagree.