The Matter of Milk

There has been a lot in the nutritional literature lately about milk. Even some of the writers on hubpages have entered into the debate. Some have suggested that children should never be given milk. Others have said that children should never be given soy as a substitute for milk. Some have stated that we can all do without milk, since there are other sources of calcium and other sources of fat. I have provided links to many of these articles, so you can read them for yourself.

I am not much of a milk drinker myself. The story goes that when my mother weaned me of her breast milk, she offered me the bottle, instead. I don't like substitutes. I am very suspicious when someone tries to pass off one thing as something else. I rejected the bottle as a poor substitute for my mother's breast. I also pretty much rejected milk as a beverage. I use milk in my cereal as a sort of condiment, though I don't drink what's leftover in the bowl after the cereal is gone. I like cheese, and the only reason I don't eat butter is that I've stopped eating bread. Milk, in and of itself, is not a big factor in my diet. However, I am not anti-milk, and the current nutritional trend of completely rejecting milk has me curious.

What is behind such a strong reaction, by the same people who used to tout milk as the most nutritious of substances only a couple of decades ago? Why do Americans, in particular, have such strong feelings for or against milk? And why are there suddenly so many people who are lactose intolerant? How did that come about? Twenty years ago, I never even heard of such a thing. There were people who liked milk and people who didn't, but intolerance?That's a pretty strong word.

And what's more, did you know that people are now saying that milk is bad for cats? Have the cats heard about this?

Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, I decided to do some research.

Holstein Cows -- Milk Producers

Photo Credit: The Wikipedia
Photo Credit: The Wikipedia

Milk and Honey

"Milk and honey are the only articles of diet whose sole function in nature is food. It is not surprising, therefore, that the nutritional value of milk is high." This is a quote from the article on milk consumption whose link is provided to the right. When we say that the nutritional value of milk is high, we mean a number of different things: (1) milk is a calorie dense food, so just a little of it provides enough to eat, as opposed to a food like lettuce or garden greens. (2) Milk contains most of the types of nutrients that we need to live: fat, protein and carbohydrates, as well as calcium and vitamins A, D, E and K. (3) If you had only milk to consume, you would not starve. This is not true of most foods.

Having said that, I don't know of any human being above the age of five who would want to live only on milk. Most people enjoy variety in their diet. While someone living only on milk would not starve, he might still experience some serious nutritional deficits. For instance, there's not any vitamin C or fiber in milk, and in order to live healthy lives, we need these nutrients as well.

It's nice to have options. Milk and dairy products are good choices, but they are not the only choices we have, and it is also very easy to get all the nutrients found in milk by eating a variety of other foods. There are people for whom milk is not an option, and they manage to get by just fine without it.


Image Credit: The Wikipedia
Image Credit: The Wikipedia

Lactose Intolerance

According to the wikipedia article whose link appears above the picture of the Holstein cows, milk is an emulsion of fat globules in a water-based liquid.So basically, it's fat floating in water. Only unlike most fat and water mixes, it stays even.Each fat globule is surrounded by a protein membrane that keeps it from breaking up. Inside the fluid part of the milk are casein protein "micelles": groups of several thousand protein molecules that are bound together by calcium phosphate strands.About forty percent of the calories in milk come from the carbohydrate lactose. Lactose is made up of two simple sugars, glucose and galactose.

People who are said to be "lactose intolerant" are unable to digest lactose. They don't have enough of the enzyme lactase which is found in small intestine and helps to break up lactose into its component sugars, glucose and galactose.

Common symptoms of lactose intolerance are nausea, cramping, bloating, gas and diarrhea occurring within thirty minutes to two hours of milk consumption.

Healthy normal infants start out with reasonable amounts of lactase at birth. Lactase production diminishes after age two, but most people don't notice any deficiency until they are much older, if ever. A primary lactase deficiency is one unaccompanied by other disease. There is also such a thing as secondary lactase deficiency, which come about as a result of injury to the GI tract or through disease. Secondary lactase deficiency is a symptom of certain gastro-intestinal diseases, like celiac disease, IBD, and Crohn's disease.

There are genetic factors in the predisposition for developing a primary lactase deficiency. Scientists speculate that lactose tolerance is the innovation and that intolerance is the natural state of humans prior to the domestication of milk producing ruminants about 10,000 years ago. I will get back to this point later.

In addition to lactose intolerance, there is also a rare form of milk allergy due to the inability to process casein.

The Casein Free Diet

Some infants and children who suffer from low-functioning autism have been cured simply by removing gluten and casein from their diets. A gluten free/casein free diet is one that totally eliminates milk, due to the protein casein. In those individuals, the inability ot properly metabolize either gluten or casein produces a morphine like substance that sedates them and inhibits normal cognitive development. Such children, once on the diet, suddenly gain the ability to interact normally with others and to have normal language development.

For these children and their families, the elimination of milk from the diet (as well as all other foods with either gluten or casein in them) is a very small price to pay for a complete cure.

However, most forms of autism have nothing to do with casein, and a milk free diet does nothing to help most people with an autistic spectrum disorder. This is because autism is a syndrome whose similar symptoms can be brought about by a wide range of causes.

Genetic Research on the Causes of Lactose Tolerance

Lactose intolerance seems to be on the rise, and it has recently become quite common to find the cause for this under discussion. For some reason this has led to widespread condemnation of milk in general. The most popular form of this trend takes the following line of attack: milk is a product intended by nature to be consumed by helpless infants. Mammals produce milk for their own young. Milk is not intended for the young of another animal or for adult members of the species.

Extreme versions of this position maintain that nobody over the age of two should drink milk, and no animal, including humans, should drink the milk of another animal. To support this position, advocates point out that no animal in the wild drinks any milk other than that produced by its own mother, and even that only when it is an infant.

Okay, so that means that Romulus and Remus were probably in mortal danger of dying of lactose intolerance when that She-Wolf suckled them!

But, seriously, what is the scientific evidence? Researchers theorize that "lasctase persistence", meaning the presence of the enzyme lactase in the gut after a child is weaned, is a relatively new trait in adult humans.

In an article by Edward Hollox, in The European Journal of Human Genetics "Genetics of Lactase persistence; fresh lessons in the history of milk drinking(2005) 13, 267-269, the following rationale is given: "In humans, epidemiological analysis has shown that the cultural development of dairying preceded selection for lactase persistence." In other words, first we started drinking milk, and only later we began to tolerate it. How realistic a scenario is that?

Now if he had said that first we began to herd ruminants for meat, and later we gradually started drinking their milk, then it might have made a certain amount of sense that there would have been a selective advantage to being able to tolerate milk as well as eat meat. But, according to Hollox, the development of dairying came first, and then there was a genetic selection for lactase persistence. This would mean that generations of humans would have milked goats and cattle and other milk givers, drinking the milk and getting sick for hundreds and maybe thousands of years, before finally some of their descendants could stomach it? Why would they keep drinking it, if it made them sick? Isn't it more likely that people discovered that milk was good to drink, and then they developed dairying? In which case, lactase persistence must have preceded dairying.

According to Hollox, a genetic mutation accounting for persistence of the enzyme lactase in adult Europeans has been identified, and another, separate genetic mutation allowing for lactase persistence is found among Africans.

Asians are not mentioned. But it was in Asia, in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, where wide-scale agriculture was developed about 10,000 years ago. At that time, Europeans were still savages.

Historical Evidence on Milk Consumption

Canaan is described in the Old Testament as the land of milk and honey. This was supposed to be a good thing. In ancient writings milk is always spoken of highly. It was a calorie dense food, and the ancients appreciated it as such.

In the book of Judges, the general of the Canaanite army, Sisra, fleeing from the onslought of Barak, found shelter in the tent of Ya'el, the wife of Hever the Kenite. She offered him milk and a place to sleep. Later, she drove a stake through his skull. I suppose we could argue that giving him milk was part of Ya'el's overall plan to kill Sisra. However, that's not how it was intended. He asked for water. She gave him milk. She is praised for her generosity. She was a good hostess, up until the point when she rammed a tent stake through his skull. (Judges 4:19-21).

This story is told twice in succeeding chapters of the Book of Judges: once in prose and a second time in poetry. In the poetic version, she also offered him butter. (Judges :25).

In the Baghavad Gita, ghi, or clarified butter, is seen as the utmost in luxury foods, fit for the gods, but undoubtedly consumed by men, too.

Did any of these people suffer from the inability to digest milk or dairy products? There is no indication that they did.

Leprosy and epilepsy are mentioned in the Bible. Lactose intolerance is not.

Do Snakes Drink Milk?

Comparative Evidence on Milk Consumption

We probably all have experiences from our own life, or stories from our grandparents' era, that bely some of the current claims about milk. For instance, it's suggested that we become lactose intolerant over time, but that we come into the world as infants completely able to digest milk. However, we all know that you can't give a newborn kitten or a newborn human baby straight cow's milk. They can't digest it. That's why baby formula had to be carefully developed. Prior to its invention, goat's milk was used for infants who had no mother to suckle them, if a wet nurse could not be found.

A baby kitten will die if fed on cow's milk, but an adult cat can drink it. A human newborn can't be given cow's milk, but an older child or adult can. The problem with cow's milk thoughout history was not that the enzyme lactase was present in infancy and disappeared as we matured. The problem was that babies couldn't tolerate cow's milk, but as soon as they were able to transition to solids, all animals, including humans, could drink cow's milk in addition to eating other foods. When dairying was first introduced into our culture, it was not in order to feed babies. It was for adults.

Then there is the argument that all other animals besides humans don't drink milk beyond infancy. That's not true. My dog Teyman drinks milk. Bow, my chimpanzee son, drinks milk. If lactase persistence were a genetic innovation selected for by a dairy culture that has lasted 10,000 years, how would you account for that?

Why don't other adult mammals drink milk in the wild? It's not because of the inability to digest it. It's because other animals haven't domesticated cows! If you give them milk, they will drink it.

In India, today, many people still believe that snakes drink milk. Snake charmers claim that this is what they feed their snakes. I've also seen the argument confidently made that this can't possibly be true, because snakes are reptiles, and only mammals drink milk.

I don't know whether snakes drink milk. I do know that the argument that they could not drink milk because they are not mammals is completely unconvincing. We are not insects, and yet we eat honey!

The Evolution of the Mammary Gland

All flesh is kin. All animals on this planet are related. Life emerged only once. The building blocks of life are the same, regardless of the multitude of differences between and among different organisms. The common fruitfly has a very similar genetic structure to our own. Many different animals can subsist on the same foods, because we all use the same basic nutrients: fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

The milk-producing gland in mammals developed from non-mammalian sources. According to the wikipedia, the immediate ancestors of modern mammals were similar to monotremes like the platypus. They produced a milk-like substance from glands on the surface of their skin (but with no nipple) for their young to drink after hatching from eggs. The idea that only mammals drink milk is unfounded.

Milk became the food of infant mammals because the non-mammalian ancestors of mammals were already secreting milk.

So do snakes drink milk? Who knows. It depends on who you believe, the snake charmers or the nutritionists. Neither group is known for complete truthfulness. If I had to bet, my money would be on the snake charmers, because at least they know something about snakes.

Modern Production and Preparation of Milk

There is such a thing as lactose intolerance, and some people do suffer from it. To find out if you are one of those people, there is a medical test that you can take. However, the claim that tolerance of lactose is a relatively new trait in humans is not particularly convincing. All the evidence points to the idea that we were able to drink milk long before we began keeping cows. It seems more likely that lactose intolerance is a disease of recent origin.

Also, not everybody who experiences indigestion after drinking milk is lactose intolerant. In many cases, lactose has nothing to do with it. You could be reacting to the processing that modern milk undergoes before it is marketed at the grocery store.

Milk is pasteurized before it is marketed. Pasteurization destroys harmful microbes in perishable food products using heat, without destroying the food itself. In addition to pasteurization, milk undergoes homogenization in order to keep fat from separating out. These processes destroy some of the nutrients present in milk. Some vitamins are then artficially re-introduced into the milk we drink, sometimes in higher quantities than what was there to begin with. For some people, these artificial vitamin additives are highly irritating. This can account for some of the difficulty that modern man has digesting milk. These are problems that we don't experience with raw milk, straight from the cow.


As I mentioned before, I don't drink a lot of milk, because it doesn't taste that good to me. My daughter likes milk, and sometimes, when I forget to offer it to her, she asks for milk. It always surprises me when she prefers milk to lemonade. However, I honor her preference and I let her have as much milk as she wants.

I don't force anybody to drink milk. I think that our own appetites are a good indication of how much we should have. I never supply Bow with milk as a matter of course, because milk is not a normal part of the chimp diet. However, when he specifically asks for milk, I let him drink it. He never experiences any problem digesting the milk that he drinks. He also doesn't ask for it as often as my daughter does.

While all animals have the same general use for all nutrients, there are also significant differences from one person to the next. We should honor those differences and understand that what is an adequate amount of milk for one person may be inadequate for another or excessive for a third individual.

I know that at one time in America children were forced to drink a great deal more milk than they wanted to, because their parents believed it was good for them. This caused a lot of damage, including obesity and anti-milk sentiment in the following generation of adults. Forcing a child to consume a food he doesn't like usually backfires.

How much milk and dairy products you choose to consume is up to you. If you don't like milk, then by all means don't drink it. If it makes you feel sick, don't drink it. It's possible to get all your nutritional needs met without consuming dairy. However, we don't have to declare milk as a dangerous substance or forget the entire course of history concerning milk consumption by humans and other animals in order to make that choice.

Milk is good food. We as humans have a long history with milk consumption. It is one of the many foods that we are capable of consuming to good effect. We don't have to have it every day, but it's good to keep that option open.

(c) 2008 Aya Katz

A Matter of Taste

Do you like the taste of milk?

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Forced Choice

When you were a child were you forced to drink milk against your will?

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Milk and Your Child

When it comes to milk and your child what is your policy?

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Calorie Dense Foods

Do you think consuming calorie dense foods is bad for us?

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The Dangers of Milk Consumption

What do you think are the most dangerous aspects of milk consumption?

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Snakes and Milk

Do snakes drink milk?

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Comments 34 comments

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

Very good hub!!! I always wondered when drinking milk started.

Nets 8 years ago

I guess I still don't understand lactose intolerance. Is it really about lactose? How much lactose does one have to ingest for there to be a problem?

I understand that the lactose intolerant can't eat cheese, but most full fat cheeses have very little sugar in them. They do contain a lot of the milk protein though.

People who want to have just concentrated milk fat, can get it as heavy whipping cream, or as butter if it has been whipped a lot. Are those a problem for the Lactose intolerant? If so, is it really because they haven't been purified sufficiently of lactose, or is there a more fundamental reason?

Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 8 years ago from United States

Very much needed hub! Used to prefer to drink milk over everything, including water as a child. No longer can tolerate dairy products other than yogurt. One thing you didn't touch on, that makes me wonder.

My daughter and granddaughter have always drank large amounts of milk. At age, ten my granddaughter was already in early puberty. At eleven, she could easily pass for a small very well developed woman. She by no means fat. Her physican told my daughter early puberty, this is epidemic in America due to hormones, etc. in our milk and other dairy products. I find it alarming.

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

Go to to find your answers!

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Lady Guinever, thanks for the input!

Nets, I think that lactose intolerance has specifically to do with the inability to process the carbohydrate lactose. In dairy products that contain no carbohydrates, there shouldn't be any lactose. I mean, I don't see how there can be. String cheese is an example of such a product. If someone suffers indigestion from eating a carbohydrate-free dairy product, then this is not a result of lactose intolerance. Some people react badly to calcium. Others may be suffering a reaction to the protein side of dairy products. Some might have a problem digesting fat. There could be all sorts of causes that have nothing to do with lactose intolerance. Some people have taken to using that term as synonymous with a bad reaction to dairy, but that's not the scientific or medical meaning of the term.

Jerilee, thanks for sharing. I did intend to say more about hormones and antibiotics in animal husbandry, but I kind of ran out of steam. Yes, I do think hormones are a problem. I, too, have seen girls my daughter's age and younger, who are prematurely turning into little women. That is a matter for concern. I've read somehwere that "good nutrition" is what's causing this, but I have my doubts. It's true that puberty is delayed when a young women is underweight, and that it comes faster if she is overweight. However, some of these girls are not obese, just way too physically mature for their age.

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

It's not the milk - it's the growth hormones in milk as well as meat which just don't get destroyed even with cooking that are responsible for obesity in so many. The presence of antibiotics can also have adverse effects.

Lactose intolerance is the inability of the system to break down the lactose in the milk. So people who suffer from it can either add lactase to their milk products or avoid it.

Great hub, Aya Katz. Especially when milk bashing seems to have become the favourite pastime of so many :)

Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

Very balanced hub. :)

I don't drink milk myself, I have intolerance (I don't really care if it lactose or what :)), but I love cheese and butter and sour cream. My kids eat and drink what they want when they want, and yes, they do drink milk when they feel like that. In fact, we probably consume a gallon of milk per week, for two kids.

I am a big advocate of letting our bodies decide what they need at the moment, and don't interfere with what kids are eating, even if this is a chocolate - and fight over this with my wife :)

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Shalini and Misha, for your comments.

The problem of hormones in meat and dairy probably deserves a hub of its own. But as Shalini says, it's not the milk. Misha, yes, I let my daughter have chocolate, too. If we forbid everything, they'll just get it someplace else. Also, chocolate has beneficial qualities, when taken in moderation.

mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Great Hub, and whilst I am fortunate enough to come from a small island famous for it's Dairy cows, (Guernsey), and the high quality of their free range milk, I do know from working at a vets that cats are lactose intolerant and we should not give them anything other than "cat milk", and even this they don't actually need as water is their ideal liquid for good health.

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Mistyhorizon2003, thanks for the input.

Yes, I also have heard that cats are not to be given milk, anymore, and that this is the latest wisdom. But did people know this twenty years ago? How can the digestion of cats have changed so rapidly? If you go to the site that favors raw milk, there is a reference to a study that showed that it made a big difference if the milk was pastuerized or not as to how well the cats fared. But this was a long term study.Lactose intolerance is supposed to be about immediate results.

I know that a kitten will die if fed on cow milk. I also know that an adult cat will drink it, in preference to water. So in what way does the lactose intolerance manifest itself? Is it a matter of the cat not living as long as he would without milk in the diet?

When we moved to the US, we heard for the first time that we must not give chicken bones to dogs, because they will choke on them. Prior to that, we fed our dogs in Israel chicken heads and all manner of chicken bones. Who is right? Could it be that some of these practices concerning dogs and cats are culturally based?

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

You can feed your dog chicken bones. Raw, uncooked Chicken. It is when you cook them that the bones become brittle and splinter while the dog chews on htem. When the bones are raw they are soft and plyable to the dog or cat.

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

I never heard about not feeding kittens cows milk. I did put it in my recipe on my hub on feeding your de=sexed cats. I had one kitten that got sick from drinking it up but not the other two and the cats didn't have a reaction to it either. I did eventually take it out of the recipe though. What kind of study and with how many cats did they do to see if they couldn't drink cows milk?

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

I sometimes wonder if we are turning our kids and our pets into plasticized beings - what to eat and what not to eat. If one looks at the larger picture, I'm sure a lot of these so called dos and don'ts sprang from vested interests like pet food and formula infants foods :P

I've known generations of cats that have survived on cow's milk - how come it's suddenly bad for them? Of course, one has to keep in mind that food has changed a lot too - they've become a lot more plastic!

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Lady Guinevere, thanks for the input about cooked versus raw chicken bones for dogs. I had not heard that distinction made before. But what about chicken bones that have been stewed? Are they still too brittle for dogs?

I haven't read the original cat study, but this is what it said on the Raw Milk hub that I have linked to on this page:

Pottenger Cat Study (1940s)

One group of cats on raw milk...

Another on heated or pasteurized milk...

Those that drank the heated milk experienced...

Skeletal changes Decreased reproductive capacity Suffered from infectious and degenerative diseases common today Experienced acute illnesses (diarrhea, vomiting)Those that drank raw milk were active and experienced good health and reproduced for generations.

The link is:


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Lady Guinevere, what I said about kittens applies to those that are too young to be weaned. It is never a good idea to substitute cow milk for mother's milk in infants of any species of mammal, because infants are very sensitive and thrive on mother's milk. Any substitutes should be viewed with suspicion. Developing infant formula took a lot of trial and error. It's not a simple matter.

However, this goes to show that lactase persistence has little to do with the ability to digest cow's milk, because all infants come equipped with plenty of the enzyme lactase. Their problem with cow's milk, if they are not calves themselves, has to do with other factors.

mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

The person I know who best could explain the cats not being given cow's milk due to lactose intolerance is a friend of mine who is a head vet's Nurse, and also has over 15 years experience of working for both R.S.P.C.A. hospitals, and vets surgeries. At the moment she is on holiday and won't be back for about another 8 days, but when she returns I shall ask her if she can clarify this information and will post back what she says here.

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

Interesting study. Thanks. Oh you can find information about RAW Food diets if you go searh the internet. I have the link on my other computer, but it is Myths About Raw Fedding or something to that effect. When the 5 kittens were little I gave them semifrozen chicken wings and they loved them. I did have to take it away when it was the larger bones that were left. Not becaue they didn' eat it or it got stuck in their throats. I had to because they tried to get the whol thing in their tiny mouths at once! It also helped with their teething too! My dog won't eat them thoug, but adult ccats will fight over them. They are too expensive no to buy them/

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Shalini, I totally agree. The way we are treating children and animals today is "plastic". People buy baby food, but are afraid to make their own. We are discouraged from giving table scraps to our pets, and instead we buy pet food, some of which is much less nutritious. There are definitely certain special interests that benefit from these changes. I keep dog food on hand in case there are no scraps, but my dog's diet is enriched by leftovers.

Mistyhorizon, thanks for checking in. I look forward to hearing what your friend with the special expertise has to say.

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Lady Guinevere, thanks for providing the raw food links!

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

You are welcome!

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

Thanks Lady Guinevere - I've always baulked at feeding the pets raw bones - don't quite know why, but I guess I should start doing just that!

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

sunnycb profile image

sunnycb 8 years ago

Very informative...great job Aya Katz. Some of the facts even I was not aware. And for all those lactose intolerant it is a fact that during birth the milk that is breat fed is the main substance that keeps us going during our life.

As a matter of fact I have seen that all those kids who were not breast fed after birth had a real tough life. Acually the first ten days mother's milk is full of factors that contain immune information which acts like a anti-virus software for our body. And this information factors called Transfer Factors are not available in the normal milk. These help in modulating our immune systems and keep us healthy.

Now with the advancement in technology these Transfer Factor molecules have been separated from the milk ( colostrum ) and are available for consumption as food supplement. In short of you have not been breast fed during your birth it is time to supplement your diet with transfer factors.

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

Your Hubs are always so full of knowledge. Thanks for this very comprehensive Hub. The question about calorie-dense foods is interesting because it's more beneficial in developing countries, where food might not always be as accessible as it is here. However, in places like the United States, I think it depends on the person; some people eat more frequently, and so calorie-dense foods are more negative, but others are busier and don't have as much time to eat, or their work is physically intensive. Overall I think calorie-dense food is a positive thing... we just have to control our appetites :)

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Glassvisage, thanks for dropping by! I think you are right that whether a calorie dense food is beneficial depends on the person. Of course, how frequently you feel the need to have meals depends to some extent on how filling those meals are. This in turn is somewhat dependent on how fast the food gets digested. Simple sugars get burned faster, leading to spikes and then defecits in blood sugar. Foods high in fat take a longer time to digest and require less frequent feedings...

people magnet profile image

people magnet 7 years ago from Florida's East Coast

I enjoyed this educational article on milk. I totally agree that breast feeding is the best formula for infants.

Sunnycb is correct  about the special properties found in mothers milk that enhances the immune system.

I will added this, there is a unique whey protein supplement on the market that is safe and clinicially proven to help raise intracellular GLUTATHIONE within the immune system.

I researched it after my friend sent me the access link info and WOW!!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

People Magnet, thanks for your comment. There is no doubt about it, breast milk was especially developed to meet infants' needs.

I don't know much about whey protein supplements, though.

dee 6 years ago

My son had peptides in his urine due to a casein intolerance. I have started giving him digestive enzymes and stopped dairy intake as well as processed foods. It's been just over a week. He's had two major panic attacks (total nightmare) and became completely unstable. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and has a horrible temper. So we give him a whey protein without casein in it. He's not loving it and it's been a struggle. Our hope is that his attention and behavior and frustration tolerance will improve. If not we are looking at Ritilan. I am willing to try it. IF he has an intolerance, well im sorry, it's nothing personal against milk.... wait no, yeah that's exactly what it is. It's an educated personal choice. If it works than hooray for him... and us!

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Dee, I hope the new diet regimen for your son works and that everything improves in both his life and yours! Certainly, we all have to make educated personal choices for ourselves and our children. Milk is not for everyone, and thankfully not everybody has to drink it. There are many other alternatives.

mobias profile image

mobias 5 years ago from Forest Grove, OR

Informative in general, but some possible mis-guiding info here. Relying mostly on Wikipedia and historical religious texts for scientifically researched answers provides vague, if inconclusive answers to the questions you present. There is much actual, researched data available, and one of the commenter’s here found a good source- I suggest reading the Milk letter [first top left link] on which Dr. Kradjin provides an obvious answer to your position that humans in history have enjoyed milk without issue, so why is it a problem now?: Because this isn't true. "...Certain racial groups, namely blacks are up to 90% lactose intolerant as adults. Caucasians are 20 to 40% lactose intolerant (including my wife). Orientals are midway between the above two groups. Diarrhea, gas and abdominal cramps are the results of substantial milk intake in such persons. Most American Indians cannot tolerate milk. The milk industry admits that lactose intolerance plays intestinal havoc with as many as 50 million Americans."-Dr.Kradjin

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Mobias, it may very well be true that many people, of various ethnic groups, are currently lactose intolerant. I was not questioning that. What I was questioning is the assumption that lactose intolerance is primary, because we did not evolve to drink milk. By examining historical texts and the ability of other animals to drink milk who also did not "evolve" to drink it, such as snakes, I am showing that lactose tolerance is not an innovation. It is lactose intolerance that is new. The scientific studies that I have seen ignored this important evidence.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Aya, I'm with you that lactose intolerance ISN'T primary. As the great-granddaughter and granddaughter of dairymen, milk was a huge part of the family diet on my mother's side for many generations. And on my dad's side, the traditional "baptism" for newborns was a teeny-tiny spoonful of ice cream.

No one on either side of the family was lactose intolerant, which I can't help but think is due to the practice of introducing babies to milk and milk products like ice cream in tiny amounts early on.

I should add that when I and my children were babies, LI was rare but recognized as a serious condition if left undetected, so 3-day-old infants were tested before leaving the hospital.

Other than a true genetic disability to digest lactose, I believe LI has MUCH to do with when milk is introduced into a baby's diet. In the "old days", to augment breast milk, babies as young as a month old were routinely fed soft solid foods like peas and mashed potatoes right from Mom's plate at the dinner table. The mashed potatoes, of course, would contain milk and butter, but Baby somehow survived.

Therefore I do NOT agree with the current ban on solid food for babies under 4-6 months old and withholding dairy products for the first year!

Doing so, I believe, causes the enzymes and such that Nature put there *specifically* to digest such foods to disappear, opening the door to allergies and other unpleasant reactions when those foods are finally introduced.

Many allergies are routinely cured by the gradual introduction of tiny amounts of the offending substance into a sufferer's system, which allows the body to build up a tolerance to it. The current rash of lactose intolerance, therefore, is more likely the result of withholding milk and milk products for too long a period in the first place. ;D

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

JamaGenee, thanks for your comment. You add a lot of valuable information to this discussion. Clearly, the recent rash of lactose intolerance has more to do with current lifestyle than with genetic indisposition. Your suggestion that exposure to cow's milk should occur early in life makes a lot of sense.

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