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Is milk healthy or bad for you? All info at a glance!

  1. Milk has been the subject of heated debate in recent years. Ten years ago we thought it was good for everyone, but now we are not so sure anymore. The white poison, it is now called. It will cause cancer, disintegrate your bones, and acidify your body too.

  1. And yet the Nutrition Center still recommends eating and drinking dairy products. How is that exactly? Is milk healthy, or is it indeed an assassin? We discuss all the arguments in today's blog!

Nutritional value of milk

  1. We start with the basics: what exactly is in milk? And that is quite a lot right away. For example, a tall glass of whole milk - 250 ml - already contains over a quarter of your RDA of calcium.

  1. You will find a comparable dose of vitamins B2 and D. Then there is 18% for B12, 10% for potassium, and no less than 22% for phosphorus. Milk also contains vitamins A, B1 and B6, magnesium, selenium and zinc. Whole milk contains 3.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams.

Dairy is good for…

  1. Such a list of vitamins and minerals will not mean much to many people. Moreover, it is often not necessarily these substances that may or may not have a healthy effect. Whether a food has beneficial effects depends on a complicated interplay of factors. How about that in this case? Is milk healthy for certain parts of your body?

  1. Research shows that milk is good for:

Is milk unhealthy?

  1. Most scientists and nutritionists still say that milk is healthy (1). It therefore seems logical to just believe that. But why are there so many people who insist that milk is bad for you? Is milk healthy or unhealthy? Below we list the most frequently heard arguments â € “and discuss how useful they are!

  1. A frequently heard statement: milk is for calves, and humans are not calves. That is why we have to stay away from it, because drinking milk from other animals is â € unaturalâ € ™. There are quite a few things wrong with that argument.

  1. Well, of course cow's milk was originally not for humans. However, that's not to say we can't drink it. Nothing in nature is â € intendedâ € ™ to be eaten by us: it just is there and so we eat it.

  1. In addition, it is not at all so â € ˜unaturalâ € ™ to drink milk from other animals. In nature it sometimes happens that animals raise small ones of a different species. In short: the people-aren't-cows argument just doesn't say much.

  1. Cow's milk contains several types of proteins, including casein. And casein consists of different types, including beta casein A1. A1, characterized by the peptide BCM-7, can be blamed for many problems over the years. It is said to cause cardiovascular disease, cancer, autism and Crohn's disease.

  1. Sounds menacing… except that this EFSA review study found none of those horror stories were properly substantiated. The studies rattled all over for various reasons. No reason to believe that beta-casein A1 is indeed that unhealthy, so!

  1. This argument is also common, with different (and often even higher) percentages. The idea is that most people will suffer from milk â € “so we better leave it alone. The problem with that? This percentage applies to the entire world population, not to the Netherlands.

  1. Outside of Europe, many people are indeed lactose intolerant - almost all of Asia, for example. But in Europe, where we have been drinking cow's milk for thousands of years, things are different. A genetic mutation that allows the digestion of lactose in later life is widespread here. In the Netherlands, an estimated 5% of people are lactose intolerant. Many of them only develop complaints with large amounts of milk; otherwise, milk is healthy enough.

  1. Then there is the question of acidification. Yes, it is certainly true that milk has an acidifying effect on the body. And it is indeed true that higher levels of acidification in your blood can have all kinds of unhealthy consequences. However, that does not immediately make milk poison. Do you know what also has an acidifying effect?

  1. Mushrooms, pasta, all kinds of meat and fish, soy sauce and ripe bananas. All things that are also regularly on the menu in healthy diets. And that is not a problem, because you compensate with vegetables and healthy oils, for example. So the answer to the question “Is milk good for you?” Also depends to a great extent on proper balance.

  1. We have all learned that calcium in milk is necessary for our bones. However, there are also people who claim that milk actually causes osteoporosis. The reason? In addition to calcium, milk also contains phosphorus. If you consume too much of the latter, your body needs more calcium to maintain the balance. And that is then removed from your bones!

  1. Sounds dangerous, but in reality it is not so bad. Again, you should not forget the rest of your diet. If you don't get too much phosphorus there, the balance will be fine.

  1. Finally, the frequently heard argument that you don't need milk. Because, according to the story, in Asia people are also healthy without milk. That's true, but have you ever noticed that people in Asia have a completely different diet anyway?

  1. You can eat healthy without dairy, but you will have to overhaul your entire menu for that. Eating normal Dutch food, but without dairy? That is not going to work. You will then quickly run into all kinds of shortages.

  1. Incidentally, a lot of outright lies are published in this category. For example, you sometimes read that 100 grams of kale contains twice as much calcium as a glass of milk. That is simply untrue: 100 grams of kale contains 150 mg of calcium, 250 ml of milk contains 300 mg. So always keep checking these kinds of statements!

Is milk healthy?

  1. All in all, we can say: no, dairy is not poison. Of course you have to eat and drink it within a balanced diet, but that applies to everything. If you make sure that you eat enough fruit and vegetables, then milk is healthy enough (assuming you are not intolerant).

  1. What about other dairy products? A brief overview:

  1. Yoghurt, like milk, contains a lot of calcium and B12. However, unlike milk, it is low in lactose. People with a mild intolerance can sometimes eat yoghurt. Yogurt is also a fermented product. That means it makes the bacteria in your gut stronger, which is good for your general health!

  1. Cheese is also very rich in calcium. However, it is important to make sure that it also contains a relatively large amount of saturated fat and salt. A little cheese is fine - the Nutrition Center recommends 40 grams per day. However, it is wise not to go over that too much on average!

  1. Buttermilk contains slightly less fat than regular milk. In addition, just like yogurt, it is a soured product with less lactose. And it is fermented again, so you do your intestinal flora a pleasure again. The sour taste may take some getting used to, but it's worth trying!

Are you lactose intolerant?

  1. Of course, this all applies especially to people who can indeed digest lactose. That may be the vast majority, but if you don't fall into that group, it will of course be of little use to you…

  1. Besides direct lactose intolerance, there are also people who experience other disadvantages from milk. Skin problems are a typical complaint in this category. There are also people who, for example, get a bloated feeling when they drink milk. If you suffer from dairy in one way or another, it is better to opt for alternatives to milk!

Alternatives to milk

  1. As a result of all the discussions about milk, there are an awful lot of replacement products available today. Not all are equally suitable for everyone. For that reason, we list below the six most commonly used alternatives to milk. We will briefly discuss the pros and cons, so that you can make the best choice yourself!

  1. Almond milk is the most commonly used nut milk, which you can get in most supermarkets. It is full of vitamins and minerals that you also find in almonds. However, this type of milk does contain less protein than cow's milk. Also a disadvantage: in some cases sugar has been added.

  1. So look specifically for an unsweetened product â € “or make the almond milk yourself! You can of course also use the same recipe for other nuts. Think of hazelnuts, macadamias, and so on. There is already a world of choice within this category!

  1. Oat milk - the name says it all - is made from oats by soaking oat flakes in water. It contains a lot of fiber, especially compared to other alternatives to milk. The taste is slightly sweet, but relatively strong. So it is always a question of whether oat milk goes well with other dishes.

  1. Finally, oat milk contains relatively many carbohydrates. So, unlike regular milk, it is not really a source of protein! Keep this in mind when setting up your daily menu.

  1. Soy milk is perhaps the most commonly used substitute for regular milk. The big advantage is of course that soy is also rich in proteins. This means that soy milk is in no way inferior to ordinary dairy varieties in this respect. Unfortunately, that same ingredient is also a disadvantage for some people. It is unfermented soy, to which not everyone reacts equally well. And here also applies again: many variants contain a ridiculous amount of unnecessary sugar. So be sure to choose an explicitly unsweetened variety.

  1. Coconut milk is different from coconut water (which is very healthy by the way). It is noticeably fatter than regular milk, and it has a light coconut flavor that some people may take some getting used to.

  1. However, if you like it, coconut milk can be ideal for dishes that need that creamy texture. For example, it is the ideal filler in curries. By the way, do not leave coconut milk in the can after opening. This can release unhealthy substances.

  1. One of the most commonly used cereal milks is rice milk. (Variants such as spelled milk and quinoa milk are also available, but you often don't find them in the supermarket.) It has a soft and slightly sweet taste. Many people like it, but with the nutritional value it is a bit disappointing.

  1. Rice milk, just like oat milk, provides a lot of carbohydrates. Furthermore, rice milk as an alternative to milk is not very suitable for babies and small children. An advantage over that oat milk is that it is usually gluten-free.

  1. One last item on the list is goat's milk. This is the only one of the mentioned alternatives to milk that is not vegetable. It is therefore not a good choice for people who eat vegan. If you do not drink milk because you are lactose intolerant, then goat milk can work again. It contains completely different milk sugars, to which people react completely differently.

  1. The taste of goat's milk is one that many people have to get used to. For example, it is a little less sweet and more 'earthy' than regular milk.



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