Cow’s milk may be the go-to for our favorite cereals, its added to our teas and coffees and it’s found in just about anything we consume; however have you ever considered the risk factors it may have on your health or even to your emotional state? Researchers have found that the effects of cow’s milk can be detrimental to your health for it’s high content of cholesterol, it is full of antibiotics, and it posses a sugar known as lactose that can be difficult for some to digest. There are many debates on whether cow’s milk should be consumed or not.
It’s quite amusing how after animals are adults they don’t continue to drink their mother’s milk, but humans can’t seem to get enough of it. Though it may cause problems to their bodies and have their hormones up and down, people still drink milk every day. Cholesterol levels in Cow’s milk have been known to be higher than it should be, leveling at 12 milligrams for the quantity of 1 cup. Imagine the cholesterol of many uneducated people who might consume more than 1 cup of milk a day.
Among Americans age 20 and older, over 100 million have total blood cholesterol levels of 200 mg per deciliter or higher, according to the American Heart Association. They are more at risk for some of America’s leading causes of death such as heart disease and stroke. While the majority of cholesterol is produced by your own body, the food you eat — including milk — also plays a significant role in your cholesterol levels.” (Uzoma, 2017)
Just as how one thing can lead to another the same goes for high cholesterol. One big risk associated with high cholesterol is atherosclerosis. It’s when the arteries harden and the flow of blood and oxygen are disabled. “Over time, atherosclerosis can damage your heart, causing coronary artery disease, angina, a heart attack or stroke.” (Uzoma, 2017)
There are multiple types of cow’s milk such as whole milk, reduced-fat milk (2%), low-fat milk (1%), fat-free milk, organic milk, and lactose-free milk. Raw cow’s milk, also known as unpasteurized milk has about the same amount of calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol as regular dairy milk. Many say that it is more full of nutrients than other types of milk. According to MD, Cardiologist and medical director John Day “high-fat dairy could get you into trouble”. ( Qtd in. the best and worst milk for your cholesterol level.) Consuming foods that are filled with saturated fats can raise your cholesterol level. Saturated fats in your diet raises LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. (Kraft, 2017)
There are other alternatives you can substitute that’s lower in cholesterol for cow’s milk. Other options such as soy, almond, and rice milk are some other milk choices that can help lower cholesterol levels.
The proteins in soy milk may help to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Almond milk contains monounsaturated fat that may help lower bad cholesterol levels, plus, it’s loaded with vitamins E and B1. Studies show that these substances compete with animal cholesterol for absorption and can lower both total and bad cholesterol numbers. (Goh, 2012)
There are a lot of controversial tales about antibiotics on dairy farms. Researchers have found that some tests of milk have tested positive for antibiotics. According to Mike Apley, a researcher at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, says that it is ‘totally illegal’ for dairy farmers to use two of the drugs that the FDA detected: Ciprofloxacin and Sulfamethazine. ( Qtd. in FDA Test Turn Up Dairy Farmers Breaking Law On Antibiotics.)
When a cow gets sicks it is then placed on antibiotics, when the cow begins its treatment it is supposed to be separated from the other cows. If cows get sick, sometimes they need antibiotics. “Not every sick cow needs antibiotics – veterinarians help farmers decide which cows to treat with antibiotics and which cows to treat another way. Just like in people – every time you get sick you don’t need antibiotics, but when you do, antibiotics are really important!” (Feutz, 2016)
Some farmers are risking their license, even their farms by violating laws set in place to keep people healthy. Morgan scoot, a veterinary epidemiologist at Texas A&M University, noted that a small number of farmers, through their reckless use of drugs, may end up imposing substantial costs on all other dairy farmers. Farms with milk that is contaminated with antibiotics in the may have to throw away the all of the milk. They can be fined for having milk that is contaminated with antibiotics because it can harm consumers.
For humans, taking in all those toxins can be dangerous to your health. One way to improve the quality of drinking milk is too find other milk choices as stated earlier such as a substitution or to just stop drinking milk altogether. “A good place to start would be to cut out dairy products. It might be hard to do this, considering that milk-based products have been advertised as a crucial part of one’s everyday diet. Despite this difficulty, it is necessary due to the health risks that it can cause.” (Karen, 2017)
Depending on the person, lactose can lead you down an uncomfortable path. People who are lactose intolerant should try to avoid any contact with dairy. “ Lactose intolerance is caused by not having enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk and other dairy products. (ililades, 2012) The lack of enzyme lactase to break down lactose can cause symptoms like stomach pain, diarrhea, or even a skin rash.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “people with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in milk. As a result, they have diarrhea, gas and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products. The condition, which is also called lactose malabsorption, is usually harmless, but its symptoms can be uncomfortable.”
Our bodies react to things in many different ways. One way to confirm if your lactose intolerant is a blood test. A breath test would be another way to check if your lactose intolerant.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “ the lactose tolerance test gauges your body’s reaction to a liquid that contains high levels of lactose. Two hours after drinking the liquid, you’ll undergo blood tests to measure the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. If your glucose level doesn’t rise, it means your body isn’t properly digesting and absorbing the lactose-filled drink. This test also requires you to drink a liquid that contains high levels of lactose. Then your doctor measures the amount of hydrogen in your breath at regular intervals
75% of the world is lactose intolerant, many may say that we aren’t meant to consume cows milk, but we do anyway. For people who are not so friendly with dairy, veganism would be a great option. “ There are so many vegan-friendly milk variations that your bound to at least like some of them.” (Karlsen, 2016) from the foods, to the drinks, and even the products.
The effects of cow’s milk can be bad for your health, it is high in cholesterol, full of antibiotics, and produces lactose that can be difficult for some to digest, but at the end of the day people can’t get tired of cow’s milk. Other milk choices are available that’s to your liking. From rice milk, to almond, to soy these milks are very low in cholesterol and would be perfect for someone who wants to lower their cholesterol levels. Furthermore, Cow’s milks can leave you entirely sick, some people not even be able to digest dairy at all. nonetheless veganism is a great road to go. There is almost just about a substitution for anything. It is safe to say that milk may not be the best option anymore, but trying other alternatives may just work.