Cow’s milk: surely suitable for human consumption?
Man is the only specie on Earth who voluntary consumes the milk of another specie, and not only during his development but during all his life and in a regular and constant way. But are we really sure cow’s milk is harmless for human consumption?
The numerous advertising campaigns, financed by the giants of milk production and animal exploitation make us believe that cow’s milk consumption is “natural” and good for human health. Calcium, naturally present in cow´s milk has become the main selling argument of milk producers.
Indeed, a large percentage of the worldwide population has integrated milk and its byproducts into its eating habits. However, more and more people chose to reduce or to completely stop the consumption of milk products for the sake of ethics or health concerns.
Cow’s milk, contrary to the ideas diffused by advertising messages, is not exactly harmless for the human body: worst, it can provoke serious digestive problems for certain persons. Specialists evaluate that lactose intolerance concerns 15% or North Europeans, 23% of Middle Europeans, 80% of Africans and Latinos and up to 100% of Indian-Americans and Asians. Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed by bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, that occur between 20 minutes to several hours after drinking cow’s milk.
The presence of a great quantity of saturated fatty acids in milk is not adapted to human consumption and can provoke in the long term obesity and chronic diseases.
In the animal kingdom, each milk is adapted to the baby of his species. Cow’s milk is therefore perfect for calves, which are bound to weigh half a ton at the age of two. In that case, are we sure cow’s milk is adapted to human development?
Regarding calcium, this inorganic salt essential for the human body, is found in many plant foods such as almonds (248 mg / 100 g) or hazelnuts (135 mg / 100 g). In terms of comparison, the whole cow’s milk contains only 120mg / 100g.
Intensive farming dangers
According to the Association of Dairy Processors in France (ATLA), the production and consumption of milk in the world has been increasing from less than 600 million tons in 2001 to 800 million tons in 2013, so a growth of approximately one third.
But the intensive rearing of dairy cows that requires a massive consumption of dairy products worldwide, has extremely adverse effects on the environment (see our full article on the subject and the explanatory video Cowspiracy).
Moreover, with a worldwide expending demand, breeders are forced to feed their beasts with hormones, antibiotics or pesticides that we directly find in the milk we buy and consume.
As seen above, dried fruits are a natural and viable source of calcium for humans and can easily substitute cow’s milk. Almond milk or hazelnut milk are quite recommended for people wishing to change their eating habits without experiencing nutritional deficiency.
Sources : Pray WS. « Lactose intolerance: the norm among the world’s peoples » Am J Pharm Educ. 2000T Sahi, « Genetics and epidemiology of adult-type hypolactasia », Scand J GastroenterolSuppl, no 202, 1994, p. 7-20