If you love milk but are unsure what to make of the myriad of information out there about it, we’ve rounded up the top 5 myths on milk.
Myth #1: Those who are lactose intolerant should avoid dairy products.
Busted: Because every human body works differently, we all have different thresholds when it comes to the level of dairy consumed. Your tolerance to dairy products can be monitored with experimentation. Generally, consumption of small amounts is okay. What’s more, recent studies have shown that hard cheeses and yoghurt are low in lactose (some even containing no lactose sugar at all) and therefore easily tolerated. And if you’re not convinced, there are lactase tablets you can take before consuming dairy to manage your tolerance.
Myth #2: Raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurised milk.
Busted : Milk that has not been pasteurised or homogenised has increased in popularity the past few years. Some people believe it tastes better, is more digestible and contains higher levels of nutrients than pasteurised milk. Pasteurisation is the process of heating milk for a short period of time at a high temperature to kill any bacteria. It has helped provide a safe milk supply for over 120 years and does not reduce milk’s nutritional value. Moreover, raw, unpasteurised milk can carry dangerously high levels of bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter and listeria, which can cause serious illnesses.
Myth #3: The dairy industry adds growth hormones to milk that are bad for you.
Busted: Milk from rBST (Bovine somatotropin) treated cows is identical to milk from untreated cows. All milk contains small amounts of naturally occurring hormones. BST or bovine growth hormone (BGH) is a naturally-occurring hormone in cows that helps them produce milk. rBST, a synthetic copy of this hormone, is sometimes given to cows by dairy farmers to boost milk production. BST (natural or synthetic) does not have any impact on human health because it is species specific. Ninety percent of it is destroyed by pasteurisation, and the remaining trace amounts are completely broken down into inactive amino acids segments in the intestine like any other protein.
Myth #4: Soy milk is a good alternative to cow’s milk.
Busted: Some people choose soy beverages as an alternative to cow’s milk for a variety of reasons. For example, if they are vegan (consume no animal products), lactose intolerant or if they perceive soy milk to be healthier. However, soy beverages contain a very different set of nutrients to cow’s milk. Although the protein and fat content is similar, soy beverages are naturally low in calcium, containing only about 10mg per serving. Manufacturers often fortify with calcium – though it is not required – but the amount added is not regulated and can vary from 80 to 500 mg per serving. Furthermore, the amount of calcium absorbed by soy beverages may not be consistently high as cow’s milk. Milk is also essential for bone health as it includes vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, which is not present at the same levels in soy beverages. Although soy milk can be a healthy alternative, it probably shouldn’t be used as a substitute for cow’s milk.