Dispelling one of the biggest nutrition myths

Published 12:07 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023

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       Today, I’d like to share information on a culinary item, that for some represents satisfaction, or at least a rewarding chief ingredient to many comfort foods, while others view it as a cuisine staple. 

Milk is a white liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It serves as the primary source of nutrition for young mammals (including breastfed human infants), before they are able to digest solid food. The term milk comes from  Old English “meoluc” (West Saxon), “milc” (Anglian), and from the Proto-Germanic “meluks.” 

       As an agricultural product, milk is collected from farm animals. More than 6 billion people worldwide consume milk and milk products, and between 750 and 900 million people live in dairy-farming households. India is the world’s largest producer of milk, while New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands are the largest exporters of milk products. 

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       Now, I completely respect those who don’t wish to drink milk, and there are those who strongly believe that cow’s milk is meant only for baby calves, and human milk is only for humans. However, one of the biggest nutrition myths perpetuated today is that milk is not beneficial. 

Calcium is the most abundant and most replaced mineral in the body. It actually makes up 2% of body weight and is found to some degree in every cell of the body. Over time, our bodies are continually working to break down and rebuild bones, in a process called bone remodeling. Since calcium is constantly being removed from bones, it must be immediately replaced. Just one cup of milk provides 29% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium. 

The need for calcium starts long before a baby is born, as their teeth are being formed in utero. A baby is actually born with a full set of primary teeth, hidden under the gums, which demonstrates the importance of calcium intake, especially for pregnant women. In counseling first-time expectant mothers, they are sometimes surprised when they tell me they need to take in more calcium and nutrients so that their baby gets what it needs, and then I inform them that the baby will get what it needs but that the mother can be in deficiency. 

Milk is made up of 35% protein. In fact, two popular protein supplements, casein and whey, both come from milk. Casein makes up 80% of the protein in milk, while whey makes up the other 20%. Whey is considered the fast protein, because it’s quickly broken down and absorbed, making it a great protein source for post-workout or muscle injury. Casein is broken down more slowly by the body, so it provides a steady supply of protein throughout the day. These are both complete proteins, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids that the body can’t synthesize itself. 

       Milk comes from seven main breeds of dairy cows: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey, Milking Shorthorn, and Red and White, a variation of the Holstein breed. Milk is the official state beverage of 21 states. If you live in one of the states that have an official beverage, then the chances are that it is milk. Milk is white in color because it contains casein. We’ll continue next week, with more information on milk. 

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David Crocker is a nutritionist and master personal trainer. Questions? Email David at dwcrocker77@gmail.com or text to 864-494-6215.