Milk. To drink or not to drink?

The pros and cons of milk and other dairy products.milk, a healthy drink

Pros:
1. Milk is an excellent source of many vital nutrients including; Calcium (strong bones & teeth, muscle function), Phosphorus (strong bones &teeth, energy release), Potassium (healthy muscles, nerves, blood pressure), Magnesium (muscle function, energy transfer) and of course protein!

2. Inclusion of dairy food has been shown to assist with weight control in a number of studies.

3. Research has also shown the saturated fat content of dairy is not associated with an increase heart disease risk.

4. Plain milk is a much healthier alternative to water than soft drinks or fruit juice. Water should still be the first choice when thirsty!

5. Milk and/or yoghurt works well with breakfast cereals or muesli. While many cereals are dubious health wise, most mueslis and high fibre cereals are healthy and a good source of many nutrients and dietary fibre.

6. Milk works really well with coffee and tea. Rice, almond and oat milk do not work so well.

7. There are skim, low fat and full fat versions to suit different needs.

8. Use of butter, cheese and yoghurt can increase the palatability, and therefore intake, of many healthy foods like vegetables.

9. Even full fat versions can be included in a healthy diet. Depending on the rest of your diet, if you prefer full fat dairy products, you can enjoy them (in moderation of course) without worrying about weight gain or heart disease.

10. You would not be as tall as you are today without the increase of dairy foods in the human diet.

Cons:
1. Environmental sustainability needs to be considered. This is a complex issue and out of my scope of practice, much has been written on the issue if you choose to look into it.

2. Many people see ice-cream and flavoured milk as good dairy sources. While flavoured milk still has many of the benefits of plain milk, ice-cream does not. Flavoured milk contains added sugar and therefore contains more energy which has implications for weight control. The added sugar does not add any health benefit either. Stick to plain milk.

3. Some people are allergic or intolerant to cows milk protein and some people intolerant to the milk sugar lactose. However there are alternatives such as A2 milk and lactose free milk.

I am wracking my brain, but actually can’t think of any moreā€¦ I may have missed something and am happy for you add your comments.

So in summary, for most people, milk and other dairy foods serve to enhance the nutrition and palatability of a healthy diet.

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