Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

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In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Milk: Some Impartial Facts

You don't have to believe me when I tell you that you can and should drink milk if you want to and can get around the symptoms, no matter what the milk crazies say.

But why not believe British medical writer Vivienne Parry, who is far away from the controversies that despoil the debate in the U.S.

In an article, It's udder confusion, on the prestigious, she says:

So should you aim for the milk moustache or never touch the stuff again? The way to find out is to speak only to those with no direct links with commercial organisations promoting any sort of milk, milk alternatives or therapies. So that’s what I’ve done.

First, let's go to the stuff we care about.
Dr George Lewith, who leads the Complementary Medicine Research Unit at Southampton University, is clear. “A few people have a bad time because of intolerance, but for most, it is safe and good nutrition.”


True allergies are a different matter. “Milk allergy prevalence is highest in infancy, at about 5 per cent,” says Professor John Warner, of Imperial College and a specialist in paediatric allergy. “But most of these infants get better spontaneously.” He says that parents who substitute with goat milk are giving something equally allergenic because the same allergens are present. Soya milk, he says, causes even more allergies.

That last sentence may need some explanation. Only about one-quarter of those with milk allergies also have soy allergies, from what I've read, but it may be true that overall more people have soy allergies than milk allergies.

Now, for milk's nutritional benefits:
Let’s start with the facts. The calcium content of milk is its big nutritional plus point.


Ah yes, say the milk detractors, but there are lots of other dietary sources of calcium; dark-green veg, seeds and bread (which is fortified with calcium), for instance. True, but milk’s calcium is much more easily absorbed by the body. “You’d have to eat 16 portions of spinach to get as much calcium as your body gets from a 240ml glass of milk,” says Joanne Lunn, of the British Nutrition Foundation. Try persuading your truculent teen to eat 16 portions of spinach.

The joy of milk for parents is that it’s surreptitious nutrition, a food that smuggles in protein and lots of B vitamins as well as calcium; for junior, usually in bowls of cereal (a double whammy since most cereals are calcium fortified).

Parry also takes a whack at the persistent urban legend that milk creates excessive mucus production:
Then there’s that phlegmy feeling you can get in your mouth from drinking milk. “That’s due to milk’s fat content,” says Collins. It has led many, especially those with asthma, to cut out milk in the belief that it creates mucus. But in an intriguing piece of research carried out by the University of Adelaide, milk drinking was shown not to be associated with increased mucus production in 60 brave volunteers deliberately infected with colds.

Her final comments could have been written by me. Naturally, I like this woman.
Here’s the advice. If you like milk, drink it, but not too much of it (because too much of anything isn’t good) and choose skimmed or semi-skimmed. Get your kids to drink more. If you prefer the taste of organic, fine. If milk upsets you, avoid it. Simple really.

Simple indeed.

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