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(In the rest of this section, when discussing milk, I will be referring to cow’s milk, which is by far the most commonly consumed.) Even for adults, cow’s milk and its products are not ideal and really not even suggested, especially from factory-farmed cows. We know that when an upset mother nurses her infant, he or she may have intestinal difficulties; what can we expect from these mistreated animals?

On the more positive side, milk is a very good protein food and an important source of calcium. It has a better balance than vegetable foods in all the essential amino acids. Milk is considered a complete protein food from which we can build bodily tissue proteins. Milk also contains many of the B vitamins, including B6 and B12, has vitamins A, D, and E, and contains most of the minerals, though mainly calcium and phosphorus, along with potassium and some sodium. It has traces of zinc, iron, selenium, manganese, and copper and a little vitamin C, but certainly not enough to meet daily needs for any of these essential nutrients.

One glass of milk contains about 300 mg. of calcium, a level hard to find in very many other foods, and it is also in balance with phosphorus, so good for bone health. Other foods, such as meats, nuts, and seeds, have a much higher proportion of phosphorus. Many cheeses made from milk are also concentrated in calcium. Some extra calcium is helpful for elderly individuals or people with high blood pressure, as it helps to relax the vascular tone and sometimes reduces muscle tension. However, research has recently shown that the actual calcium utilization is not that good from milk or meat, or when consuming a high protein diet. More important, though, the higher fat levels of milk may increase cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels, which increases the atherosclerosis risk and may create more long-range problems with hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Thus, drinking milk or eating a lot of milk products is not generally recommended in the adult population.


Fat and Calorie Content of Milk (one glass, 8 oz.)

Whole 2% Skim
milk milkmilk
Calories150.0 120.085.0
Protein (g.)8.0 8.18.4
Carbohydrates (g.)11.3 11.711.8
Fiber (g.)0.0 0.00.0
Total fat (g.)8.2 4.70.4
Saturated (g.)5.0 2.90.3
Unsaturated (g.)2.7 1.50.1
Cholesterol (mg.)33.0 18.00.4

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About The Author
Elson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
 
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