To dairy or not to dairy

There is an article circulating about the “reasons” why milk is not a healthy beverage. It may be some of the worst bit of journalism I have ever read, but it does make for an exciting blog post!
There were many ridiculous points made in this article and I will try to get through some of the more crazy issues brought up.

One of alleged “reasons” for avoiding milk is because some people have food allergies towards milk. Another “reason” mentioned is because some people suffer from lactose intolerance. I am not too sure how these two facts have been turned into a case against milk, but the fact that some people have allergies or an intolerance to certain foods does not make then “bad” or unhealthy”. Of course, they are to be completely avoided by the people who are allergic to them but in most cases of lactose intolerance, intolerant people can buy lactose free milk or take an enzyme that breaks down lactose before it causes a problem.
If all allergenic foods were to be considered unhealthy, we should also be avoiding the other main food allergens which include: peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, wheat, soy, sesame seeds, seafood, sulfites and mustard.
That does not leave many food choices left! When you have no food allergies and no one you are cooking for has severe allergies, avoiding a food that contains a main allergen is pointless. You certainly do not develop food allergies just by eating allergenic foods.

On that same note, lactose was attacked because writer mentioned that milk is “full of sugar”. It is true that lactose is a form of sugar that eventually break down into glucose (the sugar of our blood that feeds our brain and muscles). Lactose occurs naturally and no sugar is added to regular milk. if you are not scared to drink a glass of juice, there is no reason why you would be scared of milk. In fact, cup for cup, milk contains half the amount of sugar as juice.

Another point made against milk is that it is “loaded with calories”. Sure, it contains calories but it is not “loaded” with them. If you compare anything to water it will be loaded with calories. For those of you just tuning in, calories = energy. They go on to compare the saturated fat content of fries and milk. Fries in fact are low in saturated fat because the oil used to fry them is low in saturated fat. Milk is not high in saturated fat. 0, 1 and 2% milk have acceptable saturated fat contents so comparing anything with fries cooked in a fat low in saturated fat would yield a “false” high amount. A food item containing less than 10% daily value of bad fat is considered low in bad fat.

My final point is merely 6 words: Mark Bittman is an Opinion columnist.

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