pitchers of milk with a blue background
Breakfast,  Food Advocacy,  Food For Better Health,  Recipes

Does Milk Really Do a Body Good?

Humans have been consuming milk for thousands of years.  

Around the world, people drink milk from many different animals including cows, camels, goats, llamas, sheep and buffalo.

During the depression, my mother said, they survived on fresh goat’s milk.

Milk packs a nutritional punch, containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin D.

However, it also contains a very high amount of sodium.

 Read how salt and hypertension are related HERE! 

Most milk sold in the United States is PASTEURIZED, which means the microorganisms that cause salmonella and hepatitis, as well as spoilage, have been destroyed by heating, followed by a quick cooling.

Pasteurization eliminates the possibility of diseases and gives the product a longer shelf life.

Dairy Foods in the Food Pyramid

How dairy foods were established as an “essential” food in the pyramid, despite their high concentration of fat, saturated fat, and lactose is of some historical significance.

Since the early 20th century, nutritionist and dairy lobbyist have collaborated to promote the nutritional value of dairy foods, especially milk.

 Humans are the only mammals consuming milk after infancy. 

In 1943, the United States government issued the National Wartime Nutrition Guide. This was the first time milk was a separate category for the “7 basic food groups.”

During that time our country was experiencing a “nutrition deficiency,” which naturally precipitated the government recommendation of drinking the white product.

In 1958, the “Basic Four” food guide recommended it for everyone…

children under 9…2-3 cups per day

children 9-12 years old…3 or more cups per day

teenagers…4 or more cups per day

adults…2 or more cups per day

The National Dairy Council, established in 1915, had to be thrilled with these recommendations; however, by the 1960’s, federal dietary advice shifted from an “eat more” to “eat less” transition.

Concerns over American’s intake of fat, higher levels of obesity and a surge in chronic disease began to effect dietary goals.

The American Heart Association and the National Cancer Institution recommended reducing fat intake from 30% of your daily diet, to 10%, which would include lowering your dairy consumption.

The Dairy Council, “a non-profit organization founded by dairy farmers and funded through the national dairy checkoff program,” filed objections.

Milk case at the grocery store

Recently, some scientists have raised doubts about whether milk, as well as other dairy products, actually confer special health benefits.

Concerns about lactose intolerance in children, as well as, if milk can help prevent osteoporosis have developed in recent years.

Some suggest allergenic proteins in dairy foods can cause more harm that good.

Current federal dietary recommendations include not only fat-free milk, but yogurt, soy milk, cheese, and plant based milk products, such as coconut, rice, almond and hemp milk as being great sources of calcium.

Fat-free and low-fat (1%) dairy products provide the same nutrients but less fat (and thus, fewer calories) than higher fat options, such as 2% and whole milk and regular cheese. 

Does Milk Make Bones Stronger?

The World Health Organization conducted research which determined countries with lower calcium intake do not have higher rates of bone diseases.

However, their research concluded countries with higher calcium intake have higher rates of him fractures.

In the United States, high protein intake and lack of exercise can contribute to poor calcium status and bone health.

The WHO found the relationship of calcium, vitamin D and bone health is more obvious in older adults; however, in children the correlation between calcium and bone health is not obvious. {http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d}

Almost ALL pasteurized and homogenized (chemical action preventing the cream and milk from separating, then making the liquid smooth) milks are fortified with vitamins A and D.

Federal law requires that both, low-fat and nonfat product be fortified with 2,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin A per quart. Though vitamin D fortification is optional, 400 IU per quart is usually added.

Recipe for banana strawberry smoothie


My family drinks Lactaid 2%.

We have no tummy issues.

The milk does not leave you feeling bloated.


Carton of Lactaid 2 percent milk




Food for thought?

In 1993, the FDA approved supplementing dairy cows with genetically produced hormone protein known as “bovine somatotropin,” or BST.

BST naturally occurs in cows; however, when bio-engineered and injected into cows, production increases by up to 25%.

Scientists assert that the composition of milk from BST-injected cows is not harmful to humans, however, opponents are not convinced.

No mandatory labeling is required for a BST supplemented product.


Always check the date on the carton to make sure what you are buying is the freshest available.


Refrigerate as soon as possible.

Milk will absorb fridge odors, so close containers and cartons tightly.

Never allow it to set out, at room temperature for more than 30 minutes or more.




  • Shelby

    We have drank Skim milk for years, now we have switched to Whole milk. I am trying to avoid Diabetes, so I am checking up on some things. Says Whole milk has less bad fat in it that Skim milk, who knows………….

  • JoAnn's Food Bites


    You might want to double check that.
    I believe whole milk has MORE saturated fat (aka bad fat), than skim milk.
    Whole milk also contains more calories than skim milk.
    The only real benefit to whole milk is the taste.
    Whole milk has a thicker and creamier texture.
    Compare some labels, next time you are at the supermarket.
    Here are the fat contents of popular milk varieties:

    Whole milk: 3.25% milk fat
    Low-fat milk: 1% milk fat
    Skim: Less than 0.5% milk fat
    This table summarizes the nutrients in one cup (237 ml) of several milk varieties:

    Skim Milk Low-Fat Milk (2%) Whole Milk
    Calories 83 102 146
    Carbs 12.5 g 12.7 g 12.8 g
    Protein 8.3 g 8.2 g 7.9 g
    Fat 0.2 g 2.4 g 7.9 g
    Saturated Fat 0.1 g 1.5 g 4.6 g
    Omega-3 3.5 mg 9.8 mg 183 mg
    Calcium 306 mg 290 mg 276 mg
    Vitamin D 100 IU 127 IU 97.6 IU

  • Mike

    1% fat Publix brand. Always put milk on my cereal or oatmeal. Usually 1 glass at dinner or before bed. I love milk, especially chocolate milk!

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