Milk Really Does Do Your Body Good

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Both my husband and I have been milk drinkers our entire lives. Some of our fondest memories growing up include milk. For my husband it was spending summers working on his grandfather's dairy farm. For me it was greeting our milkman Mr. McVay each week as he delivered our milk and collected the empty bottles from the silver milk box on the front porch. I think I have just dated myself! Our teen children are wonderful milk drinkers as well and today our family goes through many gallons each week.

Of course, I have heard the many comments that milk from animals is only for animals and that many people are lactose intolerant especially if they are of non-European ancestry. Some opponents of milk say it is only promoted to benefit dairy sales and that alternatives such as rice, almond or soymilk are more nutritious. National Nutrition Month presents a wonderful opportunity to talk about why dairy offers superior nutrition and value.

According to the author of Nature's Perfect Food: How Milk Became America's Drink, social reformers have used milk as a tool and marketing angle for generations. When you look at a a brief history of cow's milk from the ancient world to the present, you find that dairy has been a primary part of our society since early colonial times.

As with any issue there are many pros and cons and ultimately each of us have to weigh those pros and cons and decide what is best for us. Here are some reasons why many like myself choose to include milk as part of their healthy nutrition plan.

Nine essential nutrients - Essential nutrients are those the body must have to function properly. They must come from food because the human body cannot manufacture them to keep up with the need by the body. Not only does milk provide calcium, it also provides eight other essential nutrients necessary for optimal health including vitamins A, D and B12, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, riboflavin and protein.

Great way to stretch your food dollar - We all want to get the most nutrient rich foods for our food dollar. Milk can help you do that because it provides more nutrition per calorie than many other grocery alternatives. To get the same amount of calcium as an eight-ounce glass of milk from a plant source you would have to consume three cups of broccoli. An eight-ounce glass of milk costs about 25 cents when you purchase it by the gallon. This provides a very low cost, nutrient rich option to round out a meal or as an inexpensive snack.

Easy way to meet nutrients you may be missing - There are seven nutrients of concern identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Adults tend to have an inadequate intake of fiber, vitamins E, C and A, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Milk and dairy foods supply four of these nutrients (calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin A) to your diet.

Great source of high quality protein - Like it or not all proteins are not created equal. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, and soybeans are considered complete proteins because they provide all nine essential amino acids. These amino acids (histamine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, trptophan and valine) are necessary since the body cannot make them and they are needed as building blocks to make specific proteins for the body.

May be possible to enjoy with lactose intolerance - It is estimated that about 65% of adults experience a decrease in intestinal lactase production which makes including dairy difficult. There are some that believe when dairy is included regularly from childhood, there are less issues with intolerance. If you experience intolerance problems, many people find success when they try drinking milk with meals, select lactose-free products, and aged cheeses like Cheddar that contain less lactose or select cultured products like yogurt to help lactose digestion.

There may be a variety of reasons you and your family do not include milk in your healthy eating plan. For my family, it is the drink of choice for meals and snacks right next to water. Milk provides a cost effective wealth of nutrition from a compact serving size. If you have not given milk a try recently, perhaps National Nutrition Month 2010 is the time to see if it will do your body good.

Are you a milk drinker? Why or why not.

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I've tried other things, soy milk and hazelnut milk, but the best source of calcium is cow's milk. In other types of milk, calcium is added, but less of it will be absorbed by your body. Milk can even help people lose weight faster, I am surprised you did not tell people about that! I buy nonfat, organic milk from grass-fed cows. Report
I always drank milk growing up. We aren't huge milk drinkers now, since it often pushes me over my calorie limit, but we use it plenty in protein shakes and in cooking. I buy it from a fantastic local dairy that treats their cows well. We usually get 2%, though if I'm shopping without my husband I will get 1%. He says 1% is too watery, but you don't notice the difference in cooking or smoothies, and we rarely drink it straight, so I'm not sure what he's really whining about. Report
No way! Cows milk is for baby cows.

After I wrote this comment I went to this website: /
and read about some of the actual research about drinking milk , and I can't believe spark is promoting milk as a healthy food. It definately is NOT. Report
I haven't been drinking a lot of milk lately because it puts so many more calories in my day, but always used to drink a lot. When I was younger I could go through a gallon in a day and I was NEVER overweight. When I got overweight was after I started drinking other drinks instead of milk (I was a terrible Pepsi addict after getting halfway through college). Report
Dairy products are certainly a viable option for nutrients for those of us genetically blessed to digest them well. After all, there are many cultures worldwide that depend almost exclusively on animals and their milk (with little, if any, fruits/vegetables) for sustenance.

In this country, on the other hand, there are issues to consider such as factory farming practices, animal cruelty, and big agriculture, in general. Frankly, in this land where nutrients are overly abundant, it seems to me cow's milk just isn't necessary.

I'm so sick of seeing the propaganda spewed constantly by Big Dairy, touting the exceptional amounts of vitamin D and calcium in milk. Vitamin D is added, and very few Americans are aware that greens contain more calcium than milk does.

Too bad fruits and vegetables don't have a huge conglomerate touting their wonders. Report
As in all opinions, very often there is more than one side to the story. The statistics are basically true but for raw unprocessed milk from healthy grass fed cattle. There are many sources on the internet about the real pros and cons of both raw milk and the store-boughten stuff that's been pasteurized, homogenized, etc. That stuff makes me sick very fast. The sweet raw milk from a local dairy farmer is SOOOO wonderful and I have wonderful childhood memories of going to the dairy, separating the cream and drizzling it on top of a bowl of freshly baked fruit cobblers or fruit pies or fruit crisps... and that milk was so healthy for me.

These days... well, go to - it's a PETA site, so I agree, it can be a bit graphic, but there's a fair amount of truth in their discussions.

Also, in many countries, the people who live long and healthy lives only drink or eat a fermented type of milk - ie yoghurt, laban, kefir, that sort of thing - and you may wish to check out information on the technical and medical reasons why the fermented cultured milks are better for adults and lactose-intolerant from websites like or or etc etc - a gob of information around ...

As a result of my research, my observation on how well my body responded to various products, I now predominantly use nut mylks - my term that I've swiped from some of the vegan blogs elsewhere on the web - such as almond mylk, hemp mylk, coconut mylk. When I can get over to the dairy (the closest one that I know of who will sell raw milk is about an hour drive away), I love raw milk and have never been sick from it. That milk is healthy for me. But Store-bought milk is NOT healthy for me.... Report
I grew up drinking milk when I got to my 20's I started drinking 2% then when I became prego and had my daughter I never had a liking to milk it was grose drinking it that was 18 years and never looked back.

The only thing I got from this advertisement was my 3 sparkpoints. I'm annoyed that they say you get more vitamins from drinking milk then eating vegetables or fruit for the essential vitamins that milk gives you, certainly not true.

I love milk, and do drink it, and use it on cereal, and for baking. I only use skim milk, and now that it's a habit, I find 1% and 2% way too heavy. there's nothing like a good cold glass of milk. Report
I love milk. I like it best with ice in it. One of the perks of drinking milk, aside from the way it tastes, is the way it makes me feel. I feel satisfied and seemingly less hungry for longer periods when I drink milk.

No one else in my family of 4 is a milk drinker-well my husband loves chocolate milk.

MILK, MILK, MILK !!!! Report
I drink soy milk but I like other dairy products like yogurt ESPECIALLY Greek Yogurt. Report
No, milk does not do a body good, and no, I do not and will not drink it. Soy and soy products are also detrimental so soy milk is not an alternative. Report
love Milk, have started drinking it from a Wine glass, so as not to have over 8 oz.
Love Dairy - Cheese, Yogurt, Ice Cream and BUTTER. Report
Since I am a feminist and vegan, I am not a milk drinker and never will be. Humans are not meant to consume the milk of another speicies. It makes no sense. Plus, I believe enslaving another species is wrong altogether and using another females reproductive nature for our own gain is also wrong. Since I wouldn't want someone to do that to me, I won't participate in doing so to someone else.There will never be milk in my diet again. Report
Yes, I'm a milk drinker. I like it, and I know it's good for me. But I only like skim or soy milk. Report
My bf and I have always drank alot of milk, especially growing up. We can easily go through 4L in a single day if we get the urge. I grew up drinking 2% and he grew up on whole. We've switched to 1% (although he would rather still have the whole milk) over time. However, since I recently started working on weight loss I've been drinking mostly water and only having small glasses of milk every 2nd day or so.... and now I've been finding that I wake up with cramps etc on the days I drink it.... I think I'm lactose intolerant but never knew it. I never had a problem before and I've drank 2L or more in a day. I love milk so much that I think I have to up my intake to at least one glass a day (but not go back to the large amt I was drinking before) b/c nothing beats an ice cold glass of milk to quench your thrist... sometimes I just crave it... but I don't want the horrible gut rot I get now. Report
When I was a kid my grandmother (who is SUPER frugal) made milk using powdered milk and water. I HATED it!! For years I avoided milk. Then I started buying my own 1% milk and now I love a cold glass of milk, especially right before bedtime! Report
I've never been a milk drinker- makes me gag. I recall as a child, eating something that tasted strong- like pickles- right before I had to drink my milk. As soon as I got old enough I quit drinking it. Report
getting milk from the farmer used to be my chore. I still have my little red milk can too! Oh the delights of a cup of milk still warm from the cow.... happy memories. Too bad I can't get that in this country. Report
There is nothing like a cold glass of milk. Report
Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, but tHere are studies showing that babies introduced to dairy too soon are at risk for Type I diabetes. I know moms who feed their babies skim milk for fear of fats when they NEED the fat for their brain. Casein proteins are unhealthy for kids on the autism spectrum. I've seen kids recover from autism on the gluten-free, casein-free diet. Milk allergy is the number one allergy for children (eczema, wheezing, bad diapers, ear infections, etc). I have a friend who grew up on a dairy farm and says milk is for calves.

I get a kick out of people who drink skim milk with 'added' FAT soluble vitamin D ... you NEED 'fat' to absorb the vitamin. I thought I'd read of studies showing CALCIUM helped a person lose weight, not necessarily milk. Drink too much and along with meat and grains, you're eating too acid and at risk for osteoporosis. Ask me, I've done it to my own darn self. I think you should eat greens for calcium, bone health and weight loss. :) Report
When I was a child - 58 years ago my parents did not encourage me to drink milk. My mother drank a coke for breakfast. It has left me with a dislike for something I cannot seem to drink. My Husband of 34 years and adult children have always loved and drank lots of milk and still do. During my pregancies I forced myself to drink milk.

I will try to drink a bit of milk everyday! Report
Personally I think milk is evil. I don't think it does the body good. When you look at the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis they are the same countries with the highest dairy consumption. You have to understand that our bodies operate over a narrow pH range. Just a little too acid or base and we die. Extra protein makes our system more acid and the way our body neutralizes the acid is by leaching calcium from our bones. Drinking milk to prevent osteoporosis is like trying to put a fire out with gasoline.

Milk is basically liquid meat. Have you ever met anyone who didn't get enough protein or meat to be healthy? We all get plenty of protein. What we don't get enough of is whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. Instead of drinking more protein that you don't even need you are better off eating more plant foods.

In my case I suffered from terrible seasonal allergies, allergic asthma, and frequent sinus infections. I was taking lots of medications and still unsuccessful controlling my asthma. When people started to say I coughed as much as a cooworker with cystic fibrosis I knew things were getting bad. When I started to avoid dairy my symptoms disappeared almost overnight. Avoiding dairy I feel healthier than I have since I was in my 20's. Report
I drink at least 1 or 2 glasses of skim milk a day. It is my beverage of choice with most meals eaten at home. I love it! I go through "withdrawals" or actually crave it if I am on a business trip and can't drink it. I've been drinking skim milk for over 40 years. Report
I adore Milk i love it! I usually drink whole milk at home and skim milk if I am at work to cut back on my calories but get my vitamins! Report
I'm a whole milk consumer. While I'm not a milkaholic, I like it in my cereal, to drink plain every once in a while, and I like to make the carnation instant breakfasts. I am saddened that milk, especially whole milk gets such a bad rep. I hate to think that when I take my gallon of milk to the register that someone is looking at me like I am making poor health choices. While I am overweight, I am not severally overweight. My doctor says that my cholesterol is wonderful, and although I could loose a few pounds, my weight is not bad. My sodium and carb intake is my issue. In both of those arena's milk is but an innocent bystander. Whole milk really isn't the worst, just different choices for different people. Report
I come from a family of heavy milk drinkers at one point when all of us where still at home we went through close to 4 gallons a week. No one in the family has ever had a broken bone, although there was no lack of trying. I love to relaxe from a long run or weight lifting session with a tall glass of chocolate milk. Report
I'm really shocked at how many anti-milk people are out there! I love milk in any way, shape, or form! I drink skim now because I love it so much and don't need the extra calories, but if somebody gives me something else, I'll drink that too! Doesn't bother me if it's skim, 1%, 2%, whole, soy, whatever! Report
I personally prefer goat milk over cow. Just smells and tastes better. I was never a milk drinker as a child(still drank it but hated it) but now a days, if I have some goat milk it's gone rather quickly. Just tastes so creamy, sweet and salty. YUM! Report
I love cows milk! I drink it daily. It is especially good when eating Italian foods for some reason Report
breast milk is for humans and cow milk is for calves. Personally I find the thought of drinking something coming from a cow gross.
Nobody in my family drinks milk. We use rice milk and soy once in a great while. We believe pasteurized cow's milk to be poison to the human body. If you could get it raw it might be better, but it is very hard to obtain really raw, unhomogenized milk.

For more info:

My own editorial comment:

Look in the supermarket checkout line at big gallon jugs of milk being loaded out of the carts. Look from the jugs to the person carrying them. Trust me, you will be amazed! There are very few thin people hefting those jugs. Need I say more? Report
I do drink milk, because it has a lot of vitamins in it. I also like milk when I have spahgetti for dinner. It just seems to be the thing that goes good with that meal. Report
I love dairy, and I drink skim milk not regular. But now I am also drinking a little of the almond milk out there: its good and its low in calories. I dont think you get as much calcium in each serving, but if its enriched, its okay. I dont do alot of soy but they have alot of them out there that are really fortified. I am a vegan/vegetarian chef but that doesnt matter: I love all types of cheese, if its natural, without any fillers (especially cottage cheese) and have to eat plain yogurt (greek is great!) Report
My husband and I are both milk drinkers, consuming 2.5 to 3 gallons a week. We both grew up drinking whole milk, but over the years have gradually reduced the fat content. neither of us liked the taste of skim milk when we were used to whole milk, but by mixing whole milk with 2% we hardly noticed the difference. Eventually we began drinking 2% only. The next step was to combine 2% and 1%, then continuing to slowly reduce the fat until we eventually got to nonfat only. My husband still enjoys 1 or 2% when we eat away from home where nonfat milk is not available, but they now taste too creamy to me.
Our daughter loved milk, but began developing severe headaches in the evening around age 11 or 12. Her pediatrician was not able to determine a cause and prescribed non-narcotic, but strong pain reliever to take in the evening so she could get to sleep. When I learned of an Allergy Clinic that tested for and environmental and food sensitivities as well as the usual types of allergies, I decided to see if someone there could determine the cause of her nightly headaches and reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication. In addition to nasal allergies, she was found to be intolerant of a protein in milk, but had no sensitivity to the milk sugar (lactose). The doctor recommended heating milk to scalding to alter the protein and limit the amount she consumed to one small glass in addition to the milk on her cereal, and the headaches disappeared unless she consumed too much dairy food. I did later learn that I could eliminate the need to scald milk by giving her reconstituted powdered milk. As an adult, she is less intolerant and no longer needs to use scalded milk and develops less severe headaches if she overdoes the dairy products. Report
Yes! I didn't always though, especially in my teens and 20s. I'd say I rediscovered it again in my early 30s and have been drinking it ever since, although not daily. Might have to start that! Report
I put milk in my oatmeal and also drink at least one glass a day Report
No, milk is very bad for me and others in our family. Causes sinus problems for one. Causes skin problems for my brother. And of course ladened with fat and worst of all too much protein for me. I can get my nutrients from somewhere else. And milk is not cheap in my town...besides only non-pesticide/herbicide enters our home for hubby. He worked in chemical plants that made that nasty stuff at one time. We don't want it coming back to us.

Milk and Meat just have large groups of lobbyists and marketing departments. Larger than Vegetables..... Besides unless it is low fat, you are just adding to the clogs in your arteries.

For quality protein and a mental desire of "milk", I drink almond milk. Do not drink soy milk because that can screw with your hormones. Report
Milk is so satisfying if you don't have time for something else. It makes you feel full too if you drink it at meal time. Report
I don't drink milk. I am lactose intolerant. I use soy milk. I want to try the almond milk.
Both of my children were born allergic to milk. Once they were of breast milk they had to go on soy milk. Report
I have always enjoyed milk and have some type of dairy products each day in addition to milk Report
I grew up drinking raw milk & buttermilk. I found that when I drink whole milk or reduced fat milk, I have a lot of mucous. I still drink buttermilk, because I don't feel like I am drowning in mucous with it. I can also eat cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, and ice cream without producing too much mucous. I wouldn't want to try raw milk now with all the problems that are possible, unless it came from my own carefully monitored herd, and that condition does not exist for this city girl! Report
I could sit down and put a straw in a gallon milk jug and drink it down!! BUT now that daibetes has entered the scene, I switched to 1/2%, drink a few glasses a day, sub with fat free cottage cheese, yogurt, otehr cheeeses and spinach and fortified fruit juice.. Report
i drink 3 cups a day. it puts me to sleep. i need the calcium, etc. but it contributes too much to my calories! Report
Good information. I am not a milk drinker. I had a sensitivity to it from the time I was small. My husband and son however are milkaholics! Report
I am getting back into drinking more milk. I always remembered the milk man delivering to our house. My parents and eight children drank alot of milk, The milkman use to come to our house 2-3 times a week, dropping off at least 6 gallons each stop. I'll never forget his name, Perry Jones. He even gave me a ride in his truck down the street. I was 6yrs old, that memory will always stay with me. Report
I have always loved milk ! Report
Both my husband & I are avid milk drinkers. We've switched from whole to 1 or 2% for health reasons. Report
No milk for me. The calcium is not well absorbed little if at all, it's unnatural as there are no adult mammals on the earth that drink milk except humans, pasteurization has all kinds of negative impacts, and last but not least, there are few independent studies that favor milk. Most positive milk studies have direct or upline sponsorship of the milk industry. Report
I cannot drink milk (or have daily in any form). I am lactose intolerant AND have a separate allergy to milk. I have found, though, that once this allergy was diagnosed and I stopped ingesting dairy (which was awful for several weeks), not only did my weight go down slightly (a couple of pounds--but still, with no other diet change, that's alot) but I felt alot better. I drink almond milk (I usually make my own, actually) and my fiancé even enjoys it! Report
i never drank mild till i tasted almond and vanilla silk yummmmm low low calorie and delich Report