Cow’s milk has a lot of calcium but also may contain PCBs and other industrial pollutants, steroid hormones (more in skim milk), banned pesticides, saturated fat, and is on par with Coca Cola for antioxidant content (see also here and here). Milk may also block nutrients and does not appear to improve bone density. Consumption may increase risk for acne (videos here, here, here, here), an expanding waistline, increased mucus production, canker sores, twin births, premature puberty, life-threatening events, autism, and SIDS (crib death) in infants, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer promotion and mortality. Dairy industry-funded studies about milk’s purported health benefits have been accused of bias.
Calcium from many dark green leaf vegetables is better absorbed than the calcium in milk and also contains fiber, folate, phytonutrients and other nutrients lacking in calves’ milk. Likewise, plant-based sources of iodine may be preferable. Soymilk, now included in the USDA’s dietary guidelines, is an excellent alternative—just make sure to shake it since the fortified calcium can settle. Both soymilk and cow milk, however, may block the benefits of tea.
See also the related blog posts: Skim Milk and Acne, Cow’s Milk Casomorphin, Crib Death, and Autism, Mad Cow California: Is the Milk Supply Safe?, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board accused of making illegally deceptive claims
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