Animal Aid

MORE ABOUT MILK

As part of our Veggie Month campaign, we expose more myths about milk.

Iron-deficiency

Milk is very low in iron. Milk also causes blood loss from the intestinal tract, depleting the body's iron.

Diabetes

A number of studies have linked cow's milk consumption to the development of insulin-dependent diabetes in children. It is believed a protein in the milk, called beta casein, is recognised by the body as foreign and attacked by the immune system. But because of this protein's resemblance to insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, these are also attacked - in error - in what is known as an auto-immune response.

Calcium

Green leafy vegetables such as kale are as good or better than milk as calcium sources.

Fat content

Most dairy products contain high levels of fat as a percentage of the calories they yield. For instance, whole milk is 49 per cent calories from fat, cheddar cheese 74 per cent and butter 100 per cent.

Lactose

Many people of Asian and African heritage are unable to digest the milk sugar, lactose. It can cause them eczema, excess mucus, muscle cramps and heart problems.

Colic

Milk proteins can cause colic, a digestive upset that is suffered by one in five infants. Milk-drinking mothers can also pass cow's milk proteins to their breast-feeding infants.

A devastating critique of milk was offered recently by the National Childbirth Trust (Guardian letter, 10.2.01). Recent German research has shown, wrote their spokesperson, that children fed on formula (dairy) milk are 'more likely to become obese than breastfed children. What's more, formula-fed children are at greater risk from respiratory disease, diabetes, allergies, diarrhoea and gastroenteritis. Last week, new research linked breast milk with lower blood pressure in teenagers. It's been estimated that if all children were breastfed the NHS would save around £35 million each year in treating infant gastroenteritis alone. How much more money - and heartache - would be saved treating adults for cardiac problems caused by obesity and high blood pressure as well?'

See also No Problem with Protein and Calcium and the myth about milk. For other troubling facts about milk see Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website - www.pcrm.org.

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