Healthy Milk

The quick answer:  I like milk but until healthier milk is available, I’m mainly drinking water. 

Reduced Fat Fad

Among the many sins of Food Inc is the practice of selling what the average person thinks is healthy, rather than what is actually healthy—thus reinforcing unhealthy food fads.  In the last generation fat was falsely said to be unhealthy so Food Inc rushed out low-fat versions of existing products.  Marketing hype claimed a health benefit but often they were less healthy.

Take milk for example.  Despite the hype, there was never any scientific proof that low-fat, reduced-fat, or nonfat milk products were healthier.  In fact, it was the opposite.  Taking the fat out of milk increased women’s risk of infertility—a definite health problem.

An 8-year Harvard study of 18,555 women (taken from the Nurses’ Health Study II) found that the more reduced-fat milk products women consumed, the higher their risk of infertility due to reduced ovulation.  You can read more here.

Protein Fad

There is a current fad towards eating protein.  This is good news for ranchers—beef prices are up this year.  But Food Inc will now introduce silly products with increased protein.  

General Mills—always quick to exploit these fads—has introduced Cheerios Protein.  This new product has protein “cluster” added to traditional cheerios.  What is the source of this added protein?  The cluster contains processed soy protein, lentils, and rice starch!  This isn’t going to taste good so the clusters also contains brown sugar, sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and “natural flavors” (the source of these processed flavors is not disclosed). 

So a serving of Cheerios Protein offers 4 more grams of questionable (factory-processed) protein but even worse, it also has 17 grams of sugar (about 4 teaspoons).  Regular Cheerios had only 1 gram of sugar so you see the problem.

Breakfast cereal sales have declined the last decade—a good thing as these are among the unhealthiest foods.  Smart moms are voting with their dollars and Food Inc is desperate.  But there’s no evidence that Cheerios Protein is a good for you.

Skip’s Breakfast

On Saturday morning we enjoy a traditional protein breakfast—bacon and eggs.  During the week I make a special cereal with whole oats, flax seed (high in omega-3 fat), sunflower seeds (high in B vitamins), and seasonal fruits.  We also add a small amount of turbinado sugar.

The Beautiful Wife pours whole milk on her cereal—I add cream.  Cream?  Yes, I love cream.  It makes the BW gag because of all the false propaganda against full-fat dairy but I love it.  I used to add half-and-half but one day I realized that cream is less processed—it isn’t homogenized.  One more thing—I would buy cream from pastured cows if it were available.

So our daily breakfast is as healthy as we can make it—whole grains, whole fruit, and full-fat milk or cream. 

The Industrialization of Milk

In the last century milk got more industrialized.  These processing steps were added:

  1. Pasteurization was introduced as protection against diseased cows.  A better idea would have been to only milk healthy cows but this was easier.  So there was less concern about the health of the cow plus the milk you drink contains the carcasses of the pathogens killed by pasteurization. 
  2. Homogenization wasn’t really necessary but it kept the cream from separating and this made it easier to ship milk long distances and maintain a consistent product.  The problem here is homogenization breaks up the natural fats and the health effect of drinking the broken fragments has never been studied.
  3. Pregnant milking introduces hormone into milk.  Bovine hormones (not the synthetic ones added by Monsanto—that practice has rightfully faded from use) from cows milked during their next pregnancy are a health concern.  Traditionally, pregnant cows weren’t milked.  But in modern times cows are milked 300 days a year, which includes the next pregnancy.  The worry here is about the cancer-causing effect of dietary bovine hormenes, especially estrogen.  This is an issue that needs more study; read more about it here. 

    4.  Reduced fat was a silly, unnecessary, and unhealthy change.  We spoke      to this above and also here and here.  Enough said.

Please comment; share your thoughts about modern milk and what your family does.

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Reader Comments (8)

We buy raw milk from a small local dairy. We don't drink a lot of milk, but it is nice to have a decent source.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura


May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessica brown

Part of eating fewer animal products means less milk, at least in this house. Plus, animal products are getting harder to fit into an already tight budget.
This isn't necessarily by design, as the menfolk could easily down plenty of milk and flesh, but it's allowed me to branch out and include other items like beans, dark greens, and plenty of other garden products to fill up the space on their plates.

For the children I care for, I serve only Whole Milk (forget the USDA guidelines). Milk used to be the end-all be-all beverage for children, but not anymore. Attitudes are changing and they ask for cold water with meals instead. Healthy eating begins young, and I'm encouraged by some of what I'm seeing.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLizA

I've been enjoying your blog. I know you mention Midway in other posts and you can get raw milk there and in Heber. I get raw milk from two different sources in SLC. We love our raw milk now. Don't despair...there are raw milk sources available.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelleL

We are close to a raw milk source and have been drinking it for two years now. We love it! For a while it made me nervous to drink it, but I got over it. I really can't stand reduced fat milk anymore.

For cream I like Trader Joe's organic cream; I'm pretty sure it's from grass-fed cows, at least mostly. Tonight we made homemade chocolate ice cream with it and some raw milk. I feel like that's a healthy treat for my kids, and like to include a couple of raw egg yolks in it.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

I couldn't agree with you more! We are now using raw goat milk to make kefir which we use for a smoothie every morning. We love it and I feel good about giving that to my family. The more processing the worse it is. I do think raw milk from healthy cows or goats is so good for you (and your bones!) and that processed milk from unhappy, unhealthy cows is not.

Thank you for your wonderful site. I discovered it a few months ago and love what you have here. Thank you for all the time and effort you obviously put into it!

June 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Hi! I happened upon your blog a few days ago, and I'm completely intrigued! I would love to try the 52 weeks of healthy changes, but I can't seem to figure out if there's an easier way to find Week 1. I'd like to try them in order, but they are impossible to find! I will keep hunting for each week's healthy change, but I would recommend an index of links that would help people find each week's change.

June 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

nice post about milk

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLaxmi

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