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