Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Milk, It Does a Pocketbook Good

This is a 1916 ad extolling the virtues of drinking milk every day.  1 quart of milk per person which is quite a bit when you think about it.  I'm lucky if I do a quart a week and that's mostly with cereal.  I grabbed the ad because it gives a snapshot of food prices in the World War I era and of course they're comparing the nutritive value of milk to all the other food items in the ad.  It's brought to you by the dairy board, of course they're going to try to sell you milk.  And of course to make it even more "official" they have the requisite scientist to offer his opinion based on scientific observation.  I love the chart showing the growth pattern of children given milk vs those without.  Of course the children drinking milk are naturally larger, and oh yes, "milk contains fat, in which is a puzzling element that makes young folks grow."  I wonder what this puzzling element is?  Probably calcium, since they had only a speculative knowledge of calcium's effects back then and they didn't understand what we now know about fat soluble vitamins and their effects on mineral absorption.

There's a major difference between milk produced back then and commercial milk now, grains.  Cows on factory dairy farms are fed a diet of grains and the milk thus produced is of low quality nutritionally compared to milk produced from pastured cows like was available back then.  You can get pastured, organic milk today but you'll pay the price, often double the amount over commercial milk.  Is it worth it?  In my opinion, definitely.  You get a superior product nutritionally and a taste that is far better than the watery stuff sold as commercial/store brand milk.  You really need less of it to be satisfied.  The other thing I have observed is the plethora of different types of milk, Whole, 2%, 1%, Skim, it gets confusing so here's a milk primer.  Whole milk contains 4% fat, so 2% is half the fat and 1% is 1/4 the fat and so on.  Skim milk as made today is an inferior product most likely watered down to increase profit margins.  It resembles nothing more than what we used to feed the calves when we were weaning them on the farm.  True skim milk is simply milk where the fat has been allowed to rise to the surface and then "skimmed" off.  It was available back in the old days and was the only other option besides whole milk.1

Now what does this all mean?  The dairy boards, USDA and FDA will tell you that low fat milk has the same calcium in it that whole fat milk does.  What the do not tell you is that your body needs the fat to absorb the calcium otherwise it becomes a free radical in your blood supply and most likely ends up in your kidneys as kidney stones.  The cycle is like this: Vitamin-D is a fat soluble vitamin, Vitamin-D helps the body absorb calcium so in order for Vitamin-D to do it's job effectively you need fat, hence the higher fat milk is a more readily absorbed source of calcium than skim milk.2  Furthermore, skim milk as produced today is a "Damaged" product often doctored with powdered milk which is full of bad cholesterol from the process used to make it.  Removal of the saturated fats also leads to Vitamin-A deficiencies.3  In short, I choose to consume whole milk because it's not the giant "bad guy" of fat that we are led to believe.

1) Dairy Products Explained
2) Vitamin D: Medicine Plus
3) Why Skim Milk Isn't as Healthy As You May Think


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