Monday, December 31, 2007

Milk - Hormones, Cancer & The Rest

People have been consuming milk products for about 8,000 years. So it must be good for us, right? Well milk in general is good for a lot of people but not most.

70% of the adults in the whole world are Lactose Intolerant or lack the enzymes to digest milk. So reverse that, only 30% of people can digest other words a minority of people have adapted to consumption of milk; it is not the norm.

Short History: (ref - "Guns, Germs and Steel", Jared Diamond pg 167)
13,000 B.C. wild game is becoming less abundant and even disappear. Large mammals become extinct as human populations are increasing along with climate change causing wild resource shortages. (note the climate change was not as drastic as seen today.)
8500 B.C. - Farming starts by this time in the Mesopotamia region (SW Asia).
8000 B.C. Sheep are domesticated by this time in SW Asia.
8,000 B.C. Goats are domesticated by this time in SW Asia
6000 B.C. Cows are domesticated in SW Asia, India and possibly North Africa (not Europe though)

Prior to the consumption of milk products the majority of people could not digest it. As cattle rearing and extracting milk continued in the Neolithic era, many people began to adapt to the milk lifestyle. Some experts believe they started with cheese products and that drinking milk was not typical. Mature cheese is easier to digest then raw milk due to fermentation. (Yogurts would also be easier to digest.)


Milk Allergy

Lactose Intolerance

Fast Forward, to the 1900s when farmers began focusing on how to increase the production of milk. A variety of techniques have been introduced over the years and have evolved from selective breading (a long practiced technique) to Hormones (rBST and rBGH).

The most common milk of today, non free range, is not the same as the milk 100 years ago. The cows of today are fed grain. 100 years ago the cows were fed grass. Cows today are in pens, 100 years ago they wondered around in fields of clover and grass. Cows today are injected with anabolic hormones, a 100 years ago they were au naturale. The list goes on.

There is something to be said for the old fashion way of farming where the cows were free range, "organic" and grass fed: Cancer

"Conjugated linoleic acid is a beneficial fatty acid that inhibits several types of cancer in mice, it has been shown to kill human skin cancer, colorectal cancer and breast cancer cells in vitro studies, and may help lower cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis; only available in milk from grass-fed cows." Reference: Milk

The European Commission recommends not consuming Monsanto Milk. Monsanto Milk is milk from cows injected with rBST and rBGH due to the possible connection to Breast and Colon Cancer. European Commission Article

Call me old fashion but I'll stick with the au naturale products.

1 comment:

Shawna said...

Look into how milk was used during the wars of Northern and southern European places to see how milk entered the mainstream diet. So very interesting. I will try to look up the book title and come back and post it :-)