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All You Need To Know About Milk

All You Need To Know About Milk

Brief History of Milk

The introduction of milk can be traced to as far back as 10,000 years ago where Neolithic farmers discovered that milking cattle can help to provide sustenance to the human population. The pasteurized milk that so many people have grown to love was developed in 1864 and only mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987. Three years later, the FDA approved the use of genetically modified milk. The next monumental event came in 2008 when cloned milk was legally accepted for public distribution.

The global production of milk can be categorized into five distinct sources: Cattle, Buffaloes, Goats, Sheep, and Camels. Milk produced from cattle commands staggering 85% of the global milk industry while buffaloes are responsible for a tenth of the global milk production. The remaining slice of the pie is split among goats, sheep, and camels.

Modern Societys Perception of Milk

Ever since bottled milk first appeared in 1884, many countries have dived into the market and starting producing their own brands of milk. India currently tops the list of milk producers, with roughly one-fifth of the global milk volume originating from the country. The United States ranks 2nd, holding a 12% share of the market. The rest of the milk production is divided among the other countries with notable mentions to the following:

  • China

  • Brazil

  • France

  • Germany

  • New Zealand

  • Russia

The general demand for milk has also increased tremendously over the past 3 decades. This is evident from the statistics that clearly exhibit a rise in global milk production. From 1983 to 2003, the worlds milk industry has increased supply by 50%. Impressively, the Asian region recorded a dramatic increase in milk production from 80 million tons to 270 million tons within the same period.

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Facts About Milk Consumption

Distribution of Milk

The importance of milk can be witnessed in its influence on dairy products. Surprisingly, only 40% of the total milk production is set aside for fresh milk and its variations. Half of the total market proportion is reserved for cheese, butter and ghee products. The leftover portion is then split among skimmed and whole milk powder.

Raw Milk or Pasteurized Milk?

The debate between advocates of raw milk and traditionalists who strongly believe in pasteurized milk have been raging on for decades. Their arguments are intensively focused on the health benefits or consequences that are attached to the quality of milk. For instance, people who prefer raw milk believe that it contains natural elements that help to reinforce the immune system and ward off pathogens.

Studies have also backed their claim that raw milk helps to prevent asthma and allergies. Additionally, they hold the opinion that pasteurized milk loses vital nutritional value throughout its production process. Nevertheless, these claims are strongly objected by their counter-parties.

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    Helps to Strengthen Bones

    The most common health benefit associated with milk consumption is its ability to strengthen the bones. This scientific fact cannot be disputed as the high calcium content have been proved to aid in building stronger bones. A lesser known health benefit is that milk helps to promote better skin condition and can fight against the effects of sun exposure. For those who prefer to drink almond milk, this advantage is more evident as it contains higher levels of vitamin E and antioxidant properties that help to build a healthier skin foundation.

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    The Effects of Lactose Intolerance

    The process of packaging milk from the moment it is milked from a cow takes only 2 days before it reaches supermarket aisles. The nutrients derived from an 8-ounce glass of milk is comparable to 12 servings of whole grains, 6 servings of legumes or 10 servings of raw spinach. Unfortunately, roughly 29 million Americans are lactose intolerant and unable to consume any dairy products, thus losing out on this health benefit. Interestingly, 85% of these people can withstand consuming raw milk. Alternatively, lactose-free milk products are also available for them.

    Flavoured Milk

    Some people might express their reluctance to drink natural-flavoured milk. They require some excitement for their taste buds to thoroughly enjoy the beverage. This need for flavour is more pronounced rife amongst the younger generations. This is why chocolate milk is one of the best-selling milk products. In fact, a study has shown that when chocolate milk is removed from cafeterias, total milk consumption dropped by 35%.

    Health-Milk-Facts

      Genetically Modified Milk

      As mentioned above, genetically modified milk was only approved by the FDA in the early 1990s. Roughly 1 in every 5 cows has been injected with rBGH to increase their production of milk. Unfortunately, milk produced by genetically modified cows does not need to be labelled and neither are they separated from the other milk products.

      However, this procedure is unique to the United States as all European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have banned the use of rBGH to increase milk production. This is due to the elevated levels of a hormone known as Insulin Growth Factor-1, which consequently increases the risk of cancers.

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      Increases Risk of Cancer

      It is given that milk from genetically modified cows present an increased risk of cancer. However, it should be noted that milk produced through the natural process also contains risk factors that can lead to the onset of cancer diseases. Studies have shown guys who consume at least 2 servings of milk daily exhibit an increased 34% risk of developing prostate cancer. On the other hand, the lactose content of milk also escalated the risk of ovarian cancer in women.

      Conclusion

      As part of the individual body maintenance process, it is essential to be aware of what is fed into the body and the characteristics that these food items possess. Generally, the public holds a positive perception towards consuming milk due to the host of health benefits that it provides. Nonetheless, consumers should also be warned of the threat of genetically modified milk and the health consequences of excessive milk consumption.

      References

      https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/health-news/milk-increases-risk-of-cancer-and-death-in-women.html

      http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/lactose-intolerance-topic-overview

      http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/benefits-almond-milk.html

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      Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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      Katleen Brown

      Katleen is a health and beauty advisor.

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      Last Updated on July 28, 2020

      14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

      14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

      Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

      What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

      The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

      Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

      It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

      Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

      In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

      Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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      Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

      1. Quinoa

      GI: 53

      Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

      2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

      GI: 50

      Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

      3. Corn on the Cob

      GI: 48

      Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

      4. Bananas

      GI: 47

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      Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

      They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

      5. Bran Cereal

      GI: 43

      Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

      6. Natural Muesli

      GI: 40

      Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

      7. Apples

      GI: 40

      Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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      8. Apricots

      GI: 30

      Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

      Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

      9. Kidney Beans

      GI: 29

      Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

      10. Barley

      GI: 22

      Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

      Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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      11. Raw Nuts

      GI: 20

      Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

      12. Carrots

      GI: 16

      Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

      13. Greek Yogurt

      GI: 12

      Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

      14. Hummus

      GI: 6

      When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

      Bottom Line

      If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

      More Tips on Eating Healthy

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

      Reference

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