Do you ever crave a nice, cold glass of cow’s milk? Maybe when you are eating breakfast, indulging in a delicious dessert or when you grab a box of cereal from the cupboard? We’ve all heard about the supposed benefits of milk, especially for growing children — “it does a body good,” it builds strong bones” — and you probably had your fair share of milk growing up, at the firm advisement of your parents. The ‘Got Milk’ campaign, aimed at getting the consumer to drink more milk, launched in 1993 when milk sales were steadily dropping. We saw the popular milk mustache on athletes and celebrities, smiling and chugging away with the promise of strong bones and teeth. Milk is a must-have item on grocery lists nationwide, but what is it really doing to our bones?
The cow’s milk sitting on the refrigerator shelves at the grocery store is pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process that applies heat to destroy pathogens in food, with the goals of killing disease-carrying germs and preventing milk from going sour too early. During this process, every particle of the fluid is heated to a required temperature then rapidly cooled. Here’s the problem: pasteurization also kills off the beneficial bacteria (probiotics), and even destroys some of the nutritious content in milk, like vitamin C and iodine. It also destroys the enzymes in milk. These lost enzymes make it harder on your body to get calcium and phosphorus out of the cow’s milk. Countries with the highest rate of dairy consumption, (the U.S. and countries in the European Union) also have the highest rate of osteoporosis. We’ve been told for years that drinking plenty of milk will ensure that our bones stay strong and healthy, but these recent studies show the exact opposite to be true.