Blog, Health

The Battle of the Milks: Cow vs. Almond

I recently saw a commercial of the cow milk industry attacking the almond milk industry.  A familiar scene I see in school, a spelling bee competition, an ingredient showdown of each type of milk.  milk

Almond milk begins.  The word: lecithin.  Well, even I had to look up how to even pronounce that when I first saw it.  Child obviously messed up, because about 95% of us would anyway.

Cow milk: spell milk.  Easy, peasy, right?  This kid obviously won the spelling bee with a word most first graders have down, but lecithin, c’mon!  This unfairness obviously explains the eye rolling of the girl who lost.

My question, why was this attack taking place?  What was so threatening about almond milk?

The cow milk industry is losing business to alternative plant-based products.  Fast.

In 2015, a Nielsen consumer study reported that sales for the cow milk industry dropped 7% whereas almond milk grew 7.8%.  Americans are going nuts for almond milk.

Plant Based Milk Benefits

The same study also reported reasons for the switch over.  Consumers liked the all natural, plant-based, high protein benefits that almond milk has to offer.

Consumers appear to be educating themselves about food and nutrition before blindly following the food traditions of our upbringing.  

My step sister, Laurel, now gives her daughter exclusively almond milk and drinks it herself. Her concerns were consistent with the Nielsen study.  She believes cow’s milk is intended for baby calves, not baby humans. She added, “I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a nut bag.”  I think she intended this nutty pun…

Dietary concerns play a factor as those lactose intolerant look for milk alternatives. A whopping 75% of the world’s population lose our lactose enzymes in early childhood, right after weaning.  This includes me!

I, for instance, geek out over scientific data based on the ingredients that aren’t listed on the labels.  The connections between the food we eat and our coinciding health.

What’s Actually in Cow’s Milk?

Let’s rewind back to that spelling bee commercial.  What is in milk that the FDA doesn’t require them to put on the ingredient label.  35 hormones.  11 growth factors. Casein.  Lecithin.  

Hold up… lecithin.  That sounds really familiar!  The same ingredient almond milk was being criticized for!

Casein, an extremely hard protein for the human body to digest. Cow’s milk contains double the amount of casein as human breast milk.  

Species with the highest protein containing milk are the fastest growing species.  A baby calf grows fully after 2 years.  Humans, by contrast, reach fully grown state during the teens and early 20s for some late bloomers.  Elmer's_logo.svg

Every wonder why Elmer’s glue has a friendly cow on the label?  Guess what ingredient helps make the glue.  Casein.  And now we understand why people report constipation after indulging in dairy…

The Dirty Dairy Secrets Revealed

Does milk actually do a body good? But, it has calcium and protein!  (psst…so do other foods)

If we reportedly gain calcium from milk to prevent bone loss, then why do countries with the highest dairy consumption have the greatest rates of osteoporosis?  One cohort study showed a link between mortality and bone fractures to be greater in those with high dairy consumption.

How does this happen? Our body desires an alkaline state, and dairy is acid forming, mucus forming (hence, the glue, remember?).  The most readily available source to neutralize acidity is…calcium.  Counterproductive, right?

Less life threatening, but highly embarrassing is dairy’s effect on the skin.  The mucus forming interactions of dairy on the body are reflected through acne.  Personally, I struggled with breakouts far into adulthood.  The best thing I ever did for my skin was giving up the ice cream, cheese, and dairy.  

The documentary What the Health explores the correlation of breast cancer and dairy.  Now, if milk contains hormones and breast cancer cells thrive on estrogen, can we add these two factors up?  Women who ate one or more full-fat dairy products were 49% more likely to die from breast cancer than those who ate minimal dairy.

Men aren’t totally off the hook here either.  One study concluded that men who had higher intakes of dairy were 32% more at risk than men who had one or less servings per day.  

The Bottom Line

Milk consumers are onto something.  Knowledge is power.

We aren’t just a bunch of nut bags for straying from the status-quo.  

Mooooooove over milk.


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