Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Debate on Milk?

While I generally enjoy Mark Bittman, his most recent article on the necessity of milk, or lack thereof, is controversial at best. His premise that it's "a pretty good sign that we’ve evolved to drink human milk when we’re babies but have no need for the milk of any animals" makes no sense.

Being of Asian descent, I can certainly attest to the fact that there are many, many people who are lactose intolerant, but well done, double blind, randomized trials (NEJM), show that even individuals who are truly lactose intolerant can easily tolerate a cup (250 ml) without significant clinical effects.

Mr Bittman quotes Neal Barnard, who states,“Sugar — in the form of lactose — contributes about 55 percent of skim milk’s calories, giving it ounce for ounce the same calorie load as soda.” Not sure where this data comes from but 1 cup of skim milk contains 86 calories, 12 g of which are from carbohydrates. This equates to 48 calories or, yes 56% calories from sugar.
The logic falls apart when you do the calculations for soda. 1 cup of Coca-cola (from their website) contains 100 calories, of which 27 g are carbs, equating to 108 calories, which is actually >100% calories from sugars! I'm not sure where Neal Barnard calculated his data from, but this sort of misinformation is not helpful, and potentially harmful. There really is NO comparison between the value of milk and soda in any sense.

I completely agree that other dairy sources such as hard cheeses and yogurt are better tolerated and digested than milk, but don't think milk should be discarded for soda!

I am happy that Mr Bittman has solved his own personal health problems, but to make an argument that we should stop drinking milk is based on misinformation at best, and possibly harmful at worst.

Let me know what you think!

1 comment:

  1. I hope Mr. Bittman won't develop diabetes (or cancer (?) if he's drinking sodas with aspartame)...