What’s in my Milk?

Question:

I drink a lot of milk, but after reading an article of what they put in there I’m scared of how much I take in.  Should I cut down or eliminate milk?

Kelli’s Answer:

In the United States, it is perfectly legal to inject cows with an artificial hormone to increase milk production.  The name of the artificial hormone is Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin or Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST or rBGH).  While it’s banned in Canada, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, it’s used in approximately 20% of U.S. dairy cattle.

In animals, the use of rBGH  and rBST has been documented to increase milk production, significantly increase mastitis, decrease fertility, and increase lameness.

Many consumer groups are concerned about the effect of rBGH and rBST in human health.  While there are no conclusive studies that show harm in humans, there is animal study evidence.  And while the FDA claims no difference between hormone and hormone-free milk, many believe it may be linked to increased incidence of breast cancer, hormone imbalances, and early puberty.

Additionally, if your dairy-source isn’t organic, there’s a good chance that the cattle are routinely given antibiotics, regardless of illness.  The problem?  These antibiotics make it into the dairy products.  The more antibiotics in your foods, the more in your body, the more you may risk antibiotic related side-effects (low healthy bacteria in your body) and resistance to prescribed antibiotics should you need them.

I don’t think that the right answer is to ban all dairy from your diet, if you like it and tolerate it well.  It has a lot to offer.  Its specific proteins are great for both short-term and long-term muscle retention after hard training.  Whey, specifically, helps “dieting” athletes who are trying to lose fat maintain muscle.  It also have vitamins and minerals that are important to athletes and non-athletes alike.  If you are able to consume it in raw form (non-pasteurized), you will also get a lot of immune- and health-boosting nutrients that promote high levels of antioxidant production in our cells.  Furthermore, it is also a favorite food for many people.  You can still use it, as long as you’re an educated and choosy consumer.

For buying dairy products, I recommend organic, antibiotic- and hormone- free producers.  It may hurt you in the wallet initially, but save you in long-term medical issues.   

Drop the artificial hormones, drop the extra antibiotics, drop the drag.

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

  • http://geneticallyengineeredfoodnews.com Ella Baker

    In
    September 2010 a U.S. court of appeal found that there is a “compositional
    difference” between milk from rBGH, rBGST, cows and organic milk. The
    court found that studies have shown that rBST milk has increased levels of the
    hormone IGF-1 along with lower nutritional quality and more pus in the milk.
    American Milk: Now WIth More Pus! 

  • Emily Culp

    I’m in the European Union, but I still get organic milk straight from the dairy farmer (never more than 2 days out of the cow!).  It’s yummy!  I just made some yogurt in my yogurt maker with it :)