Syndian Blog

A growing knowledge base of heathy eating tips, advice and research from the team at Syndian.

How we first came to consume milk

Team Syndian - Monday, September 29, 2014
Dairy Cows

In this our second blog on milk, we look at the fascinating history of how humans first gained the ability to digest milk and look at the health problems that a diet high in milk may cause.

The history of how the human race first came to consume milk from cattle, sheep and goats reads like a medical science thriller. Most young children have the ability to absorb lactose - the sugar contained in milk: this so they can digest their mother’s milk. However this gene is “switched off” after childhood when milk consumption becomes unnecessary.

Even today around 75 percent of adults throughout the world has some form of lactose intolerance, that is they haven’t the ability to digest milk at an adult age. While drinking milk is not fatal for these people, it may have very unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhoea or worse.

Most people with the ability to digest lactose as adults are beneficiaries of a gene mutation which originated in central Europe around 7,500 years according to studies. These people suddenly produced lactase, the enzyme which allows adults to digest milk. Suddenly these nomadic herders, instead of being made very sick by milk consumption, were able to absorb the sugar produced in milk.

At the time, this was an important breakthrough and gave the herders an important survival mechanism. Other similar genetic mutations in West Africa, the Middle East and South Asia had the same effect and gave the same natural advantage: the ability to consume the milk of their cattle.

However the fact that milk consumption on such a wide scale is only possible due to a historical anomaly begs the question: Do we need to consume milk at all in our day and age? After all three-quarters of the world’s population remains lactose intolerant and cannot tolerate drinking milk — at least to some degree. Yet they would seem to be as healthy as the general population.

But to go further, is milk a health risk?

Evidence now exists in a number of studies (including the Physicians Health Study) of a potential link between a high milk diet and certain cancers, particularly those of the reproductive system and certain breast cancers.

Milk also contributes to an increase in cholesterol and fat in the diet, factors which have been linked by a body of research to increase the risk of heart disease and other similar problems.

Milk therefore appears to be at best a luxury, at worst a health risk, depending on how you interpret scientific research. This is completely contrary to the necessary food stuff that many of us have been brought up to believe. Linked as it has been with many health deficiencies, perhaps its time to limit, or completely get rid of, milk in our diet?

If one was to do so, how would you ensure the nutrients found in milk were replaced by other means in your diet? How would you structure your diet around non-dairy foods and drink? In our next blog article we’ll examine how easily this can be achieved and how Syndian Natural Food products covers the wide range of foods needed to ensure a healthy diet without milk.

comments powered by Disqus
Keep updated
Captcha Image
International Standards Certifications HACCP/R61/0741