// Should We Stop Drinking Milk?
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« on: Feb 19, 2009 03:17 AM »


fRom www.islamonline.net

Should We Stop Drinking Milk?

By  Noha Yousry

Freelance Writer - Egypt
 
Milk.
"Drink your milk" is a phrase each and every one of us remembers hearing growing up. In most children's books, a glass of milk represents the healthiest food for our children's little bodies. Pregnant women are recommended to drink a glass of milk a day and teenagers are recommended dairy with every meal.

For most of us, milk has been touted, for a large part of our lives, as the ultimate health food. Yet could it be possible that this information is actually misguided?

That is what the recent uproar against milk is all about. These days, there is a lot of controversy surrounding milk and dairy products. On one side of the milk debate there are those that tout all of the benefits of milk and dairy and on the other there are those that claim harmful consequences from its consumption. However, things are not that simple.

The Argument Against Milk

Surprisingly, more and more people are turning against milk and dairy, but they don't all have the same reasons. For simplification, those against milk are further divided into three main camps.

Camp 1: Milk Was Not Meant for Human Consumption

Some people are completely against drinking milk beyond infancy. In their opinion, cow's milk is made for baby cows, just as breast milk is made for baby humans. Dr. Hayam El-Shazly, a holistic nutritionist and macrobiotic counselor, told IslamOnline.net that, "As Muslims, we cannot take this stance, for the simple reason that Seerah (life of the Apostle of God) tells us in numerous occasions that Prophet Muhammad (blessing and peace be upon him) drank milk."

One such occasion is the famous incident that occurred in the Mi'raj (The night journey and the ascension of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) where the prophet chose the glass of milk over that of wine. (Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 314).

Moreover, the following hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says it loud and clear:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:

    I was in the house of Maymunah […] Then the Apostle of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) was brought milk, and he drank [it]. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) then said: When one of you eats food, he should say: O Allah, bless us in it, and give us food (or nourishment) better than it. When he is given milk to drink he should say: O Allah! Bless us in it and give us more of it, for no food or drink satisfies like milk.

    (Sunan Abu Dawood: Book 26, Number 3721)

Camp 2: Lactose Intolerance

Milk can cause allergic reactions in some people; a medical condition known as lactose intolerance. According to Lori Lipinski, a certified nutritional consultant, "An allergic reaction to dairy can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting (even projectile vomiting), stomach pain, cramping, gas, bloating, nausea, headaches, sinus/chest congestion, and sore or scratchy throat." (Lipinski)

Some scientists have suggested that allergic reactions are found more in people who drink pasteurized milk than in those who consume raw milk (Waser et al); which leads to the assumption that the intolerance is caused by the changes that occur during pasteurization and not by the milk itself. However, some scientists believe that these studies are not conclusive, as they don't take other factors that could influence one's health into consideration. (Grinzi)

As this is an allergic condition, just as any other allergic condition that affects certain people who are prone to it, it should not be taken as a basis for everyone to avoid milk (if some people have an allergy against strawberries, does this mean that we should all stop eating them?)

Camp 3: Commercially Available Milk is Void of Any Benefits and is in Fact Harmful

Instead of fresh green grass and clover, cows are fed high-protein grains, such as corn and soy.

This camp believes that the problem is not with milk in itself but in the milk available today. They argue that we were better off without pasteurized packaged milk. El-Shazly declares, "If you can't find fresh milk from clean, healthy and non-hormone fed cows, then you are better off without dairy at all in your diet!"

Here are the main reasons:

1. Many illnesses have been associated with the consumption of pasteurized dairy and milk. Among these diseases are (Lipinski):

· Cancer (ovarian, breast and colon)

· Diabetes

· Chronic infections (especially upper respiratory and ear infections)

· Asthma

· Atherosclerosis

2. Pasteurized milk may cause osteoporosis

If pasteurized milk is the primary source of calcium in one's diet, this may actually be promoting osteoporosis, not preventing it!

a. Pasteurization destroys enzymes that enable the absorption of calcium; without these enzymes the calcium in milk is not absorbed into bones. Thus, people who depend on pasteurized milk for their calcium intake are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, contrary to popular belief. (FiasCoFarm)

b. Due to the heat involved in pasteurization, the digestion of animal proteins found in milk by the digestive tract results in the formation of acids that need to be neutralized. If the body doesn't have enough minerals, it will leech alkaline calcium OUT of the bones to help neutralize these acids, leading to less calcium in the bones. (Kaslow)

3. The food available for cows at commercial farms is objectionable (Robinson)

Instead of fresh green grass and clover, cows are fed high-protein grains, such as corn and soy. This creates three problems:

a. Corn and soy "contain 80% of all herbicides used in the U.S." These toxic herbicides are transferred through the milk to us. (Lipinski)

b. Using grains almost exclusively to feed cows reduces certain nutrients in milk such as vitamins A and D and conjugated linoleic acid, an anti-carcinogenic type of fat (Lipinski; Robinson).

c. Grains are difficult to digest in cows, thus causing health problems which are dealt with by giving the cows antibiotics. El-Shazly explained that, "these antibiotics are in turn also transferred to us in the milk." Excessive antibiotic intake harms the body by weakening the immune system in various ways (Wilson).

4. Hormones given to the cows

To make the cows produce more milk, they are given hormones. These hormones produce an enzyme that survives pasteurization, passes on to humans and is highly suspected to be a factor in the growth of breast and colon cancer cells.

On top of that, the hormones themselves cause abnormal growth in the cows which makes the cows more prone to sickness and thus need more antibiotics. These antibiotics and their residues find their way into the milk as well. Moreover, these same hormones reduce the cows' body fat that usually harbors toxins such as pesticides and carcinogens; inducing these toxins to be forwarded on from the cows to the milk directly. (Mercola)

5. Pasteurization: By law, most countries now only allow the selling of milk that has been pasteurized in order to avoid the spread of illnesses through raw milk. However, pasteurization has proven to have so many side effects, that some people are reverting back to the fresh raw milk of the good old days. Here are some of the problems associated with pasteurized milk:

a. Valuable enzymes that help us digest milk and extract calcium and vitamins from it are destroyed, rendering these vitamins and minerals worthless. (Mercola 2)

b. In order to enable the body to digest milk, our pancreas produces enzymes that replicate those that were destroyed during pasteurization. If the pancreas is unable to compensate for these enzymes it may become over-stressed which can lead to diseases such as diabetes. (Mercola 2)

c. The heat used to kill harmful germs during the pasteurization process also destroys useful bacteria and vitamins in the milk, such as the B12 and B6 vitamins. Delicate milk proteins are also denatured. It was found that up to 66% of vitamins A, D, E, and F (fatty acids) are lost in Pasteurized milk. Half of the Vitamin C content of milk is also lost in the process. (Mercola 1)

6. The Skimmed milk myth and non-natural vitamin D addition

Skimming milk means the removal or homogenization of buttermilk, which essentially leads to the loss of many vitamins and minerals in milk. Buttermilk is a great source of vitamin A and an anti-carcinogen. Some commercial milk is fortified with vitamins A and D to overcome this problem, however, this tactic only addresses a fraction of the vitamins lost, in addition to the fact that these synthetic forms are inadequate substitutes to the natural ones (Mercola 2).

7. Milk homogenization:

To hide the bad quality of the milk produced in commercial farms, homogenization is done; however, this homogenization alters the fat molecules in milk. These altered molecules, unlike the natural fat molecules of milk, can pass through into the blood stream and are linked to heart diseases and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the wall of arteries) (Lipinski).

These are the most cited arguments as to why some oppose the inclusion of un-natural milk and dairy products into our daily nutritional diets. These people would argue that if you do not consume commercial milk and dairy for a period of two weeks, your health will greatly improve and you'll never look back.

However, this is a two sided story!

Join us next week for Part 2 which examines the opposite point of view and draws a simple conclusion as to where we might stand in this debate.

Sources:

Grinzi, Joan. "Got Raw Milk?" Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. Accessed 8 Jan. 2009.

Info on Raw Milk & Pasteurization." FiasCoFarm. Accessed 8 Jan. 2009.

Kaslow, Jeremy E. "Osteoporosis." drkaslow.com. Accessed 8 January 2009.

Lipinski, Lori. "Commercial Milk: It Does Nobody Good." Wellbeingjournal. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

Mercola, Joseph 1. "Don't Drink Your Milk." mercola.com. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

Mercola, Joseph 2. "The Real Reasons Why Raw Milk is Becoming More Popular." mercola.com. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008

"Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized Milk." Real Milk. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

Robinson, Jo. "Super Healthy Milk." eatwild.com. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

Waser, M. et al. "Inverse Association of Farm Milk Consumption with Asthma and Allergy in Rural and Suburban Populations Across Europe." Clin Exp Allergy. 2007 May;37(5):627-30. Accessed 8 Jan. 2009.

Wilson, Lawrence. "Beyond Antibiotics." drlwilson.com. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

Noha Yousry graduated from the German Univeristy in Cairo, Faculty of Management Technology, majoring in both Human Resources and Strategic Management. She is currently pursuing her various interests from freelance writing to volunteer work and character education especially for young children and youth. She can be reached by sending an e-mail to sciencetech@iolteam.com.
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 19, 2009 04:38 AM »

salam

No we should definitely not stop drinking milk. That article relies on flimsy and unreliable science.  As we age, our ability to absorb calcium from milk and other sources decreases, but that does not mean we should stop drinking milk all together.  After the age of 35, the rate of bone loss is 1 gram per year.  Women over the age of fifty experience even higher rates of bone loss. Thus our need for calcium does not stop just because we "finished growing".  We need to replace the calcium lost from our bone.

The risk of osteoporosis for women is so high in N. america and this has been linked to calcium intake in preadolescent years.  Appropriate calcium intake helps us achieve optimal bone mass and this reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Believe me, you don't want to end up bedridden after a hip or vertebral fraction when you are old. 

Milk is good.  We need about 2 cups a day!  The prophet Peace be upon him used to drink milk until his death. 

The calls for stopping drinking milk are weird and are maybe just political (to save the cows?).  By law, milk has to be fortified with vitamin D (in US and Canada) and raw milk does not have this.  Pasteurization affects  taste, but there are  other processes now (filtration) that kill germs without compromising taste too much.

People who are lactose intolerant or for some other reason can't drink milk, should take calcium supplements with vitamin D.

wassalam
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 19, 2009 05:03 AM »

the article is not saying that we should stop drinking milk , infact it cites that we should not stop because the hadiths
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Ya Muqallib Al-Quloob thabbit quloobana ala deenik


« Reply #3 on: Feb 20, 2009 01:02 AM »

As-salaamu alaykum,
Interesting article. Related to this is the organic issue...I usually only buy organic or close to organic (dairy, meat, eggs, certain types of fruit). Have recently tried less bread, dairy and meat, all together. Calcium can actually be obtained from a wide variety of foods (dark, green veggies), but most of us don't eat enough of those other sources. So vegans usually take a supplement. Now if only we had enough Vitamin D intake for the calcium to be of much benefit...
Anyhow, I'm really not pro/anti milk (I grew up drinking a LOT of it). The research is not yet up to date on the advantages/disadvantages (but as I think I mentioned a while back, it will be soon, insha'Allah...).
Doesn't seem like a debate on the shari'ah-view of milk (that's for the 'ulema). So drink milk if it doesn't bother you, and don't if it does.
Reason I say this is because a lot of people I know have been developing food allergies lately (dairy, gluten, certain citrus fruits, etc). Maybe this has always been the cause, or maybe there's something more behind it. I have my own hypothesis (related to the food sources of the meat/dairy we consume), but since I could be wrong...more later on this, insha'Allah.

-sofia  pinkhijabisis


"My Lord! Increase me in knowledge." (Qur'aan 20.114)
"Our Lord! We believe, so forgive us, and have mercy on us, for You are the Best of all who show mercy!" (23:109)
"And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves..."(3:10)
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 27, 2009 09:05 PM »

Should We Stop Drinking Milk?

Part Two
 
By  Noha Yousry

Freelance Writer - Egypt
 
 
 The question is, how do the regulators and milk industry justify the use of hormone treated cows for milk production?
 
After reading the arguments against consuming milk and dairy products in part one, you may be feeling a little confused as to whether or not you should be drinking milk!
It was clear from part one that as Muslims, eliminating milk and dairy is not ideal. Instead, the whole issue for us is whether it's better to drink organic, raw or commercially available milk.

So now the question is, how do the regulators and milk industry justify the use of hormone treated cows for milk production and the need for pasteurization of milk?
The claim that commercially available milk is not harmful:

Whether or not pasteurized milk leads to cancer is up for debate

The link between drinking commercially available milk and the development of breast cancer is vague and the relationship has not been proven. The World Cancer Research Fund finds the research done so far on the issue inconsistent. (Moorhead)

The rationalization behind the pasteurization of milk:

1. Unpasteurized dairy is a vehicle for the spread of diseases such as TB, salmonellosis and E. coli. (Moorhead)
Milk and dairy products can easily transmit these diseases if they are not pasteurized to kill the harmful germs that cause them. It is argued that pasteurization is essential as milk can become contaminated during any of the stages of collection, processing, distribution, or storage of milk. (Science Daily1)

However, if the germs are present in a large number, sometimes they are not killed even through pasteurization. It is also argued that the solution is not to pasteurize the milk but to provide stricter standards of hygiene for cow breeding so as to prevent these diseases from showing up in the first place. (Weston A. Price Foundation)

2. Another important point to consider is the increased risk on children, the elderly and pregnant women.
The elderly, young children and pregnant women are at a greater risk of diseases that might be transmitted through contaminated raw milk since their immune systems are weaker. For instance, if a pregnant woman becomes infected with Listeria monocytogenes, she could suffer a miscarriage, death of the fetus, or her newborn could suffer from illness or even death. (Bren)

Proponents of raw milk would argue though, that if the milk comes from grass-fed, non-hormone induced, clean cows, this would greatly benefit children and their health would radically improve.

3. The cow's natural habitat.

 
The elderly, young children and pregnant women are at a greater risk of diseases that might be transmitted through contaminated raw milk.
No matter how hard the barn is scrubbed it will never be sterilized and a risk of contamination is always present when breeding cows. When a cow lies down, its udder can become contaminated with germs found in the environment which can then contaminate the milk. (Bren)

4. Arguments as to whether or not the losses in vitamins from pasteurization are significant have broken out as well.
On the one hand, John F. Sheehan, BSc (Dy), JD, Director of the FDA's Division of Dairy and Egg Safety, says that, "the caseins, the major family of milk proteins, are largely unaffected, and any modification in whey protein that might occur is barely perceptible. Milk is a good source of the vitamins thiamine, folate, B-12, and riboflavin."

He goes on to say that, "pasteurization results in losses of anywhere from zero to 10 percent for each of these, which most would consider only a marginal reduction." (Bren)
It is also argued by some that those vitamins lost from milk are lost from any kind of food when heated; thus any cooked food will have fewer vitamins than it had raw.

On the other hand, others believe that the percentage is much higher than that. Moreover, the remaining vitamins can't be extracted nor digested because the enzymes used to digest them are destroyed by heat. Folate absorption is also affected as most if not all of the folate present in milk is bound to a protein that enhances its absorption by the gut and this protein is inactivated by pasteurization. (Weston A. Price Foundation)

The Final Verdict

 
Which side of this debate you choose to believe is up to you.
Which side of this debate you choose to believe is up to you. The research supporting the views of both sides of this argument is readily available on the net and one should examine it and its underlying assumptions to make sure it is valid; the decision is ultimately yours to make.
The solutions listed below take the path of least harm and try to maximize the benefits we get from milk and dairy products. How lax or severe you'd like to be with these recommendations is again up to you!

1. Eliminate or at least reduce pasteurized milk and its derivatives from your diet.

a. This includes foods like ice cream and cheese. Dr. Hayam El-Shazly, a holistic nutritionist and macrobiotic counselor told IslamOnline.net that, "anything man made is your worst dietary culprit".

b. El-Shazly recommends that if you are going to consume dairy, to "eat yogurt as it's the best form because the enzymes in it help digestion go a little smoother".

c. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, a licensed physician and surgeon, you should "rotate small amounts of one form of milk every four days." (Mercola)

d. Make sure you get sufficient calcium intake from other sources such as calcium-rich vegetables, especially dark green vegetables like spinach, artichoke and broccoli. Other calcium rich sources include beets, carrots and beans. Don't forget to expose yourself to sunlight for 15 minutes a day so your body can make enough essential vitamin D, which is needed for the absorption of calcium.

e. Mercola suggests the use of "whole cream that is merely pasteurized (not ultra pasteurized like most commercial cream); diluted with water, it is delicious on cereal and a good substitute for those allergic to milk." (Mercola)

f. Last but not least, El-Shazly advocates "following the prophetic tradition of consuming milk or any dairy product on its own. Do not mix with other types of food".

2. Consume raw milk

a. Consume raw or fermented, full-fat dairy products. (Slattery )

>b. Raw milk and its derivatives are easier to come by in some places than others. But you don't just want un-pasteurized milk; you want to also find grass-fed cows that are not given any hormones or antibiotics.

c. Sometimes goats are an easier solution since they need less space and maintenance.

d. As raw milk may contain harmful bacteria, El-Shazly recommends that it is boiled to reduce the risk of illnesses transferred through the milk.

3. Soy milk, Almond milk and Rice milk

a. When asked about substitutes for milk in recipes, El-Shazly suggested "trying soy or almond milk."

b. Soy milk is an adequate substitute, but unfortunately there is controversy surrounding it as well!

c. Almond milk is the healthiest solution, since almonds boast huge health benefits, although it would be much more expensive of course!

Sources:

Bren, Linda. "Got Milk? Make Sure it's Pasteurized." FDA Consumer Magazine. Sept.-Oct. 2004. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

Mercola, Joseph. "Don't Drink your Milk." Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

Moorhead, Joanna. "Battle of the Bottle." The Guardian. 30 Nov. 2004. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

"Response to the FDA." Weston A. Price Foundation. November 2007. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

Slattery, Patrick. "Milk as It Should Be: Raw." Well Being Journal. Accessed 22 Feb. 2009.

"TB Strain May Be Linked To Unpasteurized Dairy, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily1. May 6, 2008. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

"Unpasteurized Milk Poses Health Risks Without Benefits, Study Shows." ScienceDaily2. 18 December 2008. Accessed 22 Dec. 2008.

 

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Noha Yousry graduated from the German Univeristy in Cairo, Faculty of Management Technology, majoring in both Human Resources and Strategic Management. She is currently pursuing her various interests from freelance writing to volunteer work and character education especially for young children and youth. She can be reached by sending an e-mail to sciencetech@iolteam.com.

 
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