Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Is milk unhealthy? Americans seem to think so!

Is it not a blasphemy to say that milk is unhealthy? That seems to be the views of millions of American citizens who are shunning milk as reflected by the declining consumption of this precious life saver. Why this distorted thinking? Who is responsible for developing such a thinking among American people? Why is that Americans with such high computer literacy and Internet access are not able to discern the truth that milk whether from mother or cow or any edible source is the most nutritious balanced food man has come across in his long history? Well the blame lies squarely with the health authorities in the US who have been continuously dinning into their ears of people that fat present in milk is dangerous causing a host of diseases including CVD, blood pressure, diabetes and others and how can one expect a child born 40 years ago under such an environment to shake off such a belief to day so easily! The diary industry is terribly worried that declining milk consumption is going to ruin the industry unless the milk is restored to its pedestal which it richly deserves. This is not to hold a brief for the industry which always set its sight on more and more profits, often ignoring the well being of its consumers,But truth still remains that milk's place in healthy life cannot be underestimated or belittled. Here is a take on this situation in the North America..

"As Americans continue turning away from milk, an industry group is pushing back at its critics with a social media campaign trumpeting the benefits of milk. The association says it needs to act because attitudes about milk are deteriorating more rapidly, with vegan groups, non-dairy competitors and other perceived enemies getting louder online. Julia Kadison, CEO of Milk Processor Education Program, which represents milk companies, says the breaking point came last year when the British Medical Journal published a study suggesting drinking lots of milk could lead to earlier deaths and higher incidents of fractures. Even though the study urged a cautious interpretation of its findings, it prompted posts online about the dangers of drinking milk. "I said, 'That's enough.' We can't have these headlines that 'Milk Can Kill You' and not stand up for the truth," Kadison said in a phone interview. She said MilkPEP's consumer surveys have indicated a noticeable deterioration in attitudes about milk over the past year or so, although they declined to give specific survey results. On Tuesday, the "Get Real" social media campaign will be announced at a dairy industry gathering in Boca Raton, Florida in conjunction with the National Dairy Council and Dairy Management Inc., which represent dairy farmers. The campaign is intended to drown out milk's detractors with positive posts about milk on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Milk brands, their employees and others in the industry will post the messages and direct people to a website where they can get more information. Online ads will also tout the superiority of dairy milk over almond milk, which is surging in popularity. The campaign comes as milk's dominance in American homes continues to wane as beverage options proliferate. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, people drank an average of 14.5 gallons of milk a year in 2012. That's down 33 percent from the 21.8 gallons a year in 1970. Total milk sales volume has declined 12 percent since 2009, according to market researcher Euromonitor International. One factor chipping away at milk's dominance is the growth of non-dairy alternatives. While soy milk's popularity has faded, retail sales for almond milk are estimated to be up 39 percent last year, according to Virginia Lee, a packaged food analyst with Euromonitor. Meanwhile, the USDA recommends adults get three cups of dairy a day, including options like fat-free, low-fat milk or calcium-fortified soy milk. And the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which represents nutrition professionals, is supporting the Get Real campaign and its push to underscore "the decades of research reinforcing low-fat milk as one of the most nutrient-rich beverages available." But milk's wholesome image is nevertheless being muddied by diet trends and divergent attitudes about nutrition. Many who follow the popular Paleo diet, for instance, shun dairy because people didn't drink it during the Stone Age. Animal welfare groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are also a thorn in the milk industry's side. On its website, PETA notes that "no species drinks milk beyond infancy or drinks the milk of another species" and details the cruel conditions dairy cows are often subject to."

Probably over fed Americans do not need milk because of their easy access to cheap protein foods from animals and therefore the argument that "no species on earth drinks milk from another species" may be true in theory. Similarly east Asians do not have the habit of drinking milk. But for hundreds of years in countries like India where vegetarian population is very significant, milk is the only source of proteins with high PER values, responsible for the robust health of its population since time immemorial. One big difference between India and America is that the pattern of milk consumption is totally opposite. While Indians drink fluid milk in abundance, Americans consume milk based products like cheese and frozen desserts. All said and done, milk was, is and will be world's most versatile food from a food scientist's whether Americans like it or not!

No comments: