What’s your first reaction when we say milk? It either has to be ‘oh, it’s so healthy’ or ‘you better stay away from it’. There’s nothing in between. Being a great source of many nutrients, milk is something that many consider as a major part of their diet while some are totally against its consumption on a regular basis.
Why, you ask? Either they are a victim of several myths or can’t have it because of lactose intolerance. And given the current scenario, there are high chances that many fall on the second list.
So, if you are wondering what causes lactose intolerance among people, Pretty Tyagi, Lead Health Coach, Nutritionist, and founder of MY22BMI, has an answer.
“Our stomach produces various enzymes that are required by our body to break down the food and digest it properly. The specific enzymes that are required to digest milk, when they start depleting, the body starts finding it difficult to digest milk and make you lactose intolerant. A person who is lactose intolerant can still be digesting the milk products but the direct consumption of milk or any high lactose food item becomes a challenge,” explains Tyagi.
Owing to this problem a lot of us are often confused about what type of milk can be suited for us if we are lactose intolerant?
“The best alternatives for milk for lactose intolerant people to give themselves enough protein will be soya milk, or hemp milk, hazelnut, almond or cashew milk can be had too,” says Tyagi.
The other thing about milk that puzzles every normal human is what is the ideal amount and when is the best time to drink it. While some say, it’s at night, others believe it’s in the morning. But, mostly, this comes out of popular belief and not science.
“For adults, an average of 3 cups of milk a day is recommended. However, for growing kids, anywhere from 1-2 glasses of milk are good. However, for those having lactose intolerance, milk must be avoided and substitutes should be taken instead. Supplements are also a good way to provide your body with the nourishment that it requires. The best time to consume milk is morning. It’s most ideal as the body gets plenty of time to digest it throughout the day. However, if you want to have a cup of milk in the evening, have it at least, 45-60 minutes before going to bed. This will ensure a restful sleep at night,” explains Tyagi.
This is not all. There are some common misconceptions about milk consumption, too. Some say more-and-more milk means better and stronger bones. However, this is the worst thing to believe in. “Kids are given a lot of milk, thinking that it will make them healthier and make them gain weight. It’s not true. A completely balanced diet is what a child needs to stay completely healthy,” says Tyagi.
She adds that another common misconception is that full-fat milk or whole milk is the only healthy way of consuming milk. “It’s not true. Skimmed milk or low-fat milk provides enough calcium to the body and is even healthier,” advises Tyagi.
And now, if you are wondering about replacing milk with plant-based milk and using it as a substitute? Well, Tyagi has an answer for that too. “Plant-based milk has many health benefits, but the replacement of cow milk is not one of those benefits,” she says.
A lot of us are still confused about the different types of milk options available in the market including cow milk, soy milk, almond milk, and also milk powder.
“It’s absolutely fine for a person to use lactose-free milk powder, or soy milk and almond milk for a lactose intolerant person. However, care must be taken to have a very nourishing, well thought and well balanced, overall diet to make it up for the nutrients. Also, supplements such as calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D can be had while replacing milk with plant-based options,” explains Tyagi.
If you are a fan of including milk in your daily diet, the thoughts of adulterated milk must have had haunt you, at least, once. More so, since adulteration of milk has become a topic of global concern and especially in the developing countries where there’s no one to monitor this. There are a lot of things that are mixed with milk some of which are not that dangerous whereas the others are quite harmful to our health.
“Water is the main mixer that’s added to milk to increase its quantity, it’s, however, not the worse adulterant if it’s filtered drinking water. Contaminated and bad-quality water is what the actual problem is. Then there are other adulterants such as starch, urea, synthetic milk, and even soaps and detergents. These are all extremely dangerous to one’s health and must never be consumed, that too in the form of milk. One should definitely keep a check on what kind of milk they are having, if there’s no confirmation, people can might as well think of quitting it completely,” concludes Tyagi.