Is Drinking Milk Good For You? 3 Pros And Cons

Facing a dairy dilemma? It is not uncommon, given the constant debate and conflicting findings on why we actually need milk sourced from cows. While it is hard to provide a concrete bottom line, here are three pros and three cons that you can benefit from knowing about.

Pro: It can help in lowering blood glucose

According to a recent study, milk consumed with a high-carbohydrate breakfast could help lower blood glucose levels even after lunch. The effect was particularly strong with high-protein milk.

Dairy milk naturally contains two high-quality proteins: whey (20 percent) and casein (80 percent). Their digestion leads to the release of gastric hormones that slow digestion and help increase feelings of fullness. 

Pro: It provides calcium, vitamin D, and B12

"Cow's milk on its own — without fortification — has 300 milligrams of calcium, which is 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance for most adults," said Dr. Amanda Powell of the Boston Medical Center.

And when fortified, it can also provide a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is needed by the body for the absorption of calcium. "And, one cup of milk has half of the recommended daily allowance of B12," Powell added.

Pro: It is recommended for growing children

The United States Department of Agriculture notes that the intake of dairy products is very important during the periods of childhood and adolescence.

The often-cited reason is that calcium can benefit bone mass, which is still being built during this stage. Research has also suggested that children who drink cow's milk may grow up to be taller than their counterparts who drink non-dairy substitutes.

Con: It contains lactose, which can be harmful

The dairy sugar, known as lactose, cannot be digested and broken down by everyone's bodies. Such people suffer from what is known as lactose intolerance. It can cause symptoms like gas, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, and cramps.

If you are prone to these, experts recommend removing dairy from your diet to see whether they subside. You can also see a doctor, who can confirm the diagnosis with the help of a lactose tolerance test, a hydrogen breath test, or a stool acidity test.

Con: It can wreak havoc on your skin, causing acne

Acne is an inflammatory condition, said board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner from Mount Sinai Hospital. And milk sourced from cows is capable of causing inflammation and triggering a breakout.

Milk contains a hormone known as IGF-1 which is released by whey and casein. Not only is it similar to insulin in terms of structure, it can also promote the formation of acne.

Con: It has a lot more calories than you would expect

While high on nutrition, dairy milk is also high in calorie value — just one cup of 2 percent milk is said to contain about 120 calories. So even consuming one glass per meal would add up to 360 calories, which makes up 20 percent of the recommended caloric intake for the day.

To cut down on consumption, consider drinking your coffee or tea every day without milk. Dr. Gail Cresci from the Cleveland Clinic recommends sticking to one glass of milk per day.