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Arthritis Diet and Exercises

Milk. White Poison or Healthy Drink?

Over the last decade, milk has become a bit controversial. Some people say it’s a necessary and nutritious food, vital for healthy bones, but others say it can cause cancer and lead to an early death. So, who’s right? And why are we drinking it anyway? [Intro music] Milk is the basis of every mammal’s diet after birth, when our digestive systems are immature and small. Basically, it’s power food to kick-start our bodies and help us grow. Milk is rich in fat, vitamins, minerals, and milk-sugar: lactose. On top of that, for a while after birth, it also contains antibodies and proteins that protect us from infections and regulate our immune system. But it’s a lot of effort for mothers to produce. Eventually, humans stop drinking mother’s milk and transition to the diet of their parents. This is how it’s been for thousands of years. Until about eleven thousand years ago, when our ancestors settled down in the first agricultural communities. Soon, they domesticated the first dairy animals: goats, sheep, and cattle. They found that dairy animals are able to eat useless and abundant stuff and turn it into nutritious and tasty food. This made a huge difference in terms of survival, especially in hard times. So groups that had milk available had an evolutionary advantage. And through natural selection, it changed the genes of communities who consumed a lot of it. This adaptation has to do with a specialized enzyme: lactase. Babies have a lot of it in their system, so they can break down the milk-sugar lactose and digest milk easily. But the older we grow, the fewer lactase enzymes our body produces. Worldwide, about 65% of the population do not have the enzyme after infancy, which means they are not able to digest more than about 150 milliliters each day. This lactose intolerance is not spread evenly around the world, though. In some East Asian communities, for example, it’s up to 90%. In Northern Europe and North America, the rates are the lowest overall. There are probably a few reasons for this uneven distribution. The trait was first introduced by random mutation, which happened independently of each other in a few populations. The fact that farming replaced hunting and gathering more and more created natural-selection pressure. People who were able to digest lactose had more foods at hand, which was an advantage. The migration of dairy farmers to the north then spread it further, which probably pushed back populations there that didn’t have the trait. Okay, but if milk has been a valuable part of our diet for thousands of years, why is it so controversial? There are a number of claims regarding the negative and positive health effects of milk. The negative ones cover a wide variety, from brittle bones to cancer, and cardiovascular diseases to intolerance and allergies. So, how do they hold up? Some older studies found a connection between milk and a high risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancer But meta analyses found no impact on your cancer risk. On the contrary, the calcium in milk might even have a protective effect against colon cancer. Although this could be calcium in general, it’s not clear milk plays a role in this effect. Only studies on prostate cancer showed an increased risk for people who consumed more than one and a quarter liters of milk a day. But again, the association is inconsistent and other studies don’t find any effects. We discuss these studies in more detail in our sources document. All in all, the research seems to show that if you drink between 100 to 250 milliliters of milk per day, cancer is not a concern. Similarly, meta-analyses could not find any impact from milk or dairy products on your risk of heart disease, stroke, or your total mortality. Some studies even suggested that high blood pressure might be rarer in people who eat a lot of dairy, although the evidence is not strong enough to claim this with confidence. The case gets more complicated though when we look at bones. A number of studies found neither positive nor negative effects for adults. What most people worry most about though are harmful amounts of pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones. There are hormones in milk, but only in very low concentrations. For example to get the same amount of hormones as from the pill, you’d need to drink about 5000 litres of milk, and even if you did, most hormones would be destroyed by your digestive system before they could affect you, which is the reason why so much medication is coated to protect it from our digestion. For pesticides and antibiotics, there are regulations in most parts of the world that only allow completely harmless amounts. Milk that surpasses these thresholds is not allowed to go on the shelf. So there’s nothing in particular to worry about. Besides allergies and those suffering from lactose intolerances, the best known negative effects of milk are probably acne and general discomfort after drinking milk or eating dairy products, and here the effects are very real. For example, skimmed milk has been found to statistically increase the rate of acne by 24%. Allergies against milk products are especially prevalent among children, with one in 18 kids in Germany suffering from them. In general, these allergies tend to get better or disappear as they grow older though. Okay. Is milk healthy then? Milk, no matter if it comes from mothers, cows, sheep, goats, or camels is a nutrient-dense food. It contains all necessary macronutrients and many micronutrients. Especially in regions where people struggle to get enough calories, milk can contribute to a healthy life and lower child mortality. For those living in the developed world, in general milk is not harmful if you are not allergic or intolerant to it. Especially for children, it’s a good way to get large amounts of calcium and for vegetarians, it’s a good source of vitamin b12 and B vitamins in general. This does not mean there are not other alternatives with the same effect. You do not need to drink milk to be healthy Milk is also definitely not a substitute for water. Milk is power food, and the additional calories from drinking a lot of it on a regular basis can contribute to being overweight. Especially flavored milk or chocolate milk is more comparable to beverages like lemonade than a healthy snack, and there’s another thing to consider. Milk production has a significant impact on the global climate. About 33 percent of cropland is used to feed grazing animals including dairy cattle Even though the carbon footprint of dairy products has declined since 1990, Dairy production is still responsible for 3 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, even more than all airplanes combined. Milk is a huge industry and sadly, most of its production in factory farms causes incredible suffering. Cows are impregnated over and over, separated from their young shortly after birth, and slaughtered once their tortured bodies are not productive anymore. We can’t ignore that much of the milk we consume stems from an industry that is basically torture and contributes to climate change. What about plant-based milk? In terms of protein levels and nutritional value, only soy milk can compare to cow milk. The others need to be artificially enriched to reach similar levels of vitamins and calcium. So they can be an alternative to milk. And another option might be available soon. Several startups have created non-animal milk that is nutritionally identical to dairy milk, for example, through fermentation by gene modified bacteria. This lab-grown milk can even be turned into cheese, something that plant based alternatives struggle with because they lack casein and whey protein, the key ingredients that give dairy its taste and structure. The environmental impact is a different story though. Many milk alternatives use significantly less energy, land and less water to produce so they have a much lower environmental impact than animal milk. If you want to have the lowest possible negative impact on the planet, the best choice is whatever milk alternative is regional. As with almost any topic milk is complicated. It’s not harmful for the majority of the population and it’s crucial for many people around the world. It’s good, nutritious food, but also harmful to the planet and causes a lot of suffering. We need to decide as a society how we want to deal with these facts. If you feel like watching more documentary style videos now, check out CuriosityStream. A subscription streaming service with thousands of documentaries and non-fiction titles and sponsor of this video. With a CuriosityStream subscription, you also get Nebula for free a streaming service owned and operated by education content creators like CGP Grey, Lindsay Ellis or Knowing Better. A place to experiment, where creators are safe from the fun things YouTube throws at us from time to time. And, there are also originals like TierZoo’s Let’s Play Outside, a fun video remix of a popular curiosity stream documentary! Nebula is included with CuriosityStream for our viewers when you sign up at: So summarizing; CuriosityStream gives you access to big-budget documentaries from people like David Attenborough and Stephen Hawking. Nebula is all about independent creators taking control and try new stuff. You get the best of both worlds for $2.99 per month or only $19.99 for a full year, by visiting: curiositystream.com/kurzgesagt [Outro music]

100 thoughts on “Milk. White Poison or Healthy Drink?

  1. Curiosity Stream gives you access to big budget documentaries from people like David Attenborough and Stephen Hawking. Nebula is all about independent creators taking control and trying new stuff. You get the best of both worlds for $ 2.99 per month or only $19.99 for a full year by visiting CuriosityStream.com/kurzgesagt.

  2. Milk is a great way to get quick recovery carbs and slow digestive casein protein after training. It's also cheap and goes well in everything, like omelettes, smoothies, oatmeal etc.

    Soy drink has high protein levels but is also more expensive and contains more fat than skimmed/light milk, it's light version is simply a watered down version with the same macro content.

    With milk and eggs daily you can consistently get >50% daily protein requirements (1.2 gram/kilo BW) making it quite easy to obtain the rest from carb foods like spaghetti, rice or potatoes and by eating some meat/fish.

  3. If you like milk, but don't want to contribute to animal suffering or climate change, try to find a small local producer. Here in Europe there are lots of people (especially in smaller towns or rural areas) who have a barn and raise a few cows as a hobby and/or a side-job. Most cows produce A LOT of milk, so even if you have 2 cows, that's more than 60 litres of milk per day.

    They usually treat their cows as pets, which means they are very well looked-after and they graze on small unused grasslands that would be useless for agriculture (since they are too small to be worth farming with machinery) that otherwise not be used at all. In addition grazing livestock fertilizes the soil and actually helps local flora. They even allow herds to graze in the national parks, because they preserve and fertilize the grasslands.
    As a bonus, most farmers sell their milk much cheaper than in the supermarkets (because they just sell right out of their house, without any need for a complicated chain of distribution and delivery of such a perishable product). Here in Bulgaria I buy milk from a farm for about 60cents per litre, while at the supermarket it's typically over 1 euro/liter.

  4. 7:48 The dot on the “i” is written starting from the bottom;
    8:56 Here, on the other hand, it’s written starting from the top, like a comma!

  5. I have an idea for a video/ question. Why are explosive blast round? While looking down at a blast it looks to be a circle? Can you change the shape?

  6. its nice and all but youre all seriously glossing over the negative health aspects of this, like theres no problem with animal hormones? vegan men have higher testosterone than non vegan men, vegetarian men(tend to eat lots of cheese) have even lower testosterone than meat eaters again. Your estrogen levels literally spike after consuming dairy.

  7. Well, the alternatives are all well and good, but has anyone seen the price of them. Most cost at least 30% more, if not 50% more. And soy milk in large quantities is really bad for hormones, as it contains large quantities of plant estrogens. And almonds use 5 times the water of the average crop. Would a better option not be-assuming you are not lactose intolerant-to buy the milk directly from your closest free-range farmer? I am dissapointed that this channel would make a video like that that is clearly going to play on people's guilt and not mention how expensive the alternatives can be or how dangerous too much soy milk can be… Maybe just drink less milk and supplement with fortified foods and get your milk from ethical sources. You can buy in bulk and freeze it if you can't drive everyday to the farm. As for lactose intolerance, if you can find an ethical source, see if they offer lactase infused options.

  8. Lab made milk sounds interesting. First I'm hearing about it tho. Will definitely look it up👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 meanwhile soy, almond, oat and coconut milk are amazing to me ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  9. Did you also check the sponsors behind the studies you checked?? From my research their is funding in most studies that show milk have no detrimental effects, these studies cannot be taken serious. I would disagree and say milk does in fact have many detrimental effects on the human body from what I've researched taking study funding into consideration.

  10. You obviously haven't tried any good non dairy cheese alternatives. Because some brands are getting extremely close it's scary.

  11. Hilarious, perhaps whoever published this video should come clean about the 2013 study compiled by the British Medical Journal, done in Sweden with thousands of participants over I believe it was an 8 year period that showed a conclusive and direct correlation between dairy consumption and increased rates of bone fracture, especially hip, and increased mortality rates, but of course that wouldn't be as sensationalist as denying the facts, well done @Kurzgesagt

  12. 5:49 "in general these allergies tend to get better": does this depend on continuous consumption of milk, i.e. is it just "getting used to milk" or does this also happen if the child does not consume milk growing up?

  13. I understand wanting to stay neutral to not offend anyone in general, but maybe using new studies to debunk the negative effects of milk instead of studies made 10-20 years ago PRIOR to the studies disproving those benefits mentioned should have been used. Oh wait, they don't exist/ the only ones that exist are funded by the dairy industry. Quoting studies from the year 2000 when people did not consume as much dairy, when the actual dairy products in general were more "organic" and naturally had less negative impacts, is just not a viable argument when going up against studies made in 2016 and later. Even still ,we are in 2020. 2018 and 2019 had plenty of revealing studies, which were completely ignored to maintain neutrality.

  14. Would be amazing if you could do a video about the salmon like a food, because a lot of researches talks about found mercury in excess and how this is dangerously in the human bodies.

  15. The problem with Milk, at least in western countries and especially the US is…wait for it…capitalism! Got a whole lot of grazing and dairy ability in the US. So, rather than have it just be another foodstuff that people can eat if they want to, it has to be advertised and pushed in order to maintain the 'market' which leads to all sorts of distorted marketing and advertising and that's before you even get to the regulatory capture aspect of it all. I may be a bit older, but until the end of the 90's it was basically an axiom that milk was always healthy. There was literally no downside to its consumption, even from a basic "you really shouldn't overdo it with this, like any other food." Milk was considered good, period. Consuming it was considered good, period.

    See how that can cause potential problems?

    This is true for so many different quirks of our food production and consumption here, but it is what it is. I don't think milk is inherently anything other than a nutrient dense food we can squeeze from livestock, but once you make a market…the bullshit starts, so to speak.

  16. Wondering how big is the environmental impact of the additional stuff mixed into plant based "milk", and if that is ever included in the big picture. They are made by the chemistry industry, not pooped out by unicorns.

  17. no a1 a2 milk information after all the fuss? nutrition videos are not the best on this channel. Also misinformation about agriculture and global waming or absorbility of plant based food and animal based. no knowledge about the bioavailability and holistic agriculture. tought this was a well informed source

  18. You can't just take for granted that cows are treated poorly everywhere. You can probably buy more expensive milk where the cows have been better treated in some countries, but in Sweden for example, cows are NOT ALLOWED to be treated poorly. Plus almost all of the milk sold in Sweden is "climate conpensated", meaning that the emissions are matched with captures from for example planting trees.

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