Is it time to get off the trendy nut milk?

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Full-fat milk dangerous, low-fat good — that’s been the well being mantra for decades and lots of have dutifully adopted that prescription, or given up milk utterly, in the perception that it protects towards heart problems and helps hold the pounds off.

Sales of milk have dropped by £240 million over two years, in line with research for The Grocer revealed final December, with many individuals swapping to plant-based drinks reminiscent of almond and soya varieties.

Fifteen years in the past these made up simply 5 per cent of the market. They’re now predicted to succeed in 20 per cent by 2021.

Sales of milk has dipped by nearly a quarter of a billion pounds in the last two years 

Sales of milk has dipped by nearly a quarter of a billion pounds in the last two years 

Sales of milk has dipped by almost 1 / 4 of a billion kilos within the last two years 

But have we received all of it incorrect? New analysis suggests milk doesn’t improve the danger of diabetes or heart disease, nor will it make you fats. Moreover, low-fat milk, as an alternative of full-fat, might even increase the danger of Parkinson’s.

In the meantime, youngsters who’ve been raised on milk options reminiscent of soya are more likely to be shorter, it’s been reported. And last week there was an EU courtroom ruling that these merchandise can’t even be referred to as ‘milks’ at all.

Milk’s popularity has had more swings than a political opinion ballot, it appears. Years in the past, it was considered such a superfood that it was provided free to schoolchildren. It was seen as very important for growing robust bones and tooth and offered a useful package deal of vitamins, including protein, fats, nutritional vitamins and minerals.

However from across the early Eighties its fame shifted, with considerations that the saturated fats in milk might increase the danger of coronary heart disease and result in individuals piling on pounds, because fat has extra calories per gram than carbohydrates.

At present, the official recommendation is to cut back on full-fat milk. Final yr, Public Well being England lowered the variety of energy really helpful to return from dairy virtually by half, to 200 for males and 160 for ladies. That’s less than what you’d get from one medium latte, with the milk offering 240 energy.

In the Eighties concerns began that saturated fat in milk could raise the risk of heart disease

In the Eighties concerns began that saturated fat in milk could raise the risk of heart disease

Within the Eighties considerations began that saturated fat in milk might increase the danger of heart disease

Individuals have additionally been postpone the drink more lately due to the rise in milk allergic reactions, the place the immune system reacts to a protein in milk, each common and low-fat.

This can be a controversial area as a result of many who say they react badly to exploit don’t show up as having an allergy when examined; or they could have a milk intolerance, the place they lack the digestive enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose (milk sugar).

For others, the very concept of farming and consuming cow’s milk is anathema.


IF all this has led to a gentle decline in milk consumption, up to now few months its future has been wanting brighter, for brand spanking new research recommend fears about heart danger and weight achieve have been unfounded.

A serious research has found no link between milk (full or low-fat) or different dairy meals (corresponding to yoghurt and cheese) and any kind of coronary heart illness. This analysis, which was revealed last month within the European Journal of Epidemiology, concerned 29 research carried out over 35 years.

Fact about plant-based milks

Many individuals turn to plant-based options to cows’ milk because they’ve an allergy or an intolerance, but others choose them because of a notion they’re healthier.

However are they? Although non-diary choices are arguably extra eco-friendly than cows’ milk, they can be much less nutritious. For example, semi-skimmed milk has 7g of protein per 200ml glass, but there’s just 1g in the same quantity of almond milk. And a few may be sweetened with added sugar — however lactose, the sugar in cows’ milk, isn’t thought-about as harmful to tooth.

Soya milk, whereas comparable when it comes to protein, has round a sixth of the calcium of cows’ milk, so you need to select one which’s fortified.

And rice milk, though it is lower in calories than full-fat cows’ milk (42 energy per 100ml in contrast with 64 calories in full-fat), is of course greater in sugars, containing 6.2g per 100ml in comparison with 4.7g, so is just not the best choice for diabetics.

‘It’s worthwhile to be careful about applying these findings to the risks of fat usually,’ says Rebecca McManamon, of the British Dietetic Affiliation. ‘The research was particularly about fats in dairy merchandise together with milk, though the very fact is milk hasn’t received that much fat however loads of nutritional advantages.

‘This new research, nevertheless, might be very helpful in reassuring individuals who may be considering of giving up dairy due to the potential hyperlink with coronary heart disease.’

Milk may additionally assist shield towards diabetes. Another giant research — involving 3,333 individuals over 15 years — found that those with the very best ranges of dairy fat in their blood had a few 50 per cent decrease danger of creating diabetes than these with the lowest levels.

The analysis, revealed within the journal Circulation final yr, appears to mirror the truth that individuals on low-fat diets are likely to refill on sugar and carbohydrates.

‘These may give us a much larger danger of diabetes in the long term,’ stated the lead researcher, Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist and dean at Tufts University in Massachusetts. The concern with dairy is that it’s more calorific gram for gram. But is this fear misplaced?

A research revealed final yr by the American Society for Vitamin, which tracked more than 18,000 ladies of normal weight, discovered they have been less more likely to turn into obese or obese if that they had been consuming full-fat dairy. Low-fat milk provided no protection.


So what’s going on here? One concept is that the fats simply makes you are feeling fuller.

Another concept is that it’s because of the approach the calcium in dairy reacts with the fats.

Research by Professor Arne Astrup, head of the human vitamin department on the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural College in Copenhagen, Denmark, has found that calcium binds on to the fat and permits extra of it to be excreted. This doesn’t happen with low-fat milks.

And now it appears skimmed and semi-skimmed milk could also be linked to critical illness.

It seems that skimmed and semi-skimmed milk may be linked to serious disease 

It seems that skimmed and semi-skimmed milk may be linked to serious disease 

It appears that evidently skimmed and semi-skimmed milk could also be linked to critical disease 

Consuming it greater than once a day raises the danger of creating Parkinson’s by 39 per cent in contrast with individuals who have it lower than once every week, in response to research revealed within the journal Neurology.

There was no raised danger with full-fat milk.

The researchers on the Harvard T. H. Chan Faculty of Public Well being analysed approximately 25 years of knowledge on 80,736 ladies and 48,610 men. The rationale for the results shouldn’t be clear.

However to put this improve in perspective, it must be noted that the danger was small to begin with — about one in 150 of these consuming full-fat, compared with one in 100 on low-fat.


Health-conscious mother and father have been switching from cow’s milk altogether due to worries about milk allergy, intolerance or different well being dangers.

Nevertheless, researchers at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, lately found that youngsters consuming round three cups of either soya or almond milk a day have been on average half an inch shorter by the age of three.

Health-conscious parents switched from cow's milk because of worries about milk allergies

Health-conscious parents switched from cow's milk because of worries about milk allergies

Well being-conscious mother and father switched from cow’s milk due to worries about milk allergic reactions

This might be because these drinks, until fortified, provide only a quarter of the protein and fats of cows’ milk.

Cows’ milk gives a cocktail of proteins, fats and numerous hormones, along with helpful amounts of vitamin A and the B nutritional vitamins, plus quite a lot of minerals. All that is designed for only one function — to make small, new child animals develop into something a lot greater.


An important, although not extensively recognized, component of the milk package deal is a hormone referred to as Insulin Progress Factor 1 (IGF-1) — the identify tells you what it does.

What worries researchers resembling Jeffrey Holly, an endocrinologist on the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Bristol College, is the long-term effect of continuous to drink milk after normal progress has stopped, because it signifies that your IGF-1 levels will stay raised.

It’s a highly controversial suggestion, but Professor Holly claims: ‘Afterward in life, this raised degree might be helping most cancers cells to develop. My research, in addition to research from Harvard, have proven that increased quantities of IGF-1 are linked with a larger danger for breast and prostate most cancers.’ Professor Holly was involved in a research on youngsters in Iceland — revealed in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2012 — which found that consuming milk typically during adolescence was linked with advanced prostate cancer.

Dairy increases the production of various beneficial compounds made by gut bacteria

Dairy increases the production of various beneficial compounds made by gut bacteria

Dairy will increase the production of varied useful compounds made by intestine micro organism

One other research by researchers on the Harvard Faculty of Public Health, revealed within the Journal of Vitamin in 2013, discovered that consuming low-fat and regular milk had totally different results on the danger of prostate most cancers.

Low-fat was linked with non-aggressive prostate tumours, whereas full-fat was related to fatal prostate most cancers.

Nevertheless, this analysis doesn’t prove milk was the cause. The Harvard group later advised the hyperlink is perhaps extra doubtless because of the improve in calcium, relatively than milk itself.

Professor Holly admits the proof isn’t conclusive and says there are still unknowns, however he’s been sufficiently satisfied by his personal work to stop consuming milk.

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Cancer Analysis UK says: ‘There isn’t any robust proof linking dairy merchandise to any sort of most cancers, although there’s proof they might scale back the danger of bowel most cancers.’

This can be because dairy increases the manufacturing of varied useful compounds made by intestine bacteria, reminiscent of butyrate, which reduces inflammation and may decelerate tumour progress.

One other concept is that the calcium in milk helps to mop up the iron present in pink meat, which may promote cancer progress.

‘Milk could be very complicated and there may be elements that scale back the danger,’ says Professor Holly. ‘But I would definitely advise anybody with a analysis of breast or prostate cancer to chop it out of their food plan.

‘For youngsters and youngsters, nevertheless, having juices and sugary carbonated drinks as an alternative of milk has been a catastrophe.’

Do you lack the milk gene?

Being able to drink cows’ milk is, in evolutionary terms, a new development for humans

Being able to drink cows’ milk is, in evolutionary terms, a new development for humans

With the ability to drink cows’ milk is, in evolutionary terms, a new improvement for humans

Professor Holly agrees that this could possibly be a cause to encourage youngsters to drink milk until they’ve stopped growing. This may notably benefit young women who, specialists say, aren’t consuming sufficient. But, in response to Professor Holly, for others, milk isn’t important.

Indeed, with the ability to drink cows’ milk is, in evolutionary phrases, a new improvement for humans. Even now, about half the world’s population, particularly in Asia and Africa, can’t do it.

This dates back round 12,00zero years to when humans learnt to cultivate cattle. Most at the time would have felt ailing in the event that they’d tried milk, however a couple of might stomach this new, tremendous source of vitamin.

These have been the ‘mutants’ who had an irregular version of the gene for dealing with lactose, the sugar in milk. The usual version of the gene produces an enzyme referred to as lactase which, with the help of microbes within the gut, breaks down lactose: this enables newborns to drink their mom’s milk. The traditional lactase gene stops working when you’ve grown, however the mutant model retains going, and the good thing about with the ability to access this additional vitamin supply allowed the gene to spread.

Milk details

– Calcium comes from the watery part of milk quite than fat, so skimmed milk has probably the most, with 122mg per 100ml compared with 120mg in semi-skimmed and 118mg in full fats.

– The UK consumes 103 litres of milk per individual per yr. It’s the fourth highest in Europe, based on figures from the Dutch Dairy Board  

Lactose intolerance is considered a disorder and abnormal, ‘however till the arrival of the cattle herders, virtually everybody was lactose intolerant,’ says Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s School in London.

Most people within the West are beneficiaries of the herder mutation, however around 20 per cent endure from lactose intolerance and associated bloating and stomach cramps, he suggests.

‘It’s troublesome to diagnose, so the true fee is unknown. What we do know is that many people have a perceived intolerance to lactose. The concern is that this could lead to avoiding all milk merchandise and the potential of calcium deficiency.’

Vegans, who keep away from animal products, are assured of with the ability to substitute the benefits of milk with dietary supplements.

‘Plant milk that has been fortified with calcium is a very rich supply and offers the same amount as cows’ milk,’ says Heather Russell, a dietitian on the Vegan Society. ‘The protein in soya is of comparable amount and quality to cows’ milk.’

So it in all probability comes right down to a private balancing act. For youngsters, milk is definitely higher than mushy drinks and mainstream specialists would say it’s better than plant-based ‘milks’. The fat itself doesn’t appear to pose much of a danger so they could properly select full-fat over semi-skimmed. As for adults, there’s no firm recommendation about how long to keep consuming it.

Perhaps it all comes right down to that very same previous message: every little thing sparsely.

 But what it’s essential know if your baby DOES have an allergy 

Alice is dairy free after a serious allergic reaction

Alice is dairy free after a serious allergic reaction

Alice is dairy free after a critical allergic reaction

Although my daughter’s first critical allergic response was terrifying at the time, in hindsight, it had its advantages.

As a result of it meant after months of taking her to the GP with red-raw eczema, upset tummies and horrendous nappy rash — and being advised it was as a result of every part from wind to incompetent nappy-changing — we have been lastly given the best analysis.

This first critical allergic response occurred when Alice was 5 months previous, while my mom was looking after her. I’d left her a bottle of method milk and within minutes of consuming it, Alice’s face went scarlet, and an indignant rash spread rapidly from her neck to her belly.

My mother was on the verge of calling an ambulance, but then observed the rash was subsiding.

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Fortuitously, I already had a GP appointment that afternoon for Alice’s weeping eczema. We’d been going to the GP each week since she first developed this and a windy tummy at four weeks previous. We have been all the time informed this was regular for some infants and that she would develop out of it.

However this time we noticed a special doctor, who immediately referred us to an allergy clinic. Skin exams — the gold normal for analysis — confirmed she had allergic reactions to exploit and eggs. Her (milder) response to breast milk was not to the milk itself, however the result of my consuming milk and eggs.

I ended eating milk and eggs — and anything with these in corresponding to cheese, yoghurt and desserts — and Alice’s pores and skin cleared up in days; her different signs additionally disappeared.

Although her analysis was a aid it required a frightening way of life shift. Subsequent checks revealed her egg allergy was so robust she was susceptible to anaphylaxis and we needed to carry a pen-like system always that may inject adrenaline and instantly open her airway.

Specialists warn they’re seeing growing numbers of milk allergic reactions in youngsters. Some studies recommend greater than 200,00zero beneath the age of four could also be affected — however many more might be missed. ‘Up to now two years we acquired 150 new referrals to our clinic of youngsters with suspected milk allergy — multiple every week,’ warns Dr David Luyt, paediatric allergy marketing consultant at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Although it’s not clear why, milk allergy occurs when the immune system malfunctions and treats proteins present in milk, similar to casein and whey, as overseas invaders — and attacks.

This triggers a launch of the chemical histamine, which causes reactions similar to hives, and swelling. In severe instances it may end up in anaphylaxis.

Experts warn they’re seeing increasing numbers of milk allergies in children 

Experts warn they’re seeing increasing numbers of milk allergies in children 

Specialists warn they’re seeing growing numbers of milk allergic reactions in youngsters 

Genes play an element, but different elements are thought to include modifications in the baby’s intestine micro organism, maybe because of being delivered by way of caesarean or from receiving antibiotics.

To complicate issues, some youngsters might react hours, even days, after consuming milk. This could make a milk allergy especially troublesome to spot, says Dr Kate Grimshaw, a specialist allergy dietitian at Southampton Youngsters’s Hospital.

‘In the case of delayed reactions, analysis relies on a health professional — resembling a GP or well being visitor — recognising their symptoms and referring the child to a specialist.’

Nevertheless, GPs or health guests will not be all the time conscious that milk allergy might not produce an instantaneous reaction.

‘We lately revealed research suggesting almost half of youngsters with a milk allergy won’t react to present allergy checks, as a consequence of having a delayed response. We hear this from mother and father in our clinic — some need to struggle to get a referral to us.’

Luckily, most youngsters (round 90 per cent) develop out of milk allergy by the age of five, says Dr David Luyt. ‘Probably because of their immune system changing with age. Youngsters with delayed reactions, are likely to develop out of their allergy quicker.

‘Docs used to consider that youngsters with milk allergy should keep away from all milk, however we now realise that if we re-introduce milk slowly this will permit the immune system to adjust over time, in order that it stops reacting.’

The therapy, referred to as the milk ladder, is often began when a toddler is one. It steadily introduces milk in more and more pure varieties, starting with malted milk biscuits and ending with plain milk. Dr Luyt cautions it must all the time be executed beneath the steerage of a medical professional.

Dr Grimshaw echoes the need to search medical advice before eradicating milk from a toddler’s weight-reduction plan, and urges mother and father to ask to see an allergy specialist first. She warns that dairy options resembling oat or coconut milk don’t have almost sufficient protein for a growing baby.

Like Alice, our second youngster, Cora, born three months ago, also seems to have problems with dairy, with skin rashes and horrible nappies.

However this time I knew what to do and minimize dairy from my food regimen inside days: we hope she will even be tested at Alice’s hospital appointment next month.

Within the meantime, Alice, now three, has been on the milk ladder for six months and continues to be close to the bottom (there are 12 steps): she’s managed the biscuits. Subsequent: cake! 


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