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Tasty Tuesday by Anna Grindeland, RD, CD: Myth-Busting the Milk Debate

By: Anna Grindeland, RD, CD

Milk has a bad reputation due in part to a number of internet myths that have elicited a fear of what was once a household staple.

Because Tasty Tuesday is all about no-nonsense advice and helping you to navigate nutrition information easily, I'd like to clear up a few of those myths:

Myth #1: Drinking milk causes premature growth in kids....

The truth: The calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and B-vitamins in milk are essential in healthy childhood development and, sadly, most kids don't get enough of these nutrients. Milk is a healthy drink that can replace sugary or diet beverages that contain little to no nutrition. Make milk an option at the breakfast and dinner table for your family.

Myth #2: There are hormones in milk....

The truth: There are hormones everywhere— in plants and animals. We even make and use them in our own bodies. Scientific trials have found that milk from cows treated with rBGH, or other growth hormones, had negligible increases in human hormone levels, and that those increases had no known health effects.

If you still aren't comfortable with that answer, look for milk labeled "from cows not treated with rBST." Easy as that.

Myth #3: Only raw milk is nutritious….

The truth: This is not only wrong, but dangerous!! Unpasteurized milk is likely to contain harmful bacteria that no amount of organic, local, or cuteness on the cow's behalf can fix. Pasteurization is a simple process of heating milk to kill harmful bacteria that can make you sick, and you can even do it yourself at home.

Ask your local extension office (extension.wsu.edu/whitman/) for information or visit the following link to a factsheet, provided by Oregon State Extension:

If healthy bacteria are what you are looking for, reach for a yogurt or kefir with live active cultures—dairy that works for you!!

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The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.