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World Milk Day: see myths and truths about the drink

Milk, present on the table of many Brazilian families, is more than just a tasty drink. Considered one of the most complete foods there is, it is a source of proteins, vitamins and calcium. Consumption offers health benefits to children, adults and the elderly.

To clarify the controversies surrounding milk consumption, the Brazilian Association of Nutrology (Abran) and the Brazilian Society of Food and Nutrition (Sban) carried out an analysis of 114 scientific studies available on the topic. The conclusions were released in a document released at the end of last year.

“In view of the diverse information circulating on social media and the uncertainty this generates, we created this document with the aim of providing reliable and critical information about milk consumption and helping to clarify the main doubts that exist”, says nutritionist Durval Ribas Son, president of Abran.

CNN listed the benefits verified by scientists and brought together the main myths about the drink to celebrate World Milk Day, celebrated this Saturday (1st). See below.

Benefits of milk at different stages of life

Children:

  • Bone and muscle development: Rich in calcium and vitamin D, milk is essential for strong, healthy bone growth, as well as contributing to muscle development.
  • Strengthening the immune system: The proteins and vitamins in milk help build and function the body's defenses, fighting infections and preventing diseases.
  • Power supply: Milk provides energy for children's physical activities and games, as well as contributing to the proper functioning of the brain.

“Calcium is a basic constituent of milk, but it also contains magnesium, phosphorus, proteins, vitamins A, B12 and B, which are also directly related to bone health. Therefore, children who consume milk and its derivatives regularly are unlikely to experience deficiencies in essential nutrients and have a lower appetite, helping to avoid childhood obesity”, details Ribas Filho.

Adults:

  • Bone health: Milk continues to be important for maintaining bone health in adulthood, preventing diseases such as osteoporosis
  • Muscle mass: Milk proteins help maintain muscle mass, combating natural muscle loss with aging
  • Cardiovascular health : Some studies suggest that drinking milk may be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease

“In adulthood, milk consumption ensures the supply of the body's calcium needs, preventing the loss of bone mass that normally occurs throughout life. Milk and its derivatives are also sources of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals that are essential for health at all stages of life”, says nutritionist Pâmela Guedes.

Elderly:

  • Fall prevention: The calcium present in milk helps keep bones strong and prevents fractures and reduces the risk of falls
  • Muscle health: Milk proteins are important for maintaining muscle mass and strength
  • Quality of life: Milk consumption can contribute to a better quality of life, promoting bone, muscle and general health in the elderly

“A lack of calcium intake, especially in the elderly, can lead to fragile bones, susceptible to fractures, which can be debilitating due to age, and cause serious diseases, such as osteoporosis, hypocalcemia and rickets”, adds Guedes.

See 5 myths and truths about milk

Based on the document created by Abran and Sban, see five myths and truths about milk.

  1. Humans are the only mammals that drink milk after weaning and this proves how inadequate the consumption of cow's milk is.
    MYTH: Cow's milk is not only suitable for human consumption, which acquired this habit due to its evolutionary and adaptive capacity, but it is also an important source of proteins, vitamins and calcium. A glass of milk (200 ml) contains approximately 244 mg of calcium and 6.4 g of protein.
  2. The calcium provided by milk is the same as that found in many other foods.
    MYTH: Regarding calcium, there is no food that can replace milk in terms of supplying this nutrient, considering not only the amount of calcium present in its composition, but also the percentage of absorption of the mineral by the body.
  3. Milk has no proven benefit after infancy.
    MYTH: In food, dairy products fulfill several functions. The benefits associated with its consumption in different age groups are related to its high nutritional density, protein and calcium supply. This consumption helps with the growth and formation of bone structure in childhood and adolescence, reducing the risk of osteopenia [perda de massa óssea] and osteoporosis, reduction in the risk of chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity), cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.
  4. Milk is a food with a high power to generate inflammation, especially respiratory and gastrointestinal inflammation.
    MYTH: To date, there is no scientific evidence that milk or its derivatives are inflammatory foods. Several studies indicate that dairy intake can improve inflammation in adults. Milk consumption will be associated with inflammatory processes only in people diagnosed with cow's milk protein allergy (CMPA) and, in this case, the consumption of any quantity of milk, derivatives and products that contain milk in their composition must be excluded.
  5. Boxed UHT milk loses its nutrients in the manufacturing process and has a series of added preservatives that are harmful to your health.
    MYTH: UHT milk goes through a highly safe and validated process since the mid-20th century. The heat treatment followed by cooling and packaging in packaging guarantees a longer shelf life of the food, without the need for refrigeration before the product is opened, in addition to maintaining the milk quality and its microbiological safety. Thus, we have microbiologically and nutritionally safe milk. Furthermore, Brazilian legislation prohibits the addition of these substances to milk, and it is considered a criminal practice of fraud if this occurs. The only substances that can be added to milk in this process are stabilizers, regulated by Anvisa and which are not harmful to health.

Tips for including milk in your diet

Check out some tips below for including drinking in your routine.

  • Vary the options: Try different types of milk, such as whole, skimmed or semi-skimmed.
  • Combine with other foods: Add milk to coffee, chocolate milk or make fruit smoothies
  • Purees: Replace part of the water with milk when preparing mashed potatoes, cassava or other vegetables. The result will be a creamier and more flavorful puree.
  • Creamy sauces: Milk-based sauces, such as béchamel, are perfect to accompany pasta, vegetables and even meat.

Source: CNN Brasil

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