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Link between consuming milk and its effect on women's health

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In this ever-changing world, with the current trend of choosing a healthy diet, healthy lifestyle is a choice we all truly want for our family and ourselves. Inspite of having such vast information readily available, choosing the right, doesn't seem as easy as it should be. On this world milk day, we spread a tiny bit of light on what milk and its benefits means to women and women's health.

Milk has been painted as a hero for decades, and suddenly it's painted as a villain! Being a possible cause for early puberty, endometrial cancer and increased cholesterol, possibility of increased cardiovascular disease, being a reason for type 2 diabetes, cause of childhood obesity. Milk has been a part of our routine diet for over hundreds of years. Milk contains 18 of the 22 essential nutrients, including various biopeptides, fatty acids and multiple other micronutrients, like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, magnesium.

Milk makes a very important and good source of protein in our diet. Adding some dairy to your daily diet, such as a small cup of milk to your coffee or a cup of milk poured over your breakfast cereal, or other dairy products such as a slice of cheese to your toast or a bit of cheese in your food is good and can help you get some vital nutrients. But it's more important to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of greens, vegetables, nuts and a balanced diet is much more essential to get your proteins and calcium supplements than being completely dependent on milk.

And on this current day and trend, the other important factor that we have, that troubles us is the different types of milk, the non-animal source of milk, the plant-based or nut sourced milk. And even in the cow's milk, the percentage of milk. If you don't understand the difference between 1% or 2% of milk, it means the percentage of milk fat, the fatty part of the milk, that's present in that milk. The higher the percentage, the more grams of fat is present in that type of milk. The complications in milk, though not clearly proven,there have been multiple studies that's established, the negative effects of milk. Nothing has been statistically proven that milk causes complications in women.


% Milkfat


Total Fat

Skim Milk

0% (fat-free)
83 calories

0 grams
Low-fat Milk

103 calories

2.5 grams
Reduced fat Milk


124 calories

5 grams
Whole Milk

148 calories

8 grams

But there are certain side effects with milk. Such as an increased risk of Endometrial cancer in women, when they consume high quantities of milk. The reason being the increase in the estrogen hormones present in the fat of this milk. It's predominantly comes from source of the milk. When the cows are given synthetic growth hormones to increase the growth and increase production, they have high levels of estrogen and also these cows tend to have increased infection rates. And when you have increased infection, the possibility of increased use of antibiotics to the cows are there. So, the milk obtained from these cows have increased estrogenic material and also could lead to antibiotic resistance. When milk sourced from these cows are given to young children and women, the possibility of increased risk of cancer, antibiotic resistance and the possibility of early puberty is there.

An increased rate of childhood obesity in long term leads to a lot of chronic diseases. Such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidaemia. So, choosing the right milk is more essential. Milk is neither a hero nor a villain. It has to be taken in moderation. But an essential nutrition we need during the course of childhood, puberty and during your pregnancy. Good fat milk can be given to children up to two years of age. But beyond two years, choosing milk that contains low fat milk is much more beneficial for the health effects.

(Article Courtesy: Dr Veena, Obstetrician and gynaecologist, reproductive medicine specialist, Prashanth Hospitals, Chennai)

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