Is cow's milk really for humans? Before we elaborate, humans are the only beings who drink milk from other mammals, think about that for a second. Though cow's milk has nutritional value that our body needs like protein, fat, calcium, and potassium, it also brings other substances such as antibiotics, hormones, saturated fats, and cholesterol we need to take into consideration before drinking them!
It brings extra hormones!
Drinking cow's milk also means drinking extra hormones. Hormones like IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) and also estrogens! (1) IGF-1 is an essential hormone for human growth. However, our body naturally already produces IGF-1(2). What happens if we bring in extra IGF-1 from cow's milk? According to a 2017 meta-analysis study, there is a correlation between IGF-1 in cow's milk and prostate cancer (3).
This pattern can be seen in Japan as well. As cow's milk intake increases about 20 times, at the same time, prostate cancer prevalence grows at the fastest rate in Japan (4). Then, what about estrogen? When humans consume cow's milk, it can increase the level of estrogen in our blood, increasing the risk of breast and endometrial cancer. (5) (6) (7)
It comes with saturated fat & cholesterol
From many kinds of fat, saturated fat has been known to increase LDL cholesterol, which is "the bad cholesterol." It can increase your risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. (8) Well, cow's milk is one primary source of saturated fat in our diet, other than meat. (9) Not only saturated, but cow's milk contains cholesterol. This is another factor that can increase the risk of heart disease. But the good news, plant foods do not have any cholesterol in them!
58-100% of the Asian population is lactose intolerant!
Have you ever experienced diarrhea, bloated, nauseous, or gassy after drinking cow's milk? If yes, you are most likely to be lactose intolerant, which means your body can't digest the lactose from it. In Asian countries, about 58-100% of the population is lactose intolerant. (10) The majority of people cannot digest lactose from cow's milk well. It is additional evidence; we are not designed for drinking cow's milk. Don't force yourself to drink cow's milk. You can get calcium from plants or even plant milk! To meet all our nutritional needs, including calcium, we can get it all from plant foods. It's better to eat plants because they don't bring hormones and cholesterol, as cow's milk does!