There is debate about this issue even within the medical community.
For most of human evolution , lactose in milk was essentially a harmful toxin for adults. However, about 12,000 years ago or so , human societies began to settle…learned to farm and domesticate animals. And as a result of this convenient animal rearing, some very profitable by-products derived from cow’s milk, goat milk, etc. began to appear.
At first, the amount of lactose in raw milk was too much for the human body to tolerate. Fortunately, the products derived from the fermentation of this same milk, such as cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt, had a lower concentration of lactose… so adults could consume them.There is debate about this issue even within the medical community.
Around the year 5,000 BC , a family that lived in what we now know as Europe began to develop a genetic mutation that allowed them to maintain lactase production (a hormone that allows lactose to be digested) beyond childhood. Thanks to this mutation, their digestive metabolism did not change after weaning… which allowed a radical change in human eating habits.
In fact, this simple and indifferent genetic variation gave that European lineage an enormous advantage. Because unlike other communities, they could complete their diet with milk extracted directly from other animals during periods of food shortage. Helped by this evolutionary privilege , this lineage spread throughout our continent.
And for this reason, lactose intolerance is today much less common in Europe than in other continents. To put it in perspective: while in northern European countries they have 10% lactose intolerance and in every country we have 15% … in China there are more than 75% and in Japan 80%. For these people, drinking milk is harmful and it is better that they take other types of milk as substitutes, but what about the European population?Lactose intolerance is much less common in Europe than in other continents.
Is it good to drink milk once we have passed childhood?
The fact that we are part of that 85% of people who do not suffer from lactose intolerance does not necessarily mean that consuming it is good for us. There could be other reasons why we should not consume milk once we have passed childhood, as we have already heard on more than one occasion.
The truth is that there is a debate about this issue even within the medical community. On the one hand, there are those who maintain that drinking milk provides us with a very beneficial amount of calcium for the body, especially for the bones. And on the other hand, there are those who see it as a bad habit in adults that will do more harm than good and that there are other ways to achieve the recommended daily intake of calcium.
Leticia López, a member of the Professional Association of Dietitians and Nutritionists of the Community of Madrid, explains that in our country milk is part of the culture and of our traditional diet, also in adulthood. This means that -in general- our body produces enough lactase so that it can tolerate lactose consumption.Lactose, gluten and histamine intolerance.
From here, the only thing that matters is whether milk is -indeed- the ideal and most appropriate source to acquire the nutrients that our body needs so much. And as the specialist explains, milk “has very balanced levels of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, if there is no contraindication, its consumption is recommended throughout life”, “If we like milk, and although it is not essential, it is an excellent option as part of our regular diet” .