No Milk For Months? Reconsider!
Open fridge. Pour a tall, cold one. Chug-a-lug. Wipe off milk mustache. It seems as easy as that yet Americans today are drinking less milk than in the last forty years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
There are many reasons why:
- Other beverages such as sports drinks, soda, juices and bottled water have become popular thirst-quenchers.
- Cereal with milk at home is being replaced by eating breakfast on-the-go or stopping by a drive-thru on their way to the office. Breakfast has traditionally been the time when most people enjoy milk.
- Café lattes, iced cappuccinos and different teas are replacing an ice-cold glass of milk.
- There is a perception that milk is high in fat and calories and many schools have banned chocolate and strawberry flavored varieties due to this view and in an effort to curb obesity in children. Sale of milk in schools that have this ban has dropped between 30% and 76% according to a study done by the Western Dairy Association in 2012.
- There are fewer children in the U.S. today and children are, traditionally, the biggest milk drinkers.
- Other trendy types of milk such as soy, rice and almond are perceived to be healthier and have gained in popularity.
While the consumption of milk has declined since World War II, sales of other dairy products such as cheese have risen, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.
The good news is that there is a rising demand for American milk products in many parts of the world. Places like China are concerned about food safety in their own country and are looking at foreign markets to supply their demand.
Dry milk products, especially purified whey and casein, are now used in a variety of ways from baby formula to whey isolates that are used by many athletes to build or maintain muscle.
The demand for American cheese is also at an all-time high with countries like South Korea, Mexico and Japan leading the way in cheese imports.
Definitely good news for milk haulers and dairy farmers.
Health Benefits of Milk
Cow’s milk contains a variety of nutrients which promote good health in children and adults:
Complete Protein – meaning protein with all the nine essential amino acids needed by humans, in the right proportions to digest and utilize. Milk contains casein and whey, which is used very easily by the body and one of the top foods that athletes use to build and maintain their muscles.
Calcium. This important mineral boosts bones and teeth, helps your nerves to fire and your blood to clot when you get a cut, and it even regulates the rhythm of your heart.
Potassium. One 8-oz glass of skim milk contains 380 milligrams of potassium to help your nervous system function normally. It also helps blood pressure to remain stable.
Iodine. This is a trace mineral that your body needs to keep your thyroid gland functioning at optimum levels. Too little iodine and you will feel fatigued, weak, depressed, and can cause you to gain weight.
Vitamins. One 6-oz glass is chock-full of vitamin B12 – the full daily requirement for an adult to keep nerves and red blood cells healthy. It also has appreciable amounts of vitamin A, D, E, C and K. Niacin, folate and other B vitamins are also part of the mix. No small feat for one small glass.
Besides these nutritional benefits milk just tastes plain delicious and can be used in such a variety of ways – cold or warm, and mixed with oodles of cocoa powder and sugar. Or with cereal; in custards, whipped for a dessert, cream in your coffee, milk in your tea and last, but not least – as ice cream!
It’s time for Americans to revisit the simple pleasures of a glass of cold milk.