Is Milk Bad for You? What the Experts Say

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"Drinking milk is as American as Mom and apple pie," began The New York Times' Mark Bittman, in his controversial column that claims milk isn't as good for you as you would think. Even though the USDA recommends three 8-ounce cups of milk per day, Bittman says his own "test" of giving up dairy products has relieved his chronic heartburn. So is milk really that bad for you?

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Bittman writes in his column that milk allergies and lactose intolerance are becoming the norm. And that doesn't even factor in the high amounts of saturated fat, and sugars (in skim milk), that can cause bigger health problems, like type 1 diabetes. Some say that humans have evolved past the need for milk from animals.

Others have come out in defense of milk, and say that milk is still one of the most nutritional drinks on the menu. In response to Bittman's claim that humans have evolved past the need for dairy milk, Will Fertman writes in Culture Magazine that there are plenty of foods that humans have not evolved to eat: olive oil, potatoes, tomatoes, bread, and animal proteins, for starters. Milk can help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus, milk is still one of the most affordable, nutritious foods families can put on the table, say opponents. Writes the president of the Dairy Research Institute, Greg Miller, to The New York Times, "Eating three daily servings of dairy (milk, cheese, or yogurt) as recommended by leading health and nutrition organizations means that we're getting a generous helping of nutrition at an affordable price — both per penny and per calorie."

Bittman still claims that his milk experiment has worked for about one-third of his friends with heartburn. Is milk a healthy part of your diet, or are you one of the millions with lactose intolerance?

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