Sunday, May 3, 2015

Got Milk? Part 2

As we learned in the previous post, the lifelong ability to digest lactose is actually a genetic "defect". Could there be adverse consequences to consuming milk despite the benefits? If lactose reaches the colon whole, doesn't that make it a prebiotic fiber?

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Lactase activity changes during development. In most humans, lactase activity reaches a maximum in late pregnancy but declines after 2–3 years of age and reaches a stable low level at age 5–10, a process which might help weaning. However, a proportion of the human population, especially Caucasians from Northern Europe or northern European descent, retain high lactase levels during adulthood (lactase persistence). Both, lactase persistence and non-persistence (leading to lactose malabsorption) are thus normal human phenotypes.

Just because you can drink milk...should you? Our early ancestors seemed to know to avoid the lactose, as shown here:

From: Direct evidence of milk consumption from ancient human dental calculus (2014) 

Adoption of animal milk consumption by humans typically requires behavioral adaptations, such as culturing and curdling techniques, to remove or reduce the lactose content of milk in order to make dairy products digestible after infancy. Additionally, populations with long pastoralist traditions in Europe and India, East Africa, and the Arabian peninsula have also independently evolved lactase persistence (LP), a genetic adaptation in the regulation of the lactase gene (LCT) that allows continued adult digestion of milk. LP is hailed as one of the clearest examples of gene-culture co-evolution in humans, yet many fundamental aspects of its evolution remain unknown and the socioeconomic context and scale of prehistoric and historic dairying are only poorly understood.

Lactose contents of dairy products

Our ancestors avoided lactose, why shouldn't we? For the most part, this means simply avoiding free-flowing, fluid milk (unless noted as "Lactose Free"). Lactose is the "carb" portion of milk, so processes that separate the fats from the carbs result in lower lactose concentrations.

Many "lactose content" charts exist, but they can be confusing and often in disagreement. Here are some lengthy lists of lactose contents in various dairy products:
In general:
  • All fluid, drinkable milk is high in lactose--unless lactose free.
  • Cultured milk products like sour cream, yogurt, kefir all have a bacterial component that lowers the lactose content.
  • Cheeses have lower lactose, with harder cheeses being lowest. American Pasteurized/processed cheese (like Velveeta) are high in lactose!
  • Butter and Ghee are low in lactose.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans dictate that every person should get "three servings" of dairy per day. A "serving" is a cup of milk/yogurt or two ounces of cheese.  Each serving of fluid milk contains approximately 12g of lactose. 

The reasoning behind this recommendation?

Dairy foods, particularly fluid milk, yogurt, and cheese, are the principal sources of calcium in the diets of the industrialized nations, and without a high dairy diet, it is difficult to come close to recommended calcium intakes.

The recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1000mg (1g). True to form, one cup of milk contains 300mg of calcium. But there are other ways to get 1000mg of calcium without dairy.  Fish, vegetables, and nuts, for instance (see calcium content list).  Admittedly, it's easier with dairy, and several servings of dairy a day is probably great advice. Our thought is that it may be wise, though, to limit overall lactose intake. In this case, enjoy your dairy, but get it from traditional sources: yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, and kefir over pasteurized, fluid milk.

Raw milk may be better than pasteurized in many ways, and if available where you live, immensely better than pasteurized milk. Goat or sheep's milk are also good choices, but again, raw or fermented to emulate traditional methods of consuming. 

We'll delve more into these recommendations in parts 3 and 4, but our feeling is that the lactose content, without accompanying bacteria found in raw and fermented dairy, is a problem.  If you look at a lactose content chart, like the two linked above, you'll see that fermented milk products have just as much lactose as regular milk, however, fermented dairy has a secret weapon!  The bacteria associated with fermented dairy have their own "lactase" (the enzyme that degrades lactose). This is a big part of our argument that "lactose is bad for you."

From: Lactose Contents of Milk and Milk Products

Fermented products that are not pasteurized or heated in ways that destroy enzyme activity have significant levels of B-galactosidase that contribute to the digestion of lactose in the intestine of persons consuming them.  Lactase activity can be detected in cultured yogurt but not in cottage cheese, soured cream, acidified yogurt, or milk. It can be concluded that lactase bound to bacterial cells in cultured yogurt may be released during gastric digestion, making these products more acceptable for lactose maldigesters.


Is lactose a prebiotic "fiber?

For most people in the world, the ~70% LNP population, drinking milk means undigested lactose enters the colon where it is rapidly degraded by gut bacteria. This may sound like the definition of a "prebiotic," but lactose appears to have quite different effects on people. 

More than a few researchers have reached the conclusion that being unable to digest lactose should be a protective measure, as it shifts milk being consumed to food for the gut flora, as shown here: Lactose--a potential prebiotic. 

In inflammatory bowel disease, lactose (together with other prebiotics) may promote the maintenance of lactic acid-producing bacteria and prevent the expansion of potential pathogens. In colorectal cancer, lactase insufficiency may serve a role similar to the postulated potential benefits of resistant starch...

Just as with FODMAPS, RS, and other fibers, some people just don't have the intestinal machinery needed to turn lactose into a "good thing." While some may develop a set of bacteria that can ferment lactose, others never seem to be able to drink milk without the symptoms that plague the lactose intolerant: gas, pain, bloating and diarrhea. 

So, whether it's genetic or bacterial in nature, one thing is apparent: humans react to lactose in radically different ways and the recommended 3 glasses of milk a day for everyone is foolhardy at best. Especially in the modern, pasteurized or low fat version, so different from the raw milk that the first dairy farmers would probably drink.

In this study, Colonic Fermentation May Play a Role in Lactose Intolerance in Humans, researchers looked at LNP type people who could and could not tolerate lactose. They examined all aspects of their large intestines to determine why some could or could not handle the lactose that entered their colons.

What they found is very interesting!  When lactose enters the colon, it is first broken down to glucose and galactose by a substance called "β-Galactosidase." This is the same family of enzymes that the missing lactase (of the LNP clan) belongs to. It turns out that not only humans can break down lactose, but bacteria as well!

During colonic fermentation, lactose is first hydrolyzed to glucose and galactose, which are subsequently fermented, leading to the production of a series of intermediate (e.g., lactate, formate and succinate) and end-product metabolites [i.e., acetate, propionate, and butyrate, gases (H2, CO2 and CH4), and biomass].

This paper goes on to discuss the difference in lactose intolerant or lactose tolerant LNP:

A low lactose-fermenting capacity of the colonic microbiota, which leads to inefficient removal of the maldigested lactose (and/or its intermediate fermentation metabolites), or a low absorption capacity of the colon, which leads to inefficient removal of the fermentation metabolites, may contribute to the occurrence of symptoms.

Four issues with calling lactose a "prebiotic":

  1. Some people (LNP) do not produce lactase enzymes in the small intestine, and their gut bacteria cannot utilize lactose.
  2. Some people (LNP) do not produce lactase enzymes in the small intestine, but their gut bacteria can utilize lactose.
  3. Some people (LP) should produce lactase enzymes (according to their genes) but still are lactose intolerant.
  4. Gut bacteria must be able to break down lactose with enzymes AND ferment the byproducts AND the colon must be healthy to absorb the byproducts.

These are probably also the exact same reasons why we see some people having issues with FODMAPS, RS, and other fibers, and why there may truly be no "perfect prebiotic" for everyone.


Early "Paleo" diets dissuaded people from eating or drinking dairy...was this good advice? Should there have been a differentiation between consuming liquid milk and fermented dairy products such as yoghurt or cheese?   Whether it's raw, pasteurized, or chocolate milk has no bearing. It's all about the lactose content. The "lactose free" type milks may be OK. Cheese, butter, kefir, and yogurt all seem to fall outside the realm of LP/LNP issues.

Independently of whether one is LP, LNP, lactose intolerant, or has no problem drinking milk, lactose seems to be causing problems for lots of people worldwide.  Again we ask: Just because you can drink milk...should you?

We'll explore more in parts 3 and 4. What we've talked about today is not "new" knowledge, it's been known for quite a long time, actually. However some key pieces to the puzzle may be yet to fall into place.

...and we won't even mention the whole A1/A2 issue!
Tim, Gabriella, and Gemma


  1. From what I have read on the internet, these days they both pasteurise AND homogenise milk before it is sold. That is over kill in my book. Is pasteurising not enough, that we have to do both? Apparently homogenising is the killer and absolutely destroys any benefits that you could get from milk. It's been nuked to death.

    Jo tB

  2. Dear Sir/ Madams

    I consume approx 4 pints of milk a day. Have done for years. I very much look forward to you expatiating upon milk's many health-giving properties. (With especial reference to the cheap and wholly degraded stuff wot I buy in the supermarket.)

    Kind regards,

  3. A Danish study was published recently suggesting that cheese (not milk) increases butyrate,hippurate, and malonate. I think that fermented dairy products can have a positive effect on gut flora. I eat cheese, home made kefir and yoghurt because it tastes good and I think its 'healthy'. But I would never drink a glass of milk.

    1. @Thomas

      Thanks for sharing. We have seen this paper too. Both milk and cheese had effects, and they were diferrent, despite the seemigly same nutrient composition. See Table 1

    2. Yes, that's why I think its interesting.

      I should have added that I would only recommend raw milk cheeses.

  4. Haven't had time to read this yet so will hold off on commenting. But will leave you with this. Hopefully some will find interesting... Old school nutrition. Forgotten important knowledge or marketing hype from decades past?

    1. Raw milk makes zero difference in the development of type 1 diabetes. Study of old order Mennonites in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania indicates that the rate of type 1 diabetes in this population is no different than white ethnic group in the state. People are kidding themselves if they think raw milk is better than pasteurized. Mennonites drink raw milk.

    2. @Brad

      "Milk is a natural antibiotic and a dramatic manipulator of gut flora" (Ayers, 2014), apart from being a nutrient source. So no wonder it can help some people in certain conditions.

      The question is if it might hurt some others, predisposed to autoimmune diseases, for the very same reasons. If it is a medicine, the dose makes a poison. And the form and timing matters as well.

    3. I would only say that lots of people drink all kinds of milk (raw, pasteurized, fermented, etc...) and enjoy great health. But there are also people eating a terrible SAD-type diet who are in good health. Or seem to be.

      I think it will be obvious to everyone after parts 3 and 4 that milk is playing a big role in some health woes we see in the world, but milk probably does not have much negative effect on the vast majority of those that drink lots of it. Or so it seems.

  5. I am so glad that you guys are discussing milk in depth. It is one of my favorite subjects. (I am married to a lactation consultant who helped found LLL in Singapore.) I studied passive immunity in mice/utero/milk and chickens/egg yolk. I also worked on disease resistance in plants, so I try to make parallels between seeds, yolk, gestation and milk. These considerations bring up some interesting issues:

    Sugars are chemically reactive and there are problems if cells are exposed to high concentrations, e.g. blood sugar. Fructose is the most primitive and is the central phosphorylated sugar in glycolysis. Glucose is less reactive and is used for transport in blood. Neither sugar is tolerated in cells, so they are immediately neutralized by phosphorylation. Plants make vast amounts of photosynthetic sugar that is transported as chemically inert sucrose. Lactose is still reactive, so why is it used in milk? Is it like honey, a chemically toxic mix of sugars at high concentration that permit storage, i.e. antimicrobial?

    Whey is consumed to promote muscle growth and after bariatric surgery. These are both uses where weight manipulation is desired. Changing weight is facilitated by destabilizing, randomly killing gut flora. This suggests that whey kills adult gut bacteria and it does. Lactoferrin is a major component of whey. It binds iron and stomach proteases digest it to lactoferricin, an antimicrobial peptide. Iron is uniformly sequestered in plants and animals to prohibit bacterial growth. Only probiotic “dairy” bacteria can grow in whey/lactose. Adult gut bacteria can’t grow and that is the major point of milk.

    The poop of exclusively breastfed babies smells like yogurt! One bottle of formula converts baby gut flora to adult gut flora. Milk/baby gut flora promotes the development of the immune system in the intestines. Babies can only survive on formula with high hygiene and because formula causes inflammation/hormesis? of the gut.

    Why do pregnant women in societies who don’t drink milk, still have gut bacteria that produce beta-galactosidase that they transfer to their babies? This suggests that the typical substrate for this enzyme is not lactose. It is telling that in bacteria the beta-galactosidase gene is always linked/same operon to a permease that promotes import of galactosides, and an acetyltransferase that adds an acetyl group to the galactose. Acetylation blocks the action of the galactosidase? The point is that there are plenty of toxic plant chemicals that are activated by removing the sugar attached to them, i.e. toxic glycosides. The lactose operon can exploit dietary plant carbs, but it also neutralizes plant toxins.

    Why are there so many people who complain about the symptoms of lactose intolerance, when eating small amounts of yogurt with probiotics transfers beta-galactosidase to gut flora in a matter of weeks? The cure is easy, painless and effective. Why doesn’t everyone get fixed? Is a billion dollar industry based on ignorance?

    I think that modern lactose intolerance is a modern form of gut dysbiosis. Our ancestors had gut microbiota that produced beta-galactosidase, even if we, as adults, failed to produce lactase. Excessive hygiene, low prebiotic processed foods and pharmaceuticals with high antibiotic activity have produced pervasive gut dysbiosis marked by beta-galactosidase deficiency and a new form of lactose intolerance. This may have dramatic impact on newborns.

    1. Hi Art - Thanks for dropping by! We definitely consulted your blog as we were researching this, see: Cooling Inflammation, milk query

      We were discussing some of this the other day. We all know people that just have such an exaggerated response to even the smallest bits of milk, there must be something going on besides the inability of gut bacteria to properly ferment lactose.

      It seems the colon of some people treats undigested milk products the same way it would treat a bolus dose of putrid meat...instant diarrhea, cramps, bloating, major flatulence. These responses seem well out of the realm of just some difficulty fermenting a few grams of something foreign to the bacteria.

      But, I have heard of people who overcame lactose intolerance through small daily doses as well. We read a paper where they dried "curing" a cohort of people with lactose intolerance by feeding small doses of yogurt daily and the results were all over the place with only a few finding this intervention helpful.

    2. ...We read a paper where they dried "curing" a...

      "tried" curing...I give up trying to fix it, lol.

    3. @Dr. Ayers

      What an answer, thank you. I can see a statistically significant concentration of question marks! Wow!

    4. "Why are there so many people who complain about the symptoms of lactose intolerance, when eating small amounts of yogurt with probiotics transfers beta-galactosidase to gut flora in a matter of weeks? The cure is easy, painless and effective. Why doesn’t everyone get fixed? Is a billion dollar industry based on ignorance?"

      I'm feeling stupid, what exactly is the 'fix'? Just eating yoghurt? Is that what is being said here?

  6. TIM

    Please breakdown Dr. Art Ayers comment or post so a lay person like me could understand all this. Thank You, and Dr. Art Ayers

    1. There are some really deep concepts at play here. Part 5 (as of now) will hopefully be a good summation of all this. We are waiting to write it as the questions come in and we learn a bit more each day. This milk thing kind of took a life of its own, it's the result of hundreds of emails that I hated to see get deleted, so I asked if we could do this as a series, having no idea what I was getting myself (and the readers) into.

      Doctors have been questioning for many, many years why we insist on drinking milk past weaning. And our love affair with this 'milk flavored beverage' called "pasteurized/homogenized milk" seems to just be a way to keep money flowing for the dairy lobby.

      None of us writing this were, or are, particularly 'anti-milk' but there are some very disturbing facts we are uncovering that go deep into the immune system and made me question deeply why we all drink so much milk after we are weaned off it.

      I don't mean to sound 'mysterious' and we are not planning on turning this into a 'lose-weight quick!' gimmick, it's just is what it is, and very interesting.

    2. "I think that modern lactose intolerance is a modern form of gut dysbiosis"

      I totally agree. And I attribute my lactose intolerant to "leaky gut". Which I'm sure came from years of eating grains.

      I also wonder about the dairy industry feeding practices, particularly adding soy to there feed.


    3. I meant to say "their feed" not "there feed".


  7. 'Early "Paleo" diets dissuaded people from eating or drinking dairy...was this good advice?' - I think no!

    I have a feeling that (lactose) may not be the offending substance in many people that are *cow milk* intolerant. Reason being, goat milk, sheep milk, and even more so (reportedly) camel milk, are tolerated by many people who have trouble with standard pasturized/homogenized cow milk.

    1. Brad - we are looking at milk more in terms of population-wide problems as opposed to individual response to dairy. I think you'll get it as the series progresses. I think we are getting close to having Part 3 ready, maybe Friday.

      The rabbit hole keeps getting deeper and deeper! So many nuances at play. The genetic ability to digest milk has been noted as a "strong selective sweep" and in these cases, I was just reading, "hitchhiker genes" can also be promoted. But I won't pretend to have all the answers, lol.

      I think this series is heading more towards 'should we drink milk?' over 'should you drink milk?' if that makes sense.

    2. Tim, I think key questions that go along with any "Should we consume ___" question are "versus what" and what form of "____." Regarding the latter, you've hit on some of the factors with milk/dairy--older and better forms were not pasteurized (they were typically either raw or boiled), came from older and different breeds of animals (from best to worst, it seems to go camel, sheep, goat, mostly-A2-milk cows like jerseys and guernseys, mostly-A1-milk cows like holsteins), sometimes had some of the animal's blood added, and were often fermented (though some was typically drank fresh the day of milking, either raw or boiled) and/or turned into other dairy products like kefir, buttermilk, yogurt, butter, curds, whey water, cheese, yogurt, clabber (clotted cream), kumis/airag, ....

    3. @Paleo Phil

      Donkey! You forgot donkey milk! According to wiki:

      "Donkey milk is considered to be the closest to woman’s milk.[1][3] It is very nourishing because it contains more lactose and less fat than cow’s milk. It was used until the beginning of the twentieth century as a substitute to breast milk.[6]

      Ass milk was also formerly used in medicine. Its healing virtues have been known since Antiquity, when doctors would recommend it to cure diverse affections.

      Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC), the father of medicine, prescribed ass milk for numerous purposes, such as liver troubles, infectious diseases, fevers,[13][14] oedema, nose bleeds, poisonings, and wounds."

    4. Very nourishing because it has less fat. huh? Think they've been drinking dumb-ass milk. Not disputing that it could be healthy, just not for that reason.

  8. Love this subject Tim. Glad you're diggin' into it. It's very timely subject for me. Quality eggs and milk, are two of my favorite food-geek subjects of late and I've been trying to sponge up all the info I can find on them - particularly about consuming them raw. I look forward to reading the next parts in this series. Cheers, -Brad-

  9. @Dr. Art,

    Whey is a traditional source of starter culture in fermented vegetables per WAPF sources. Not good?

    Also, honey is a "chemically toxic mix of sugars at high concentration?" This likewise seems contrary to traditional sensibilities. Tim just got a hive. Oh, no!


    1. "Tim just got a hive."

      No, I just got hives thinking about a world without milk and honey, lol.

  10. I've always loved milk (and yogurt & cheese) and never had any problems with it. I'm a 51 yr old male of white Anglo-Saxon ancestry, so no surprise in that regard.

    Last Sept I started getting raw milk from a local farmer and, wow, what wonderful stuff. Mmmm, mmmm good. I make kefir and yogurt, and I've dabbled in some simple cheese making. I follow the PHD diet for the most part, though I drink milk and probably have more dairy overall than they advise.

    No doubt many people have problems of various sorts with milk (lactose, casein), but I also find it amusing, and annoying, that so many people get so personal about these things (not you guys). If it works for you, eat it (barring other definite evidence of long term harms). If not, then don't. It's really simple. Like carbs, gluten, etc. of course.

    1. If I thought for a minute that drinking milk was extremely harmful to every person, the series would have been called "DON'T DRINK MILK". Instead, I think it goes much deeper than that.

      I think the problem is our world-wide belief that milk is a health drink, something needed in large quantity by every child and adults can enjoy as well.

      Part 3 is coming along nicely and I think you all will enjoy, but as this article shows, many people are/have made the connection of milk to autoimmune disease, but no one is looking at lactose. High amounts of lactose is a new thing in our lives. The dairy herders who caused our genes to change to not get much lactose, they ate/drank fermented milk mostly.

      Here's an article, if you read you will see no mention of lactose, everyone jumps to the proteins or possible pathogens contained in milk. I think parts 3 and 4 will enlighten lots of people and then we can make decisions on if we should drink or not.

      From: Time to sacrifice the sacred cow:

      "There is now impressive evidence showing that cow’s milk is likely to be an important cause of type 1 diabetes. The American Academy of Pediatrics has “strongly encouraged” families where diabetes is more common not to feed infants cow’s milk supplements for their first two years of life.

      Despite this, you are unlikely to read in any newspaper the headline ‘Cow’s Milk: the Likely Cause of Lethal Type 1 Diabetes’ because the reaction would be so strong and the economic impact monumental..."

    2. Shouldn't we be adding autism to the list of autoimmune diseases as well?

      Jo tB

    3. So is fermented dairy, such as kefir, as lethal as milk to autoimmune diseases? Every time I turn around in feel like I am having to head in a different direction.

    4. @navillus

      I think fermented dairy is all right, as opposed to large amount of pasteurized fluid milk in our modern times, available thanks to modern technologies, regarding the autoimmune issues and appearance of modern diseases that we try to point to in this series.
      Of course, we could further refine the story dissecting the bovine vs. sheep or camel milk, etc. that might play a role in some people. But not in the main way we think that fluid milk acts.

    5. @navillus, I hear you about having to head in a different direction all the time. The way I make sense of it, is that any "modern staple" not available 100 or so years ago certainly needs extra scrutiny. Vegetable oils and pasteurized, homogenized milk are certainly two such items. Likewise, any modern staple that is available in much greater abundance than it was a century ago needs scrutiny as well, e.g. sugar.

    6. I bought some pasteurized (not homogenized) goats milk (wicked expensive) to try making my kefir. So far, albeit, it has only been 3 days but I have not seen a difference. I only use whole milk for my kefir and use coconut milk (no added preservatives) for my oats or groats. I used to use coconut milk for my kefir. The grains multiplied but they always stayed the beige color and they were tiny. I did this for a few years and then late last year decided to start with milk. What a difference in the grains.
      Thanks for your response Gemma & Kate.

    7. @navillus, goat milk reportedly does not need to be homogenized as it already is naturally due to the much smaller fat globule size that do not separate in solution like that of cow's milk.

    8. @Brad
      You may be correct but there were two other brands of goat milk at the store that read pasteurized and homogenized. And the one I bought had printed on the label "non-homogenized".

  11. I developed sudden dairy intolerance after a bout of food poisonng. Tests revealed lymphocytic colitis. Avoiding all dairy to the level of 'may contain traces' was necessary to avoid non stop D. It was only a couple of years after also giving up gluten that tests showed the lymphocytes were now low enough that the diagnosis did not apply. Coincidentally, I can now eat dairy without problems.

    My hypothesis is that the gluten induces the excess lymphocyte production, which manifests as D in response to dairy. Reducing gluten reduces lymphocytes, means dairy can be consumed. I wonder if many of those who think they are lactose intolerant really have an undiagnosed microscopic colitis. That colitis would be caused by some other dietary factor/s, such as gluten, grains etc. I doubt any of the studies you read have tested subjects for this as it requires biopsy during colonoscopy.


    1. Lyn - That's a great observation! I've always had a problem with people blaming gut bacteria for these immense, instant problems. It just never seemed possible. You've given a great alternate explanation. The gut is very responsive to certain toxins/poisons and wants them OUT RIGHT NOW! Possibly this is somewhat facilitated by gut bacteria, but calls for more mechanical means of getting rid of the toxins.

      The colon can control water very well, flooding itself to cause diarrhea to expel toxins. I always wonder if there are lots of other problems, ie. constipation/irregularity caused by malfunctions in the colon along the same lines.


  12. A big problem I think, is that (as always) we tend to lump things together and generalize,in order to simplify a subject for discussion/analysis. While it's a true statement via the food production/distribution of today that "dairy" is equal to pasteurized *cows* milk, I think it would be better to use terminology that retains the distinction. The degradation of milk quality over the decades, is exactly equal to other types of foods that were selectively bred and/or human processed in order to maximize yield shelf life and profits with little or no attention to nutrient quality or effect on human health.

    1. I don't think I made my thoughts complete/clear here.
      It seems to me that goat and/or sheep milk consumption by humans pre-dates cow milk consumption by roughly 1000-3000 years based on animal husbandry history. These raw milks were and still are better tolerated than cow milk, and were the initial introduction and possible trigger of human lactase persistence in adults. I think these milks also have higher lactase content naturally, if perhaps created by the living bacteria content.

    2. So as with other foods, humans took the food supply quality down hill... from raw goat milk, to pasteurized, homogenized, and at times defatted cow's milk, all in the name of yield/profit and perhaps fear of bacteria, but the latter seems to have been over-blown and maybe it was done purposely by the industry for profit reasons and control of the market. People could heat/boil their milk but could not "pasteurize" their own milk. Also, is it more difficult for someone to raise their own cow than their own goats? I think so. Need more land, no?

    3. @Brad

      "that goat and/or sheep milk ... were the initial introduction and possible trigger of human lactase persistence in adults."

      No, base on my reading it was consumption of the milk from cows that correlates with LP, see for instance:

      Gene-culture coevolution between cattle milk protein genes and human lactase genes. (2003)

      "Milk from domestic cows has been a valuable food source for over 8,000 years, especially in lactose-tolerant human societies that exploit dairy breeds. We studied geographic patterns of variation in genes encoding the six most important milk proteins in 70 native European cattle breeds. We found substantial geographic coincidence between high diversity in cattle milk genes, locations of the European Neolithic cattle farming sites (>5,000 years ago) and present-day lactose tolerance in Europeans. This suggests a gene-culture coevolution between cattle and humans."

    4. and so... in using the generic term "dairy" and talking about the (evils of lactose) we are potentially obscuring the finer grain details/facts, potentially, that different types of milks have different effects on digestion, allergic/immune responses, and health even if they all contain some lactose. Eg., why are goat and camel milk better tolerated and reportedly healthier than cow milk (or at least standard pasteurized non-grass-fed)?
      *IF* it's really true (is it?) that these milks, particularly in their raw bacteria heavy state, are healthier then the word needs to get out in as much the same way that "whole grains" and "organic veggies" has to the public at large.

    5. @Gemma, I think it's quite possible that the domesticated goats that reportedly preceded cattle by at least 1000 years were used only for meat and not milk. It's possible, but do we know? What I read was that the domesticated cattle that we have today all came from one small original source - one small herd. Whereas goats and sheep domestication happened in many places sorta in parallel. Did they all eat only the meat and not drink the milk? There is also the possibility that these milks are easier to digest (are naturally higher in lactase?) and so did not trigger the LP as the cow milk later did.

    6. Sorry, it was (sheep) not goats that preceeded cows by 1-3K years. Goats came about at roughly the same time as Cows, though again, spread out from multiple sources not from a single source like cows...

    7. @Brad

      I think the point is that a cow is much bigger and gives much MORE milk than sheep or goats.

    8. @Gemma, yeah of course. Cow's were used to solve the bigger problem that they had at that time - having enough food/calories, particularly with much less ability to preserve the food than we have today. And while this same problem still exists in some locations, we now have this equal (or larger?) problem of too much food quantity and too little quality. The abundance of low quality calories - sugar, seed oils, as well as low quality milk.

    9. I wonder if there will ever be an awakening in the public wrt alternate milk types... eg. that ewe (sheep) milk is much healthier than cow milk, similar to how some people regard "grass fed" beef versus conventional. Sheep milk is higher in protein, fat, and other vitamins and minerals than cow milk. I would imagine raw, it is even better. Camel milk has also been hyped as better, but dunno how true the claims are.

    10. A friend sent me this paper last night and asked why, if lactose is an issue, does camel milk 'help' T1D? The paper (sorry no link): "EFFECT OF CAMEL MILK ON GLYCEMIC CONTROL, RISKFACTORS AND DIABETES QUALITY OF LIFE IN TYPE-1 DIABETES: ARANDOMISED PROSPECTIVE CONTROLLED STUDY"

      My reply was:

      We think that lactose is causing problems in a certain percentage of those that drink it. But the camel milk is being used to help the people control T1D with less insulin because a protein in the milk is similar to insulin. Pretty cool.

      I think what is going on with lactose is that it is giving developing immune systems faulty signals that cause the AI to develop. But since only like 2-3% of the population is afflicted with AI, lactose is obviously not poison to everyone. It's a tough call, eh? Does milk help 97-98% of the population enough that the 2-3% casualties are worth it?

  13. Milk P% L% F% P/protein L/lactose (+oligos) F/fat
    Human 1.3 7.0 3.2
    Goat 3.3 4.4 3.9
    Camel 3.0 4.4 3.6
    Cow 3.4 4.8 3.8
    Sheep 6.4 5.0 6.9

  14. Interesting. I guess that says something about what each species needs for development or perhaps what humans have selectively bred into the others. The protein and lactose/oligos for humans really stands out. Do you think the make-up/complexity of the oligos matter?


  15. Yes, interesting. What stands out to is the high protein and fat of the sheep milk and of course the high lactose in human milk. It makes you wonder if lactose really has some special growth promoting effects. Could it be due to lactose causing an increased insulin response?
    It's also interesting to think about the difference in the fat globules in the milks... where goat and sheep milk being naturally homogenized would have been able to make cheese but not butter due to the fat not separating out. Could that be one of the reasons that cow milk took off - the making of butter?

  16. Brad wrote May 7, 2015 at 6:33 AM:
    "I wonder if there will ever be an awakening in the public wrt alternate milk types... eg. that ewe (sheep) milk is much healthier than cow milk, similar to how some people regard "grass fed" beef versus conventional. Sheep milk is higher in protein, fat, and other vitamins and minerals than cow milk. I would imagine raw, it is even better. Camel milk has also been hyped as better, but dunno how true the claims are."

    Yup, sheep milk tends to be higher quality than either goat or cow (assuming the animals are fed equally well) and camel milk is touted as even better. Sadly, sheep produce much less milk and it's thus costly enough that it tends to be sold only in the form of cheese, if at all, in most areas in the USA.

    1. And my own experience matches the general claims about which of sheep, goat and cow dairy products are better--which I determined by personally testing them before later learning about the claims. My experience also fit the A1 vs A2 milk claims, which I had been skeptical about.

  17. Don't forget buffalo milk, also very high in fat, and is produced in decent amount, prob for cheese making.

  18. Nutrient Cow Buffalo Human

    Water, g 88.0 84.0 87.5

    Energy, kcal 61.0 97.0 70.0

    Protein, g 3.2 3.7 1.0

    Fat, g 3.4 6.9 4.4

    Lactose, g 4.7 5.2 6.9

    Minerals, g 0.72 0.79 0.20

  19. Last night on the BBC I watched "Inside the factory: How our favourite foods are made." It was in a milk factory, a HUUUUGE complex processing millions of liters of milk a day.

    They first homogenise the milk. Why? Because the customers don't walk cream coming to the top of the bottle!! Since when were we asked? I never used to have trouble with cream at the top of the milk, in fact it is what we fought about to get hold of.

    We were never told that homogenising destroys the milk, it was silently implemented.

    Jo tB

  20. @Tim, I was just remembering your post on (oats) and how you seem to make the point that the healthfulness of oats are not the same as wheat. Ie, that all grains are not equal as a nourishing food source. Kinda stating the obvious now in this thread, but that is exactly the question.... are all sources (animals) of milk similar enough to be treated as one and the same "dairy" food? I'm betting the answer is a solid no especially when industrial processing (P & H) is added to the equation.
    In some foody circles people go out of their way to obtain various different grains, some of ancient variety. Things like Quinoa, spelt, barley, kamut, chia, sorghum, teff, millet, buckweat, etc. Is there much of an advantage to eating these things, even if just getting more variety in ones diet? If so, should we not seek the same, if possible, for other types of foods like milk? Yes, these other dairy sources are expensive (now) but that may just be a result of supply/demand market forces - and could potentially change if consumer driven.

  21. @anonymous, in the past food was all about cleanliness and "purity", I think, driving things like pure white (table) sugar, filtered beer, wine, fruit juice, honey... you name it. The perception from the uneducated public was that a homogenous product of uniform color, texture, etc., signified a higher quality product. This was (is?) probably tied to the dreaded fear of dirt/bacteria/spoilage/etc. The informed go for the opposite of course... less processing and less uniformity... brown sugars, raw honey, beer with sediments in the bottle, etc. Home made fermented foods.

  22. Just a side note for any fans of strength training here, like me. I found it very interesting to learn about "old school" (ie, prior to steroids) nutrition practices by some of the lifters and bodybuilders in the 40's,50's, and 60's. In particular one of the most famous trainers of BB'ers and Hollywood stars - a man named Vince Gironda, the "Iron Guru". Vince was ahead of his time in recommending an all natural and low-carb diet including some raw foods like milk and eggs. In particular he had raw goats milk delivered regularly to his gym in Los Angeles. His opinion was that raw milk and fertile (free range) eggs were the two healthful foods and the best protein sources.

    1. The thought was in those days, by Vince and others that milk and eggs were particularly anabolic (growth promoting) foods. Could it be that the lactose is playing a part here? ... via increasing insulin spike?
      One of the first muscle building products sold to lifters was a milk and egg instant protein powder made by Rheo Blair.

  23. With just a quick search you can find various ways that different milk sources vary in composition and effect. Hard to think that this does and did not effect human health and history. And how does the heat of pasteurization effect it?

    Isolation of lactoferrin from milk of different species: calorimetric and antimicrobial studies.

    "The minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) were also measured and it was found that camel lactoferrin was the most active lactoferrin against E. coli 0157:H7, whereas alpaca and human lactoferrins were the least active."

    1. @Brad

      You ask perfect questions, thank you.

      We are investigating the reason why some human diseases are more "modern" than others, and why it is that only humans suffer from them. MS does not naturally appear in animals. Neither does T1D. Both are induced in lab animals only, and serve as rather imperfect models.

      "The French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–1893) was the first person to recognize multiple sclerosis as a distinct disease in 1868."

      Charcot was a contemporary of Luis Pasteur.

  24. @Gemma, I didn't forget donkey milk, or horse or yak for that matter, but I figured I should end the list before it got out of hand. :)

    Funny that donkey dairy is promoted for high lactose, whereas sheep and goat is promoted for the opposite. As Art said, it may be about more than lactose.

    1. @Paleo Phil

      lol, you wanted to include alpaca so much, didn't you?

      "it may be about more than lactose"

      I think so too.

  25. I was looking for articles on Benefits of Milk and I came across yours inspiring read. Great post!

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