It’s National Milk Day (26th November) in memory of the birth anniversary of ‘Milkman of India’ – Dr. Kurien Verghese. And so it seemed just the right time to talk about the importance of milk in today’s world, which in a way is losing its prime nutrient element day by day. Really?
Our parents made us drink milk every day, thanks to decades of public health messages like, “Piyo doodh for healthy reason, rahoge phir fit aur fine, jiyoge past ninety-nine. Piyo glass full doodh…” That was one of Amul’s Operation Flood media campaign that echoed our television sets and radio during the 90’s, encouraging us to embrace cow milk as part of our daily life and true to the ritual, we’ve continued it as an adult. But recently I found out that adults don’t necessarily need cow milk, and that it may even be doing no good to us as some studies have linked high milk consumption to premature ageing, bone fractures and cancer.
So what does this mean, that our childhood was all a big white lie? But before we dive into the truth behind the sudden change of milk’s status, can we pause for a minute or two to wonder how or rather what might have led humans to decide that we should be drinking cow’s milk? According to history, raw milk was widely used in medieval cooking, while scientists believe the first evidence of milking cattle for human consumption may have been found among the Neolithic (or New Stone Age) farmers in Britain and Northern Europe.
But it wasn’t until the 17th century that cows’ milk started to earn the reputation of a health drink. But contrary to popular belief, the importance of milk as a go-to dietary source of vitamin D and calcium is not as it is believed to be. It’s almost under scrutiny today. So we decided to ask around to analyse the importance of milk and the health concerns it raises. This is what nutrition experts – Dr. Lovneet Batra, Clinical Nutritionist Fortis La Famme and Madhuri Ruia, Nutrition expert, Director of Integym, had to say.