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There is quite often a massive overreaction to information about exercise and nutrition. We read an article about the benefits of barefoot running and then some knucklehead runs a marathon barefoot on asphalt and wonders why his feet end up like ground beef. There is pesticide on our vegetables? OMG! I don’t want to grow a third eyeball so I’m going to quit my job and start an organic garden for my family.

We all have friends or neighbors who will grab our ears about some crazy theory about food or exercise, which is usually based on a snip it from a magazine article or anecdotal evidence from one of their coworkers, etc.

One food that too often gets vilified is milk. Personally, I don’t like milk. I never have. But it has nothing to do with the “dangers” of consuming it. It’s just personal preference.

Let’s take a brief, commonsense look at why you should or should not drink milk.

Much of the science behind my reasoning is well documented by people much smarter than myself.

Reasons for drinking milk:

1. It’s a good source of high-quality protein- the typical Amercian diet contains more then enough protein, but for certain populations (vegetarians,etc) it is a great protein source. Want a perfect post workout meal? Read “Chocolate Milk: It’s not just for kids”

2. Milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D- vitamin D is the “hot topic” supplement. Most of us do not get the recommended amount of vitamin D or calcium. Milk is fortified with vitamin D and is a very available source of calcium. Yes, you can get calcium from other foods such as broccoli and leafy green vegetables, but let’s face it, we don’t eat nearly enough of those foods to get what we need.

3. It’s inexpensive- the amount of protein, vitamin D and calcium you get for the cost is unmatched. This is a very inexpensive source of protein for those on a limited income. Hello college kids

Reasons for not drinking it:

1. Ethics- If you feel strongly about the ethical treatment of animals, you may choose to boycott dairy products all together. To each his own and, if you feel strongly about this subject, I can think of no better way to show it than to withhold your almighty dollar.

2. Lactose Intolerance- there are those who simply do not tolerate milk well. Depending on which study you are reading, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of folks lack the digestive enzyme lactase.

Wait! That’s it? What about allergies, cancer, homogenization, pasteurization, babies, hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and etc? At some point it becomes a beer and peanuts (back and forth) debate. I encourage you to look into the solid body of research available and avoid the alarmist approach before making your decision.

Again, I don’t care for milk personally, but my kids love it and drink it liberally.

She has such heavy bones!