Is it good to consume milk? Benefits and risks

We have always been told that consuming milk is essential to grow and keep in shape the bones and teeth, as well as all structures with calcium. However, the consumption of milk and its derivatives is related to serious health problems.

However, not everything is bad news, since consuming milk also provides a series of benefits that we will see throughout the article.

The milk is part of human nutrition in the vast majority of civilizations and for thousands of years. In fact, its consumption by humans began about 11,000 years ago, with the domestication of livestock.

For human consumption, cow, sheep, goat and buffalo milk are mainly used. There are also people who prefer to consume milk from the donkey and camel.

In these milks, animals for human consumption home or industrial thermal treatments are usually carried out. These processes also cause small variations in the composition of the milk.

What are the benefits of consuming milk?

The milk is one of the main sources of calcium in nature and the only one in the baby. Calcium is essential, among other functions, for the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth.

But also, this food gives us other very valuable elements and, because of this, milk is one of the most complete foods there is.

The milk it is raw material for the elaboration of numerous dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt, cream or curd. As the milk most consumed worldwide is that of the cow, it will be in this one that we will focus to study its composition:

  • Water: it is the majority component. It represents 80-87%.
  • Carbohydrates: Lactose constitutes practically all the milk sugar and this component will be one of the main causes of the risk of consuming milk.
  • Proteins: They are considered of high biological value and have a large amount of essential amino acids. They constitute 3-4% of the milk.
  • Fat: they constitute 3 and 6% of the milk, although this percentage varies a lot from the feeding of the cow and the breed. 90% of fats are in the form of triglycerides.
  • Vitamins: Among them, vitamin A and D stand out, as well as riboflavin (B2), cyanocobalamin and thiamine.
  • Minerals: The mineral content in milk is very rich. These minerals are usually found in the form of salts. It contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iodine, sodium, chlorine, magnesium and zinc.

Risks of consuming milk

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, consume milk also carries a number of risks which is important to keep in mind. Among them we can mention:

Read also: Alternatives to whey and its benefits

1. Lactose intolerance

1 in 2 people is lactose intolerant, which as we know is the main sugar in milk. However, most people do not know that they are intolerant to this substance and continue to consume this food.

It has been estimated that 70% of the world population is lactose intolerant. Thus, intolerance is not then a disease, but a normal state.

This happens because between two and four years of age, our body begins to stop synthesizing the enzyme lactase, which is responsible for digesting lactose.

By continuing to consume milk, the lactose that is not digested remains in the intestine, where it is fermented by colon bacteria, which causes gas, pain and, sometimes, diarrhea.

2. Calcium malabsorption

When consuming animal proteins, the pH of the blood becomes acidic and the organism, as a reaction, takes part of the calcium we have in the bones to neutralize that acidity. It has been shown that the consumption of dairy or food with calcium is not a protective factor against the risk of fractures.

Milk does have essential nutrients, but to obtain them we do not need to drink milk. In fact, vegetables are the best foods to ingest calcium, for example.

Discover: Foods with calcium and vitamin D to take care of your bone health

3. Increase the risk of allergies and asthma

Cow's milk has three times more proteins than human milk and some of them are very difficult to digest by the body.

In some people, these thick proteins (such as casein) adhere to the lymphatic vessels of the intestine, preventing the absorption of nutrients. Thus, can cause immunological problems, allergies and asthma.


It is important to know if we are lactose intolerant or not to avoid complications when consuming milk. Take this food without excess and without having any intolerance to its composition is beneficial for the body. However, you should not abuse it.