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10 Literature Review example: Not Milk?, Anne Wilcken Milk has long been hailed as a healthy, comforting, and even essential drink by the American people. However, recent research suggests that regular consumption of cow’s milk might actually be dangerous to human health. Those who oppose milk drinking claim that milk is composed of a cocktail of antibiotics, growth hormone, cholesterol, and bacteria. Most people are unaware of these claimed dangers of milk. Despite belief and evidence that milk is good for our bodies, research and the current health problems of America suggest that milk is actually unhealthy and does not provide the health benefits claimed. Based on our planet’s many species and what we know about nature, it is unnatural for humans to drink cow’s milk, according to Dr. Robert Kradjian. Dr. Kradjian explains in his “Milk Letter,” that we are the only species on Earth that drinks milk from another species, and that milk drinking after infancy is unnatural as well. He even goes on to compare the human’s selection of a cow to get milk from to selecting a rat or dog for their milk (Kradjian 2009). 68    Genres In her book Nature’s Perfect Food: How Milk Became America’s Drink, E. Melanie Dupuis, PhD makes a similar claim, “Milk drinking was an extremely minor aspect of the human diet until modern times” (2002, 4). So how did milk become America’s drink and why is it so widely accepted as healthy and essential for our bodies? Dupuis explains that milk drinking began as a breast-milk substitute for infants in the mid-nineteenth century. By the 1880s milk drinking expanded to children and adults (5–6). Dupuis suggests that the reason Americans drink milk is that “milk is more than a food, it is an embodiment of the politics of American identity over the last 150 years . . . a product of a particular social and political history” (8). Robert Cohen explains an additional reason for the prevalence of milk drinking in American society: milk is heavily influenced and regulated by the government because it is a large industry. Recent concerns about food safety with milk have been dismissed by the FDA. For example, Cohen cites the instance where the use of rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone used to increase milk production in cows) has been endorsed by the FDA as not posing health risks to humans, despite concerns expressed by consumers and other groups (1998, 166). Both Cohen and Kradjian agree that rBGH is indeed a dangerous part of milk and that it, along with other milk ingredients, is contributing to a vast array of common health problems in the United States. One of these major health issues is heart disease, which is America’s number one killer (cholesterol in milk and dairy products contributes to heart disease). Other diseases associated with milk consumption include breast cancer, leukemia and diabetes (Cohen 5, 70, 166, 246–247; Kradjian). Cohen and Kradjian also agree that most of the world’s population is intolerant to milk, and that milk drinking is primarily done by Caucasians who seem to have kept at bay the genetic milk allergy. Even so, many Caucasians develop a milk allergy with age. Cohen and Kradjian use this wide-spread allergy of milk to conclude even further that milk is unnatural for our bodies (Cohen 259–261; Kradjian). The common belief that milk is the best source of calcium and is essential to developing and maintaining bone density is challenged by Cohen. He makes the fundamental point that with large amounts of protein intake, calcium absorption is inhibited and is actually excreted in urine; milk contains significant amounts of protein and, therefore, is not the best source of calcium (266). Likewise a study on the effects of increased milk intake along with exercise on bone density concluded that “extensive milk intake reduces the bone density of women” (Yoshii 2007). Interestingly, this study also found that while milk intake did not increase bone density, exercise did (Yoshii). Scientists researching increased milk intake along with calcium-rich foods and the incidence of osteoporosis-related fractures concluded, “The study found no evidence that higher intakes of milk or calcium from food sources reduce fracture incidence” Literature Review     69 (Freskanich 1997). The Harvard School of Public Health agrees that greater milk intake does not mean stronger bones. However, supplemental vitamin D does decrease fracture risk (Harvard School of Public Health 2009). The traditional American conception of milk...


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