Milk is a Must for All Age Groups

My son aged 14 hates to drink milk and once our family doctor told him that since he was 14 there was no need to drink milk. Is this right or wrong? Can you explain all about milk consumption and especially whether it is OK to drink it at bedtime?

I would say that milk is an essential food item for every human being from birth to death. It is required at every stage of life and any person’s diet without at least 2 cups of milk/curd per day would be imbalanced and incomplete.

Milk is an ideal food for infants, children and adults as it contains a proper proportion of all the 6 essential nutrients - water, minerals – calcium, vitamins – A, B, D and E, carbohydrate, protein and fat.

One of the most significant advantages of milk is that it is the richest source of calcium in the human diet. We require 400 – 500mgs of calcium per/day. 200ml of milk gives us 240 mg of calcium so 2 glasses of milk would meet that daily need.

The only other food that can supply so much calcium is green leafy vegetables. These are never consumed by all people, on a daily basis. Milk can be consumed as in tea/coffee, curd/buttermilk or milk/milkshake, daily by people of all age groups.

Besides calcium, milk is also a provider of protein in a major way in the human diet. Each glass(200ml) gives 6gm of protein. We need about 50-70gm of protein daily and in the Indian diet without 2-3 glasses milk it is very difficult to meet the protein need.

Therefore just swallowing a calcium tablet or just taking greens daily will not solve the problem. Milk is a must. If you don’t like milk then curds or buttermilk can be consumed. Curd is of the same nutritive value of milk. Also please note powdered milk is just milk which has been dried and only the water has been removed. It does not lose it nutritive value.

There is however a factor we have to be conscious about with milk and that is its fat content. One glass of milk, (200ml) contains 6-8gms of fat, when we boil and remove the cream or malaai, it will still contain 3-4gm/glass. Commercially skimmed milk or skimmed milk powder is almost fat free.

Children and normal weight adults may consume the milk, which has been boiled, and malaai removed at home but if you are trying to lose weight or if you suffer from high cholesterol or high sugar levels then you have to consume only commercially skimmed milk.

The cream of milk, butter, ghee, cheese and panner are high in cholesterol so must be avoided by those with a heart problem or high lipid levels.
All other mammals like horses, sheep, calves do not continue to drink milk in their adult hood so why do we have to drink it, is a popular argument.

They are constantly feeding on grass and greens which are rich in calcium where as we are not, so we need the milk. Our bones and teeth are made up principally of calcium salts and hence it is essential for building strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also essential for proper contraction of heart muscles, limb movements and blood clotting. Therefore we cannot make any compromise with this. Please drink your milk. You may drink a glass of milk at bed time provided your dinner is light and also please make sure that it is thoroughly skimmed of the cream/malaai.

Teenage children require 2 to 3glasses/day and athletes 3 to 4glasses/day. Pregnant and lactating mothers 3 to 4glasses/day. All others need 2 to 3 glasses/day.

More >>