Plant-based milk vs. cow’s milk is a hot topic right now.
This is especially true after the publication of an adorable little “study” that the milk industry recently funded. According to the studies claims, children who drink plant-based milk may be at risk of being slightly (less than 1 inch) below average height.
First, can we address how insulting this whole study is to short people? Can someone please alert Daniel Radcliffe that his life must be miserable because he’s 5″5? And Bruno Mars is a Grammy award winning artist despite being 5″6. Clearly Lady Gaga doesn’t let being 5″1 disrupt her life at all.
So shove that it, milk industry, no one cares if you think being short is a negative thing.
But I digress.
Now the study itself.
The diary industry is relying on the fact that very few people actually read beyond a headline. Therefore they are able to sensationalize a headline and subsequently rely on the uneducated to then promote “facts” based off of their headlines.
Why is the study problematic you ask? For starters, the sample size of children used.
Of the 5,034 children (between the ages of 24 and 72 months) only 13% consumed plant-based milk. So roughly 650 children are being compared to over 4000 children. Call me crazy, but your results might be a little skewed. Given what else goes into determining height in a child (like genetics for starters?!?!) using a sample size of 650 children to claim that plant-based milks makes kids shorter is quite the stretch of the imagination. Also, these children were only tracked until 3 years of age. Ummmm…last time I checked humans aren’t finished growing until their late teens. You can guess a child’s adult height when they are 3 but that’s all it is, a guess. Science based off of guesses isn’t science. And certainly should not be touted as fact.
Other key factors to note, the study was not randomized and nothing else the children ate or drank was tracked. And that’s just the tip of this disaster labelled “research”.
It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that the study is simply bad science and dairy industry scaremongering.
What does real science say?
Real science, led by independent researchers (thank you Harvard School of Public Health!), is painting a very different picture of what the health benefits of cow’s milk (if any) really are. I’m not going to go hugely into the overwhelming scientific evidence that, at the very least, highlights that society has been mislead about the nutritional values of cow’s milk. At its scariest, increasing evidence is linking cow’s milk specifically to women’s cancers, prostate cancer, iron absorption problems and dehydration in infants, and study after study has shown that cow’s milked is actually linked to osteoporosis. In fact, the Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine strongly advises against using animal products for protein and calcium.
So why drink plant-based milk?
I’ve talked about the benefits and types of plant-based milk in the past. But given the incredible amount of misinformation out there, I still get regular questions from readers about milk alternatives.
Now, I’ll be clear because lots of people in various stages of their plant-based journey read this blog. If you consume milk and dairy products, that’s your choice! No judgement, and I will not pretend to be 100% perfect in this area. But it is a choice.
- cholesterol and hormone free
- much lower calories
- lower in sugar than cow-dairy
- fortified with more vitamins and minerals than cow-dairy
- fortified with protein and calcium (which more easily absorbed due to its plant-based nature)
- varied in flavour and consistencies
- higher in fibre
- less processing than cow-dairy
- eco-friendly and sustainable!
- slightly more expensive than cow dairy
Plant-based milk is part of a healthy diet.
Ethics aside, plant-based dairy is simply part of a better, healthier lifestyle. If there was one thing that significantly impacted my weight loss of 80 lbs in the past two years, it was the removal of diary. Not only that, I learned that cow dairy was the leading cause of my IBS. IBS is something I don’t really deal with anymore which is crazy given how it used to rule my world.
Now, whenever someone asks about the first step toward a healthier lifestyle, I always say ditch the dairy first. You’ll notice a significant change in your overall health in only a few short days.
What’s holding you back from moving to a plant-based dairy alternative?