Diet & Nutrition

Too much milk can make you lethargic and fat

Lauren Slayton pours goats milk into cheese molds at a farm in Salisbury. File photo  

Milk is good for you - in moderation. But too much of it can make you lethargic and fat, according to Hans-Helmut Martin, a nutritionist who works for the Association for Independent Health Consulting in Germany.

Mr. Martin said that the recommended daily intake of milk and dairy products is 300 to 500 grams. People who do not like plain milk can consume yogurt, cheese, curdled milk or buttermilk instead, preferably with little sugar or artificial colouring, he said.

“Overdosing,” however, leads to weight gain. The many saturated fatty acids in dairy products slow down metabolism, another result of which is lethargy.

Too little milk is unhealthy, too. People who drink insufficient amounts of it or none at all could develop health problems at some point. A potential consequence, Mr. Martin said, is calcium insufficiency, which can lead to osteoporosis, the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density.

“And it’s bad if the stage has been set for that in childhood,” Mr.Martin said.

Milk haters also risk developing a deficiency of vitamin B2, typical symptoms of which are scaling skin and cracks at the corners of the month. A deficiency of another important vitamin in milk, B12, leads to anaemia, fatigue and difficulty in concentrating.

“You can get by without milk for a couple of months, but then you should replenish the stores,” remarked Mr. Martin, who noted, however, that milk was not an essential food. “You’ve just got to know the alternatives well,” he said. “You can do without it if you don’t completely refrain from other animal products.” More than 15 per cent of Germans cannot tolerate milk or dairy products. A distinction must be made between a milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance, Mr. Martin pointed out. Symptoms of the latter, caused by a deficiency of the enzyme that digests lactose, include abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.

Milk protein allergy symptoms are much stronger. People with the allergy not only have gastrointestinal problems after consuming milk and dairy products, but can also get hives and have trouble breathing. In extremely serious cases they can develop life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 7:02:30 PM |

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