Last month Mr. Richard Overton, America’s oldest WWII Veteran, the most aged man in the U.S. and fellow Texan died at 112 years old. In a short documentary entitled Mr. Overton, he revealed the Overton Diet as having 4 cups of coffee in the morning, “loves milk”, corn, fish, and soup. Mr. Overton added he has been a “milk” drinker all his life and ice cream makes him happy.
Is there really a flaw in our milk? The USDA reports fluid milk consumption has dropped by 9.7 percent over the past 5 years. I feel one of the reasons for this decline is due to the ongoing medical/nutritional debates surrounding milk. I am sure many of you like myself saw the documentary: “What the Health” presenting the claim of the presence of “Pus” in milk. As a nutritionist, it set off several alarms because the accusation was taken way out of context, as I will explain. Because I have observed my 90-year-old mother drink at least 2 cups of milk daily, followed by Mr. Overton’s comments, as well as many clients and friends who drink milk regularly with no adverse side effects or health issues related to milk, I must ask where is the flaw?
The accusation of the presence of pus in the milk supply is still hunting me. Let’s take a look at the scientific/nature facts of milk and you decide if its valid or not.
Every female mammal produces milk during pregnancy, including cows, goats, sheep, horses, and humans. This milk is naturally developed to provide essential nutrients for the growth and development of their babies/newborn at birth. Let’s use human milk to illustrate. Human milk or Mammal’s milk is composed of various nutrients including white blood cells (WBC) for the sole purpose to “protect” the infant from illness and disease. These same cells also serve as our bodies defense mechanism as explained in previous blogs. The first flow of breast milk known as colostrum contains 1 to 5 million WBC per milliliter of milk and serves as a miracle liquid. White Blood Cells is an essential component of every mammal’s milk which is part of the natural design to protect and nourish their infants rather it is a calf, human, sheep or goat. However, due the presence of the WBC found in “fresh raw unpasteurized” cow’s milk proponents are falsely calling these cells “Pus”. It is amazing how one can turn a simple positive element of nature into that which is alarming and detrimental. White Blood Cells is a normal part of blood, it is NOT PUS.
The dairy industry closely monitors the number of WBC found in the fresh raw (unpasteurized) milk obtained from cows through a process known as Somatic Cell Count (SCC). When the SCC is higher than 400 it signals the cow may be fighting an infection. Dairy farmers aim to keep the SCC level under 200 which also serves as a monetary incentive, the lower the SCC the more money is paid out for the milk. Farmers strive to maintain their cows free from infections using the SCC level as an indicator or tool to alert them when something is brewing.
Bottom Line: WBC is not Pus; the SCC is one among many regulatory standard indicators used by farmers set by the FDA to ensure the safety of milk. Also, pasteurization occurs before the milk reaches the supermarkets which kills off all-natural occurring WBC, and any bacteria that was previously present in raw milk.
For those of you who are “lactose intolerant” or have an autoimmunity to milk, please avoid all dairy products. I recommend non-dairy milk substitutes such as almond, soy, rice or cashew.
You decide: Is there a Flaw in Milk? More to come on Milk.