Milk – the most ancient food of man, they drank it from time immemorial?
And no. For centuries, babies fed on mother’s milk.
And the milk of animals got into the diet of our ancestors much later than meat and plants.
Moreover, ancient people were not able to absorb milk. It became clear when scientists deciphered the genome of a man who lived 5,300 years ago and whose remains were found in the Alps. So the gene responsible for the absorption of milk, our prehistoric ancestor was turned off.
In general, at the dawn of humanity, this gene was included only in infants who were breastfed by the mother.
Humanity had to learn to drink milk in order to survive. When migration from Africa began 2,000 years ago, the nomads who bred animals for meat and hides needed a new source of food — they became animal milk. History is silent about how many people died in the process, including due to the fact that someone could not eat cow or mare’s milk.
So far not all survived, but only those who have begun a slow evolution of the digestive system.
Why do adults not digest milk?
In 2009, the young Australian motorcycle racer Casey Stoner suddenly fizzled out at the competition, he suddenly became ill. And then he had to leave the sport.
It turned out that the athlete has an acute intolerance to milk sugar – lactose.
Lactose normally splits into glucose and galactose, and so absorbed by our body. To break down lactose, you need an enzyme called lactase.
In the 1970s, Soviet scientists discovered that there is a variant of the gene in which the synthesis of this enzyme stops. At first, scientists decided that this was not normal.
And then they discovered that initially all adults do not absorb milk sugar, and this is exactly the norm. DNA mutation – this is the reason why adults can drink milk, and nothing for it will not.
In ancient Rome, milk was used not as a food but as a medicine (for example, as a laxative). If you do not have this enzyme, then you are not able to break down lactose, and the milk you drink will remain in the intestine, where it causes bloating, bloating, diarrhea.
How many adults can’t drink milk?
Now the ancestors of the man who was the first to digest the milk, spread throughout the north-west of Europe. Some of them live, for example, in Italy, in Russia.
But not all nations got this happy DNA mutation. The Chinese, for example, drink soy (from soybeans) or rice (from rice) instead of cow’s milk. In China, by the way, even black milk (from black soybeans) is sold.
Especially hard is the digestion of milk given to blacks and Hispanics. On average, on our planet, inhabited by more than 4 billion people, about 6 out of 10 people do not tolerate milk.
However, even in our country, with its traditional culture of consumption of milk and products from it, not all drink it. According to some data, between a third and a half of adult Russians do not absorb milk.
Why do we need milk at all?
Today, scientists go to great lengths to facilitate human consumption of milk. They came up with tablets with the enzyme lactase, even lactose-free milk is produced. Nutritionists propose to replace milk with kefir – in it, milk sugar is eaten by lactic acid bacteria.
And why is all this done? In order to get calcium from milk, so necessary for our bones.
Is it true that only natural milk is a good source of calcium?
It is believed that calcium is best absorbed from dairy products. Three glasses of milk (in 250 ml – 315 mg) contain the daily rate of calcium for an adult (800-1100 mg). But, of course, among adults there are few lovers every day to drink this amount of milk.
So it is possible (and it is effective) to eat dairy products with a high calcium content – cottage cheese, cheese and yogurt.
And what about those who can not tolerate dairy products?
Milk is not the only calcium rich product. Calcium is also abundant, for example, in broccoli or almonds. But in order to assimilate it, appropriate conditions are needed – for example, vitamin D, which, in turn, is synthesized under the action of ultraviolet radiation.
So in a hot sunny climate it is easier to do without milk – I warmed in the sun (I got vitamin D), I had broccoli snack (I got calcium) and everything was fine.
The inhabitants of the Far North, who have little sun and milk is not absorbed, have another source of vitamin D and calcium. They eat the liver and fat of marine animals and fish.
Vitamin D is formed there because the animals eat algae. Deer meat and fat are also good sources of vitamin D.
But here it is not so simple. To get your normal calcium and vitamin D, a Nenets has to eat 2 kg of deer meat and fish per day plus 200 g of fat (in fact, this is a pack of butter per day!).
In Soviet times, they did not know about the metabolic peculiarities of the inhabitants of the Far North. And of course, when the children of the reindeer herders got into boarding schools on the mainland, they received regular food.
As a result, after drinking milk, these children had a disorder that was unsuccessfully treated with antibiotics.
Can milk be dangerous?
We have already spoken about acute intolerance of milk sugar – lactose -. But in the milk itself there are elements that can be dangerous.
At 77% milk is water, but it also contains fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Casein, globulin, albumin – these three types of proteins make milk very useful, but because of them it is also a strong allergen.
Milk allergies can be acute, and in this case, the person gets Quincke edema by drinking a glass of milk. And you can suffer from asthma all your life and not guess that it is a matter of allergy to cheese, yogurt, ice cream.
Many people do not even know that they are allergic to milk and products containing it.
Is milk good for adults?
If you can assimilate it, and you have no allergies, yes. Long-term studies of various domestic and foreign institutes of nutrition provide reliable scientific information that people who consume enough milk and prefer butter to margarine have a stronger immune system.
Dairy products saturate the body with vitamins and microelements, and, of course, they serve as an excellent source of calcium. And this is especially important for adults – because osteoporosis is just around the corner.
Do I need to give milk to children?
It is up to the parents. If a child is allergic to milk, it is clear that you need to look for another source of calcium.
For everyone else, just give two facts.
Fact one. Osteoporosis destroys the skeletal system of every fourth woman after 60 years. And opposition to osteoporosis is laid at the age of 8-9 years.
It turned out that girls have a maximum ability to absorb calcium up to 10 years. After this age, it starts dropping.
Fact two. The Japanese and the Chinese, as we have already learned, traditionally do not drink milk and do not digest it well.
However, after the introduction of the program, under which every child in the Japanese school must receive a glass of milk, it turned out that the nation grew by an average of 8-10 cm.
So the health of your child is in your hands, that is, in a glass of milk.
In preparing the article, the materials of the film channel “Russia 2” – “Evolution. As it is. Milk”