World Milk Day ‘Milk is the most valuable contributor of constitutive components for the body’s growth’ | 07 June 2019
World Milk Day, observed on June 1,2019, was established by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), to recognise the importance of the dairy sector to sustainability, economic development, livelihoods and nutrition.
In the following interview, Dr Todorovic at Panafricare Clinic shares his knowledge about milk and its role in the human diet, as well as his opinions on some related controversies and considerations.
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Seychelles NATION: Is the consumption of milk beneficial for our health?
Dr Todorovic: Milk is a good and important nutrient for humans from birth to the advanced age as it brings important amounts of proteins, fluid, vitamins, electrolytes, fat, and breast milk even brings antibodies.
Proteins of milk and calcium presence help with growth in the body; this is true for all mammals at a certain age, and in particular breast milk is extremely important for babies.
There are some substantial differences between human breast milk and cow's milk, and people should know that formula milk was invented to replace the mother's milk.
Milk also contains sugar called lactose and because some people are born genetically lactose intolerant, they have digestive problems when consuming milk.
Proteins in milk also can sensitise the bodies of some people to develop allergies, but the importance of milk in nutrition is higher than the risk of developing some allergies.
Seychelles NATION: Is milk healthy for children?
Dr Todorovic: Yes it is. Milk is the most valuable contributor of constitutive components for the body’s growth, from birth to adolescent ages.
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Normally, breast milk is irreplaceable for newborns, but when it must be replaced then formula milk is the choice. Cow's milk should not be given before 12 months of age.
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We should stress upon the fact that a mother’s milk contains very little iron and a baby needs some solid food later in the first year, as well as vitamin D if they are hiding from the sun.
Also, if lactose intolerance is a problem or an allergy develops in early life, there are other milk products that can replace traditional milk and milk products.
Seychelles NATION: There are some controversies about dairy milk being good for our health; what are your views on these?
Dr Todorovic: There is a huge variety of dairy milk and products on the local market from different producers and different countries. I only believe that the standards and certificates for import are properly met once the product enters the country.
Unfortunately, it is known that developed countries are exporting under the same brand name some lower quality products to the third world countries; Eastern Europe for instance got the case at the European Parliament vote for the equality of products on the market.
Developed countries have very strict rules for their market about content control, including hormones, pesticides, heavy metals etc.
Seychelles NATION: Are there any other considerations regarding milk?
Dr Todorovic: At one moment in recent nutritional history, the approach to milk consumption was biasing the public about skimmed or full rich milk, with statements that skimmed milk is healthier etc; only the milk industry made a profit. Full milk, 3.5% or 3.6% fat is not harmful for the health, it has more nutritional value and is tastier.
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Seychelles NATION: Do you have any other important information about milk that you’d like to share?
Dr Todorovic: There are two important points that should be communicated to people. One is about lactose intolerance and the other is allergy related to milk proteins.
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Lactose intolerance is not a disease. It is just discomfort in digesting milk or products that contain lactose, causing bowel distension, cramps, flatulence, and even loose stool after a meal.
There are two types of people with Neolithic time ancestry, one with origins from hunters-gatherers, and the other from agricultural low land crop culturing people who are now lactose intolerant. They have to avoid milk, milk products, chocolate with lactose, biscuits with lactose, etc. My advice is to check the producer's declaration on the content of your product while shopping.
The second, more important problem is milk allergy. This is not an intolerance and problem with digestion; it is a more complex problem that can begin even at an early age on breast milk because the mother is consuming cow’s milk.
The proteins from cow’s milk can stay 2-3 weeks present in the body. They produce hives, dry and itchy skin, erythema, scaling and irritation. The only cure is the breast feeding mothers' avoidance of cow’s milk proteins, or replacement with almond milk and others.
Panafricare Clinic does genetic background testing for lactose intolerance, as well as skin allergy tests for the appropriate age.
For further information, contact Panafricare Clinic:
- Address: 2nd Floor, Le Chantier Mall, Victoria
- Telephone: 4 321 310
- Email: email@example.com