Should We Avoid Drinking Dairy Milk?

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The demand for dairy-free milk alternatives is booming especially in the western countries of the world. One in three people in the UK believes that dairy milk substitute is good for health. People in the West are opting for plant-based options for their diet plan. On the contrary, worldwide dairy production particularly in developing countries is increasing. But now it is a question is dairy products very scary or should we avoid using dairy milk? Here we have tried to investigate this issue.

Credit: Nikolai Chernichenko

Many people are concerned about the effects of our food system on the planet. They like to swap to a vegan diet due to environmental concerns. It is thought that dairy milk’s carbon footprint can destroy our ecosystem. They believe fewer crops and less water are used to sustain a vegan diet than for dairy and meat products. Research reveals that a glass of dairy milk produces almost three times the greenhouse gas emissions of any non-dairy alternative. The World Wildlife Foundation found that when manure and feed-crop production are poorly managed, dairy operations can also be significant contributors to water pollution and soil degradation.

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However, dairy milk alternatives are not without environmental concerns. If you consider almond “milk” you can find that it might be a cause of concern for our ecosystem. Because to pollinate an acre of almond trees, you need two beehives. So you have to bring a million hives in a short period. In 2014, the Pollinator Stewardship Council published a report from beekeepers of mass deaths among adult bees which indicates serious environmental concerns.

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Other dairy milk alternatives like oats, rice, and soybeans have a lower water footprint than almonds and don’t need any help from insects. Oat drinks have a slightly higher land use than the other plant alternatives, but less than cow’s milk. Most of the plant-based alternatives are lower in calories than whole dairy milk but skimmed and semi-skimmed milk contain equal low calorie.

Credit: Debby Hudson

So you can choose an alternative to dairy milk. If you don’t want dairy milk, there are lots of options for you. Soy, rice, hemp, hazelnut, coconut, and the popular almond and oat milk are easily available and you can choose any of those according to your preference.