Milkin' It

April 25, 2006

The dairy industry must be creaming itself over this Canadian study:

Expectant mothers who don’t drink milk aren’t getting enough vitamin D — and it’s affecting their babies, a Canadian study shows.

Well, not exactly. What we have here is babies born to milk-chugging moms weighing an average 7.8 pounds versus an average 7.5 pounds for babies born to milkless moms.

But by not drinking milk, mothers got far too little vitamin D. And data analysis shows that it was vitamin D — not calcium or any other milk-related nutrient — that accounted for the infants’ lower weight.

Aaarg. Articles like this leave the impression that milk is the only source of Vitamin D. And if mom’s aren’t drinking milk, they’re just not getting it. Neither of these things are true! Can’t we get important nutrition information without product placement?

The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D is 200-600 IU of Vitamin D.  A cup of milk is 100 IU. You get 20,000 IU of vitamin D from sitting in the sun for fifteen minutes. It needn’t be your face soaking up the UV rays and deepening your freckles and wrinkles. It can be your elbow, your feet, whatever.

This push to keep humans entirely out of the sun (and permanently attached to a cow’s udder) seems counter-intuitive to me. We get energy and nutrients from the sun, just like every living thing on earth. Milk is fine if you like it, but it’s not the only game in town.