We grew up hearing about the wonderful benefits of drinking cow’s milk. School cafeterias are littered with “Got Milk” posters. Doctors professed the positive effect milk has on our bones. Nutrition classes around the United States promote the United States Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines of at least one cup of milk per day. Recent research is showing milk may not be the powerful nectar we once believed it was.

Once touted as a great source of health, there are scary truths about milk that should not be overlooked. Although the topic of drinking milk is still a heated debate, professionals around the world are accepting the fact that milk has harmful effects on the human body.

Frightening Facts About Milk

First and Foremost, humans were not meant to drink the milk of another species. Roughly 65 percent of adults are unable to digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar prevalent in milk and dairy products. The degree to which a person is impacted by lactose intolerance varies, but it is argued that most people have at least a small degree of symptoms of lactose intolerance when drinking milk. Lactose intolerance can cause bloating, nausea, abdominal cramps, belching, flatulence, and diarrhea. Save yourself from the discomfort caused by lactose and refrain from drinking milk.

Milk is touted as an excellent source of calcium, promoting bone strength. Studies have shown, however, the countries with the greatest incidences of osteoporosis and hip fractures are also the largest consumers of milk and dairy products. The human body has a difficult time processing the calcium found in cow’s milk. Eat dark, leafy vegetables and increase your vitamin D with sun exposure to increase your bone strength.

Numerous studies have linked the consumption of milk to various types of cancers. The correlation between the risk of prostate cancer and the consumption of dairy products is very strong. The risk of cancer from dairy consumption is believed to be a result of the high amount of pesticides and hormones found in today’s dairy market.

Consuming too much cholesterol and saturated fat greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. One cup of milk contains 4.6 grams of saturated fat and 33 milligrams of cholesterol. The trans and saturated fat found in milk is directly linked to increased “bad” cholesterol levels. Save your heart by avoiding dairy.

Studies have shown, milk and dairy increases levels of acne. The hormones found in milk are shown to increase acne in humans. The growth hormone, IGF-1, is prevalent in milk and causes inflammation in humans. Dairy can produce poor skin health and clogged pores, which increase the risk of acne.

Humans are the only mammals who willingly consume another mammal’s secretions. The consumption of milk and dairy is unhealthy for humans and is linked to several health risks. Improve your health by choosing milk alternatives instead.

Amazing Alternatives To Milk

1. Almond Milk

Almond milk not only tastes amazing, but it is also a low-calorie alternative to cow’s milk. It contains less than 40 calories per cup, while cow’s milk can contain over 100 calories per cup. Several flavors exist for almond milk including vanilla, original, dark chocolate, and unsweetened.

2. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is known for being “heart-healthy” by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. The MCT fatty acids found in coconut milk are known to help promote fat loss. It contains essential minerals and electrolytes to promote overall health. Coconut milk is found in flavors such as original, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

3. Soy Milk

Soy milk can help prevent osteoporosis and promote bone health. It contains calcium and iron helping the body maintain dense and strong bones. Unlike cow’s milk, soy milk contains no synthetic hormones. Try soy milk in several different flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and unsweetened.

4. Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is fortified with calcium and vitamins A, D, E, and B-12. It even has fewer calories than regular skim milk. Cashew milk is free of saturated fat and cholesterol. The creamy taste of cashew milk makes it an incredibly low-calorie substitute to cow’s milk. Cashew milk is found in flavors such as original, vanilla, and chocolate.

5. Rice Milk

Rice milk contains high levels of antioxidants and can help improve your immune system. All types of rice milk contain B vitamins and can help improve your metabolism and nerve function. Rice milk comes in the flavors of original, chocolate and vanilla.

Let Cow’s Milk Be For Cows

Cow’s milk is not the source of health we once thought it was. Leave the cow’s milk to the cows and try a plant-based milk alternative instead. Your health will improve and your body will thank you for it.

Which milk alternatives have you tried and what are your favorite types of plant-based milk? Leave a comment below.

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Read Does Dairy Cause Acne? on MensHealth.com