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Why is Milk Under Attack?

I’m not a milk drinker. I have about one glass a year — usually on an especially cake-heavy day. I drink so little milk that my bones shrivel at the sight of Angie Harmon or any of the other white-mustached models in the guilt-inducing “Got Milk?” campaign.

I also don’t push milk on my children, though they’re more frequent drinkers of the stuff than me.

Turns out? That might not be so bad. And, depending on who you’re talking to, that might be a good thing.

The Los Angeles Times ran through the debate about milk — whether we get enough or too much — over the weekend. The conclusion? Inconclusive! Or, at best, somewhere in the middle.

Milk pushers, like the dairy industry (the ones behind the Got Milk? campaign) recommend a minimum of three glasses a day for strong bones and a healthy body and all the nutrients we need every day.

At the other end is PETA and animal rights activists (who say we’re drinking cow pus), and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (who say milk is the perfect beverage for … calves). The groups say cows milk is way too high in saturated fats and is a heart attack in a glass. Plus, the hormones — natural and synthetic — which we should be reluctant to give to our kids (and ourselves).

In the middle is Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, who says a couple of glasses a day isn’t harmful and that it’s likely even nutritious. But beyond that — the three cup minimum — the benefits just haven’t been proven.

Of course, there’s no consensus on how much milk  toddlers and young children should get. But a few glasses a day — 18 to 24 ounces — tends to be the recommendation.

Do you drink milk?

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Photo: sam pullara via flickr

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