Muscle for life

Is Milk Bad For You? What 30 Studies Have to Say

Is Milk Bad For You? What 30 Studies Have to Say

According to some, drinking milk can cause all kinds of health problems, but is it as bad as people claim? Read this article to find out…

For years, milk has been touted as one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

It’s packed full of protein, calcium, and other nutrients, and it’s delicious to boot.

It’s also hugely popular among bodybuilders and people just generally interested in improving their body composition.

If you go asking around the gym for the best way to gain muscle and strength as quickly as possible, it won’t take long until you’re told to just lift heavy weights and drink a gallon of milk per day.

(The heavy weightlifting is a great idea, but the “GOMAD”? Not so much…)

Recently, though, milk has come under heavy fire from the health “gurus” of the world who not only question its nutritional value, but go as far as labeling it a poison responsible for all kinds of disease and dysfunction.

Drink milk, they say, and thanks to the lactose, pus, blood, hormones, and other “unhealthy” substances it contains, you’ll be more likely to gain weight, weaken your bones, and even get cancer and die.

Many of the people making these arguments seem to have logic and science on their sides, too.

Maybe they’re right? Maybe milk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Maybe we’d all be better off without it?

Well, as you’ll soon see, although the case against milk can be made to sound convincing, it’s based on trumped up charges.

When you analyze the bulk of the research, which we’re going to do in this article, the takeaway is clear:

Milk is not a magic bullet for bone health, muscle gain, or general wellbeing, but it doesn’t deserve condemnation, either, and you probably don’t need to stop drinking it.

Let’s find out why, starting with square one:

What is milk, exactly?

What Is Milk, Exactly?

A simple question, I know, but most people can’t quite answer it.

Milk is a combination of water, casein protein (a type of protein that digests slowly), globules of fat, lactose (a simple sugar), and vitamins and minerals.

In terms of “macros,” a cup of whole cow’s milk contains about 145 calories, 8 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrates, and 8 grams of protein.

Low-fat varieties of milk contain more or less the same amount of carbs and protein, but less fat and thus fewer calories. For instance, a cup of skim milk has about 90 calories, but the same amount of protein and carbs as whole milk.

In addition to the macronutrients, milk contains a smattering of micronutrients as well, namely calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B12 and D (if fortified).

What, then, is so scary about this rather high-protein and nutritious beverage, you wonder?

Well, let’s find out…

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

The 6 Biggest Lies and Myths About Milk

If you want to be fat, unhealthy, and disease prone, then you want to drink a lot of milk.

That’s what many people think, at least.

Why, though?

What are the arguments and counterarguments? And what does the scientific literature have to say?

Let’s tackle the big five contentions that account for most of the hand-wringing over milk consumption.

“Milk Causes Weight Gain”


Bodybuilders have been using milk as a “bulking food” for decades now, and for good reason.

If you’re struggling to eat enough calories to gain weight, adding a few cups of milk to your meal plan can be an easy way to get the needle moving.

That doesn’t mean it directly causes weight gain, though, because no food can automagically make you fatter and fatter simply by eating it.

Not milk, sugar, fast food, or anything else.

Remember, no matter what you eat, energy balance dictates what happens to your body weight.

In other words, the real determinant of body weight isn’t food choices but the relationship between energy intake and expenditure.

That’s why Professor Mark Haub was able to lose 27 pounds in 10 weeks eating Hostess cupcakes, Doritos, Oreos, and whey protein shakes.

And why this guy lost 56 pounds in six months eating nothing but McDonald’s, and this guy got into the best shape of his life following a rigorous workout routine and eating McDonald’s every day for a month.

“What about insulin?” you might be thinking. “Doesn’t milk spike insulin levels and thus fat gain?”

Well, yes, milk does raise insulin levels, and insulin does play a role in fat storage, but, again, that doesn’t mean that drinking milk necessarily makes you fat.

Only overeating can cause significant weight gain. Again, energy balance is the key here.

If you eat too many calories of the “cleanest” foods in the world, you’ll gain weight. And if you restrict your calories, you can eat nothing but junk and get thinner.

That’s why studies have repeatedly shown that eating dairy doesn’t cause weight gain, and, in fact, research shows that it can actually help you lose weight faster (for reasons mainly related to satiety and portion control).

Now, another claim often made is that milk contains estrogen-like hormones that can cause weight gain and even feminizing effects in men.

This is partially true.

Yes, milk does contain these types of hormones, but not in large enough amounts to have significant effects in the body.

Case in point:

If you drank one and a half gallons of whole milk in a day, you’d increase your total estrogen levels by no more than 1%.

Moreover, most of of these estrogen-like compounds are broken down during digestion, rendering them physiologically inert.

So, the bottom line is this:

The only way drinking milk can cause you to gain weight is if you’re also regularly eating more energy than you burn.

And even then, remember that it’s the caloric surplus that’s driving your weight up, not the milk.

“Milk Weakens Your Bones”


For years, “everybody knew” that milk was good for your bones.

Now, however, a vocal minority is claiming that it actually weakens them by stripping away calcium.

A study commonly adduced to support this assertion is an analysis of a pool of studies that determined that dairy consumption wasn’t associated with bone health.

(I should note that this study was funded by a vegan organization that has lobbied for the USDA to remove animal products as a food group.)

Milk and dairy detractors have latched onto research like this as definitive proof of milk’s inferiority, but they’re missing the forest for the trees.

When evaluating the science of, well, anything, you can’t simply find a study that you like and put on blinders. You have to look at the rest of the research on the subject and determine which way the literature is leaning.

And when you do that with milk and bone health, the story is crystal clear:

Higher calcium intake is associated with greater bone density, and this includes calcium obtained from milk and dairy.

That doesn’t mean you have to drink milk and eat dairy products to have healthy bones, of course, but it does make it much easier to give your body the calcium it needs.

Another charge often leveled against milk is that it’s an “acidic” food that, in turn, makes your blood more acidic, which then eats away at your bones over time.

This is utter tripe.

Research clearly shows that no food, milk or sugar or anything else, can significantly impact the pH levels of your blood.

This is good news, too, because if food could do this, you could eat the wrong type of meal and die.

You see, your body must regulate its blood pH very closely, much like temperature, and there’s very little wiggle room.

This is one of the stomach’s primary functions, actually–it uses various chemicals to ensure that everything that makes it through the processes of digestion is “safe” to release into the blood.

“Milk Contains Dangerous Hormones”


Most cows are given hormones to increase growth and milk production, including recombinant bovine growth hormone (rGBH) and bovine somatotropin (bST).

These hormones do find their way into the milk that’s on the shelves of your local grocery store, and while that sounds ominous, it’s less of a cause for concern than most people think.

The reason this issue is more or less moot is that the amount of these hormones present in milk is miniscule.

Most all are destroyed during pasteurization and digestion, leaving very little to potentially affect your body and health.

Another milk-related hormone that has people in a tizzy is insulin-like growth factor one, or IGF-1, which has similar effects in the body as growth hormone.

This hormone is naturally present in milk (at extremely low levels), and drinking milk boosts your body’s natural production of it, and these facts are used to link milk consumption to cancer.

Well, as IGF-1 encourages cell growth and regeneration, this is certainly not desirable in the case of cancer, which is, at bottom, the result of uncontrolled cellular reproduction.

That said, scientists haven’t yet established whether elevated IGF-1 levels can cause cancer or are simply a byproduct of it.

In other words, are we looking at causation or correlation? The literature hasn’t provided a definitive answer yet.

It’s also worth noting that IGF-1 levels are generally correlated with your total protein intake, which is why even plant proteins raise IGF-1 levels (soy, for example, even more than milk).

So by the “IGF-1 = cancer” logic, a high-protein diet would be far “riskier” than moderate milk consumption, and we know that there’s no credible evidence that this is the case.

Additionally, while research has shown that people who eat more dairy may have a slightly higher risk of certain cancers, most studies show that people who drink more milk have the same or a lower risk of cancer than people who eat less dairy.

The most likely reason for the discrepancy is confounding factors related to lifestyle, like smoking, inactivity, and poor diet, that are known to increase the risk of cancer.

“Milk Is Too Processed to Be Healthy”


If you’re to listen to the quack doctors and “nutrition experts” du jour, food processing of any and all kinds is harmful.

This is silly, and whenever someone tars a broad category or discipline with the same brush like this, alarm bells should start sounding in your head.

Yes, there are types of processing that produce unhealthy foods (oil hydrogenation, for example), but in many cases, food processing makes foods safer, tastier, and more nutritious.

In the case of milk and all other dairy products, they go through a variety of steps before they’re deemed ready to eat, with the big ones being pasteurization, homogenization, and fortification.

  • Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to 161 degrees (F) for 15 seconds. This kills any unwanted bacteria, ensuring the milk is safe to drink and lasts longer on the shelf.
  • Homogenization is the process whereby fat globules are broken into smaller sizes and evenly dispersed throughout the milk. This is done to keep the fat from separating from the rest of the liquid., and is usually accomplished by forcing the milk through small holes.
  • Fortification is the process of adding vitamins and minerals into the milk to make it more nutritious. Vitamin D is the most common nutrient added, but others often include calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and others.

Now, despite the obvious benefits of these processing methods, many health-conscious people have come to believe that completely unprocessed (raw) milk is better for their bodies.

There’s a valid argument to be made here.

Because it’s not pasteurized, raw milk contains more “good” bacteria that support gut health, but there’s a downside, as well: raw milk also contains more “bad” bacteria that can cause sickness.

Raw milk advocates will point out that the risk of getting sick from harmful bacteria present in raw milk is low, which is true, but it’s still much higher than with pasteurized milk.

According to CDC data, raw milk is responsible for 71% of the cases of people getting sick from drinking milk.

Another attack on pasteurization is the claim that it removes most or all of the beneficial nutrients naturally found in milk.

This is an exaggeration.

While it’s true that pasteurizing milk does downgrade its nutritional value, this shouldn’t impact the overall nutritiousness of your diet.

The reality is unless you’re getting the majority of your daily calories from milk (which would be stupid), the nutritional difference between raw and pasteurized milk will have no bearing on your health.

Either way, it’ll provide you with an abundance of calcium, and  you’ll still need to eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables if you want to get adequate amounts of the micronutrients that your body needs to function optimally.

“Milk Is Full of Pus, Blood, and Somatic Cells”

Mmmm…pus, blood, and somatic cells

This one has really caught on because, well, it sounds disgusting.

It’s also misleading, and to understand why, we have to review how milk is collected from cows.

Most dairy cows are hooked up to mechanized devices for milking that connect hoses to the udders to suck out the milk.

While these machines are able to collect milk faster than people can, they also cause many cows to get an infection called mastitis, which results in painful swelling in their udders.

This, in turn, triggers an immune response in the cows, which includes the increased production of somatic cells to fight off the infection. This does affect the milk, which is why cows with infections produce milk with higher levels of somatic cells than would be normally present.

Furthermore, when somatic cell count is up due to infection, white blood cell count is going to be up, too, which is one of the main constituents of pus.

Thus, the criticism that milk contains somatic cells and pus, which, we’d assume, isn’t good for our health.

Well, first of all, milk never contains pus, but white blood cells. “Pus” was chosen for the purposes of propaganda, though, because it conjures nauseating images, whereas “white blood cells” sounds benign.

Moreover, The FDA maintains strict standards for testing for milk for somatic cells and any contaminated batches must be destroyed. Fines are also levied on farmers who consistently produce milk with unacceptable somatic cell counts.

Now, as far as blood goes, it’s more or less the same story.

Small amounts of blood can get into the milk if the cow’s udder is bruised or infected or if it’s harvested after birthing a calf. This is handled in the same way as milk contaminated with somatic cells, though:

If it contains significant amounts of blood, it’s thrown out.

So, while it’s fair to say that milk that comes from healthy cows is “better” (preferred, really) over milk from sick cows, it’s disingenuous to say that all milk contains byproducts of sickness that can, in turn, make us sick, too.

The Bottom Line on Milk and Your Health

Many health and fitness “experts” love to demonize foods.

They love to give people scapegoats, panaceas, and quick-fix solutions because, well, it works.

That’s why fad diets are the order of the day, and why so many people think they should avoid so many of the foods that they like, like sugar, meat, milk and dairy, and many others.

Most of this is manufactured hysteria to sell pills, powders, and diet and workout programs.

A “healthy” diet is far more flexible than you’ve been led to believe, and it can include more or less anything that you like to eat, including, well, sugar, meat, and milk and dairy.

The fact is milk is an inexpensive source of macro- and micronutrients, and is perfectly healthy when included as a part of a balanced diet.

Despite claims to the contrary, it doesn’t cause weight gain or cancer, it doesn’t degenerate your bones, and it doesn’t contain unhealthy amounts of hormones, pus, or blood.                  

What’s your take on whether or not milk is bad for you? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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Leave a Comment!
  • Thanks for the info. I drink a liter of milk per day. Great way to get protein. Hmmm….protein….

    • Sure Ru-an! That’s a lot of milk man, Homer would be proud 😉

      • Haha. Funny I never used to like milk when I was young so I hope that didn’t make my bones and teeth weak. Least I’m making up now!

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • Marian Boricean

    Great article as always, Mike. Keep it up.

  • Andrew Swan

    Mike, do you regularly drink milk? If so, what kind do you usually drink? (Ex. Fat free vs. Almond)

    • I have about half of a cup per day in oatmeal, and it’s generally organic whole milk.

      • Mark

        Mike I’m a big customer of yours but please look into the treatment of dairy cows! Watch some videos of what goes one. Try almond milk or coconut milk. It’s must better tasting and your conscience will thank you. The dairy industry is evil.

        • Hey Mark , thanks for the support man. I agree that some of the treatment they go through is pretty awful. That’s why, personally, I buy my milk from local farms where the cows are treated humanely. There are more humane options out there, even for regular cow’s milk.

        • Hey Mark, I agree that it’s certainly a problem in some facilities, but there are places to get milk from humanely treated cows as well.

  • Laura

    Over a long period of experimentation every single time I drink milk my muscles ache really bad, when I do not drink it I have no muscle aches. I drink almond milk and take whey protein which does not bother me at all. If milk did not affect me negatively I would drink it, I actually like milk products, the quality of protein it provides and it definitely satisfies hunger, I wish I did not have a problem with it.

    • Seanizabeast

      Laura, that’s funny because I feel the same way. I stopped my intake of dairy about four months ago. I’m not as sore, I don’t feel bloated, and my stomach thanks me! haha Of course I’ll still eat ice cream, but milk and yogurt I cut out of the mix. I only use almond milk now. I went from 215 lbs to about 198 lbs and I am stronger than ever! 285 bench, 365 squat, 465 deadlift

      • Laura

        I feel so much better without it too, those are some good lifts, I am at 630-720 on cybex leg press, 360-410 on Hammer Strength hack press…

      • Mark

        try almond milk ice cream or coconut milk ice cream! I lovve it and It’s delicious and innocent lives don’t need to be tortured for your taste buds 🙂

      • coulson

        how old are you?

        • Seanizabeast

          Just turned 24.

    • Mark

      consider yourself lucky

    • Thanks for sharing Laura. I’m glad you’ve figured out what works best for your body.

      • Laura

        Thanks Mike.

  • Arturo Reaza N


    From a humane perspective, drinking milk should be condemned.

    “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
    ― Leonardo da Vinci

    • Michelle Siwert

      I think this article is part of that “demonizing foods” Mike mentions in the article. This is clearly biased because it’s written by a co-founder of an animal protection agency. There’s nothing wrong with drinking milk or eating milk products.

      • Mark

        Nothing wrong with raping and murdering innocent beings so you can drink the milk that wasn’t designed for you?

      • Mark

        What do you have against animals? Especially animal mothers? Animals are not our property. And we have no right to steal their young so that we can drink the milk that was made for their babies

      • Thanks Michelle.

      • define “nothing wrong”. mass market animal cruelty is arguably something wrong. some sources are better or worse than others….so your blanket statement is false.

  • Michelle Siwert

    I really enjoyed this article! Thanks, Mike!

    I don’t drink milk anymore, but I love Greek yogurt/milk products, except cheese. I’ve found that water is generally more to my liking (the last time I had skim milk, I even had to water it down, lol).

  • Mark

    I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t drink milk. How about because female cows are raped over and over again to give birth only to have their babies ripped away from them. That milk they produce is for their babies so they need to be stolen from the mothers so they don’t drink your precious cow milk. The babies are then locked in a crate. Mother cows bond with their young. When the calf is taken away the Mother cries and screams for days! Yay!! Just so you can drink your stupid milk! If the baby is a male they hang it upside down by it’s ankles and slit it’s throat without any anesthesia to use for veal! If it;s a female they turn it into a milk machine like it;s mother. And after this whole traumatizing experience is over they rape the cow again and again and again. After about 4-5 years of this they become to so physically and emotionally exhausted from all the abuse so they are hung upside down and teh their throats are sliced open and slaughtered for beef! The normal lifespan of a cow that isn’t tortured like this is 20-25 years. The dairy industry is a disgusting industry that has brainwashed you all into thinking you need milk. What a joke! Please if you have any shred of a conscience please consider stopping eating all dairy and meat. Think about what you are contributing to when you drink your non essential milk. I am a customer of Mike’s products at Legion (well the vegan ones anyway) and support what he does but please do not support the torture and murder of animals that feel pain, are sentient beings with souls, and that bond with their young and are extremely social. Your mother’s milk is the only milk you were ever designed to drink. Cow milk is for cows not humans. Think about it!! If there was cat milk in the supermarket would you drink it? How about dog milk? Or rat milk? Think for yourselves people. WAKE UP!!

    • Brad Gorlicki

      Wow typical vegan response. Have you even been on a farm?

      • Erik

        Rat milk? Sounds delicious!

        On a serious note: Brad, no need to feed the trolls. Just ignore them.

        • Mark

          easier to ignore than to look at the issue. True. Staying ignorant guarantees you don’t have to change.

        • Big Daddy Amin

          You know what’s good with milk? Steak!

      • Mark

        Typical meat eaters response. It’s ok man I was once like you too. I’m just trying to help. Dismissing animal cruelty so you can feel good when drinking their milk and eat their bodies is a typical defense mechanism. Just look into what we are doing to them is all I ask. It’s wrong and there is no need for it except profits. there’s no such thing as a humane farm just like there was no humane way to own slaves.

      • Big Daddy Amin

        I have. I have two cousins in fact that own dairy farms. The milk is delicious. You’re right, typical vegan response. Cows have souls? That train just went around the bend.

        • Mark

          big daddy – you seem to have it in for farm animals as well as your cousins. Anyone that has pets knows animals are sentient beings. Just because they don’t speak your language you conclude the don’t have souls? Lol. Here’s something to chew on. Suppose tomorrow an alien species lands on Earth. They communicate telepathically and don’t understand English. They conclude that you, and all humans are less intelligent, and that we must not have souls or think, and they conclude they will artificially inseminate all women force them to be pregnant over and over , steal and murder your children, milk your wives, mothers and sisters and then jam a knife in your throat and grind you up to eat or make a coat or shoes out of your skin. We would be terrified now that we have turned into living products to be consumed. We would love our whole lives in fear just like cows, chickens, turkeys and pigs. Your cousins are exploiting living beings for profit. No different then slave owners. One day animals will have rights and future generations will look back at this time period and us and feel shame and will wonder how we could do such evil all the while covering it up with jingles and cartoon characters telling us to eat animals and drink their pus filled milk.

          • Big Daddy Amin

            hahaha. Your answer is so full stupidity, I don’t know where to begin. First of all, the definition of sentient is “able to feel or perceive things”. Even flies can perceive things. Are we not allowed to kill flies? Sorry but you won’t find much support for that position. Souls are obviously a matter of personal belief and if you wish to believe animals have souls that’s your prerogative but you can’t hold others to your personal beliefs. Or am I allowed to impose my personal beliefs on you as well? In my Bible, God told man he could eat the animals. Why do your personal beliefs trump mine? You might have a little standing if you argued in favor of animals that are self-aware but scientist have a hard time agreeing on an exact measure of self-awareness. Dogs and greater apes are obviously self-aware. Fish, not so much.

            Also, please explain nature to me. It’s full of animals eating animals. Carnivorism is natural. Why is it wrong for me to eat a deer but OKfor the wolf to do it? I don’t think the wolf it painlessly and humanely euthanizing the deer before he eats it.

            As to your alien scenario, straw man arguments are worthless. Since your scenario has never happened, it’s not a valid point. I could just as well argue that our reality is in fact nothing more than a computer simulation created by a higher intelligence. In that case, killing any animal or person is not taking the life of an actual living thing but merely running some line of programming. Does that mean I can kill others without compunction? Of course not. Straw man arguments are worthless, we must deal with the reality we experience not hypothetical ones.

            And Mike Matthews article just explained that milk isn’t puss-filled. Which just proves your another vegan fanatic and didn’t actually read or comprehend the article.

            Animals – fun to pet, better to chew.

          • sorry bud, but your god is just pretend.

          • Brad

            How about you get off your keyboard social justice warrior pedestal and go visit a farm. I grew up on a dairy farm and the cows were very happy. They actually ENJOY being milked. They would make the walk to the cowshed by themselves. Please explain that?

            Stop trying to identify causes to defend to nobody who wants to listen. This isn’t a vegan outreach website. This is the last post I will make on the matter

      • there’s a dramatic difference between a small family farm and a cow-raping-milk-factory. my family grew up on the former but hate the latter. it’s not either or.

    • Holger

      I agree with you.

  • Matt V

    Great article Mike! Makes me want a bowl of cereal now haha!

  • Damian Jackson

    I was drinking 800+ calories of milk per day on my bulk, which included my daily latte. All I needed to do for my cut was switch to almond milk and change almost nothing else other than macro ratios.

    • Hey Damian, cutting back on liquid calories is a great way to moderate your calorie intake. Hope the cut went well.

  • John

    Mike, excellent article. This is well thought out and clearly stated practical information. It amazes me how much bad data is constantly promoted online and how much people will repeat (on and off line) the most absolutely ridiculous misinformation. I guess that’s just the nature of our quick reading online society today. Thanks for putting together quality unbiased, data-driven information. I love your BLS program and have made great personal progress using it. Take care.

    • Hey John! Thanks for the kind words and the support man, I’m glad you liked the article.

      Keep me updated on your progress on BLS as well!

  • Greg Waters

    I stopped drinking milk years ago and after having asthma for 30 years it is almost completely gone. I also don’t get aches and pains any more and haven’t had to take ibuprofen since I stopped drinking milk.

  • Cara Stone

    Cows milk is for calves. Mother’s milk is for infants, and after infancy you don’t need it anymore. Plenty of other sources of protein. I use unsweetened almond milk for cereal, baking, cooking, & for my protein shakes.

    • Mark

      Yea!! Agreed Cara!!

    • Almond milk is a great alternative Cara, and you’re right that people don’t technically “need” milk. That said, overall the evidence indicates it’s not bad for people, either. But ultimately, it’s up to you. 🙂

  • Holger

    Thanks for what you are doing, Mike.

    Just my 2 cents about milk:

    We should not neglect ethical reasons in this discussion. Milk and dairy products are inevitably connected with animal cruelty. That’s a fact, not opinion (just watch the movie “Earthlings”). That’s reason enough to stick to plant based alternatives, at least whenever possible. Especially since diet is mostly based on habits (good or bad) anyway. And a somewhat clear conscience IS definitely beneficial to our health.

    Best wishes,


    • Mark

      Agree thank you Holger!

    • Hey Holger, that should certainly factor into the decision, and personally, I get my milk from humane sources. As you said, that’s up for everyone to decide on their own.

      • Mark

        Mike there is no such thing as “humane sources” – they created that so people could feel good about what they are doing but it is complete BS. It’s like saying you give money to the nazi concentration camps that have slightly better living conditions. You still are supporting torture and murder.

  • Martin Byrne

    I am not vegan but I had no choice but to give up milk about 6 years ago due to being allergic (not lactose intolerant). I am now 41 years of age, and I drank on average 2 liters of milk a day (including whey protein shakes) from the age of 15 when I started weight training. At the age of 25 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease even though there was no history of this in my family. A recent study has found the following;
    Mycobacterium avium, subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) causes a chronic disease of the intestines in dairy cows and a wide range of other animals, including nonhuman primates, called Johne’s (“Yo-knee’s”) disease. MAP has been consistently identified by a variety of techniques in humans with Crohn’s disease.
    MAP has also been found in drinking water close to where cows graze as there excrement runs from the field into rivers that will be used for drinking water. The pasteurization process does not kill this bacteria and a recent study found 66% of store milk has MAP. They are putting the increase number of Crohn’s patients down to the increase in milk consumption.
    I know Mike has said his information came from 30 studies, but who paid for these studies? The beef industry comes in at a close second to the pharmaceutical industry for profitability, so why would these studies show anything else but “milk is good for you”. If the studies showed a negative result, then people would stop drinking milk and the dairy industry would collapse.
    Another issue is the pasteurization process actually destroys the natural calcium and vitamins etc., that is why the fortify milk so you would be better taking a high class multivitamin. As for Brads response to Mark about being Vegan; firstly to assume is to make an Ass of oneself, secondly what has living on a farm got to do with the slaughter of a cow, that is done in an abattoir. I live in the countryside beside numerous farms and I hear the cries of cows every few months as there babies are taking off them so the humans can take the mother milk. I am also close to an abattoir for slaughter, and my brother in law worked in one and Mark’s recall is closer to the truth of what happens to cows then Mike’s article is on how milk is good for you. For the non vegans out there who think the treatment of cattle (not just cows)is OK, would you drink dogs milk or cats milk, or see them slaughtered for Sunday lunch? Probably not as society has come to think of a cow as a commodity, where they are merely an animal just like a cat or dog.
    This is not an email to dictate to anybody what they should eat or drink, the one thing we all have in life is “Choice”. I am giving a more realistic side to the 30 studies, that more than likely were paid for by the meat industry, just like the so called independent tobacco studies in the 50’s, that said smoking is good for you. Should there be cruelty to animals so we can eat, do we believe the meat and food industry when they tell us that everything they produce is good for us as they cut corners to make an extra buck? Again, the answer is “CHOICE”, we all have one.

    • Mark

      Martin I am sorry about your diagnosis. Thanks you for sharing your story. The dairy and meat industry likely paid for most of these studies I agree. This is a good magic trick they have played on us all labeling milk as wholesome.You know people actually believe that cows always produce milk? Cows are mammals like us and that milk is only being produced after giving birth. SO their needs to be a constant stream of pregnant cows and babies being taken away from them to produce milk. Ask yourself why as an adult human being do you need Cows milk intended for a calf? Answer is you dont. And all that cheese and ice cream was produced by a mother cow who’s milf you stole from a baby cow. Martin thank you for validating some of what I have said – it is hard for people to believe and they think we are dramatizing things. But we are just aware of how wrong it is.

    • Hey Martin, would you mind sharing the study you mentioned about the MAP bacteria in cow’s milk? I’d be curious to read that.

      I did cover the fact that most nutrients are not degraded to any significant degree during pasteurization in the article.

      And as for funding, most of the research was not funded by the dairy industry, and was conducted independently. It’s still possible for other outside biases to have an impact on the outcomes, but overall, the data leans heavily in favor of milk consumption.

      As you said, when it comes to the moral argument, that’s really up to everyone to decide for themselves what they decide to eat.

  • Interesting read. I’ve been considering dropping dairy from my diet after I finish breastfeeding since everyone says the hormones are bad for you and it causes inflammation. But how will I live without cheese?

    • Hey!

      As the article says, the actual amount of the hormones in milk is far too small to have any real biological impact. I wouldn’t worry about it, as there are also some major benefits of dairy consumption.

    • i’ve seen studies that cite different health attributes between milk and cheese — cheese maintained benefits that milk didn’t. forget why now but they’re out there.

  • NSNG Bill

    The overall case against sugar and carbs seems to indicate that reducing those two items can reduce inflammation,help eliminate diabetes, minimize Alzheimer’s, and increase health and longevity. Milk is full of sugar (1 cup = 13 g or about the same as 3 Oreo cookies!). Check out these and decide for yourself if milk is ever a good idea:

    The Case Against Sugar…Gary Taubes
    Pure, White, and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It

  • Rob

    I stopped drinking milk a long time ago and don’t really miss it but this was very informative, good to know that I can drink some if the occasion arises without thinking I’m drinking pus or something nasty.

  • Martin Byrne

    Hi Mark, thanks for your concern about my Crohn’s but unlike some people with this disease, I still have a decent quality of life. This is my first comment to ever share on an article and the reason is 3 fold; 1.The possible dangers of milk (from my own experience). 2. The inhuman milk, beef and cattle industry. 3. The judging of another person that could be Vegan.
    I think the points 1 and 2 have been covered but point 3 needs to be covered in a bit more detail. Again to reiterate, I am a meat eater so I can talk about Veganism without being judged as someone getting on their soapbox to preach. I will keep this short and to the point. The majority of Vegans do it for ethical reasons as per point 2, I will not dwell on this point but I urge everybody to watch “Cowspiracy” and you will understand the cruelty, corruption and effect on the environment the beef industry has on the world. Other Vegans do it for health reasons as medical research has proven how healthy a Vegan diet is, and can actually reverse certain diseases as it oxygenates the body. The only vitamin and mineral missed by a Vegan diet is B12 (meat eaters can also be low in B12), which can be supplemented. To cut to my point about Vegans, everybody thinks they preach, this supposed preaching stems from their passion with regards to the ethical side of Veganism and they are proud to march on animal cruelty etc and they would like to spread the message and educate people. Why is this different than the site you are currently on, Mike knows about the gym and fitness and he likes to spread his message to educate people, we read his articles but no one accuses him of preaching. Why, because he is not preaching, he is educating. It goes back to my original point in my first comment, we have a “choice”, to listen or ignore but don’t judge or ridicule. Live and let live, especially the animals!!!!
    I continue to be a meat eater due to my Crohn’s as I have 2 blockages in my small intestines that stops me from eating fibrous fruit, vegetables and some beans and nuts. I am hopeful that sometime in the next year the blockages will work themselves out I will give Veganism a try for my health and mainly because of the ethical reasons as I am an animal lover.
    Last point goes to Mike, I see my original comment is under moderation. It was not my intention to put a comment up that could get you into trouble and in no way am I having a pop at you or the great work you do on this site.

    • Hey Martin, thanks for the thoughtful comment, and I appreciate the support. As you said, education is the starting place, and people can make their own decisions from there.

      And the commenting software automatically flags some comments for moderation, I’ll make sure it sticks around. 🙂

      • Martin Byrne

        Thanks Mike. I have been scouring the internet for the study I was quoting and I cannot find it as it is going back 2 years or more. It was a Scottish study, but there are a lot of studies on the web. Just google “links between Johnes and Crohn’s disease” and you should get a hand full or more. On the flip side, I have just seen an article on a possible cure from Crohn’s , it’s a MAP vaccine that is currently under clinical trials. Fingers crossed. There’s a challenging article for you, how to train (and build muscle) with Crohn’s. Don’t forget that a lot of Crohn’s sufferers cannot eat a high fibre diets and are restricted to plain foods. Keep up the great work.

        • Hey Martin, thanks for the support man. That’s a good idea for an article, as I know there isn’t much good information on that topic.

  • nstoler

    Hi Mark,
    I bought your book and looking into the bonus meal plans. It seems that your plans take into consideration dietary fibers in the total carbs and calories, although I read that dietary fiber is indigestible, is not absorbed and therefore should not be calculated in the total carbs and calories.
    Isn’t that so?
    Should I take them into consideration or not?

    • I mean, you can take them into account if you want to, but it’s a lot of extra work and unnecessary.

      • nstoler

        Hi Roger, thanks for the reply.
        I am stuck with the calculations and I hope you can help me…
        I am around 14% bf (I think) 1.80m, and 75kg (165Lbs) and trying to cut to 10% (this is what the book suggests before bulking).
        According to the cutting recommendations, I should start at eating around 1750 cals daily (1.2xbw proteins, 1xbw carbs and 0.2xbw fats). But according to the BMR calculation, I shouldn’t go below 1763 cals.
        Am I making some calculation mistake here?


  • JB

    Hi Mike. I just finished a cutting diet down to 8%bf, and then I reversed diet for 2 weeks. I did that in preparation for a very long trip I’m taking through Asia, for probably about 6 months. I figured that if I started out very lean, I could then have less worries about eating on my way around the world. However, I have found that getting enough calories in when travelling is quite difficult, especially as I don’t know what restaurants put in the food and how much it weighs etc. So – 7 Eleven has come to my rescue most days: I buy chocolate milk, normal milk, nuts etc to get the calories in.

    My question really is this – on some days I know I just won’t be able to eat enough carbs (my bulk macros are 150p, 370c, 50f). Would there be anything against eating more fat on those days, for instance upping it to 100g of fat through olive oil and almonds for example? As long as I get the 150g of protein, and don’t go over my total caloric intake for the day, is there an issue with that? I’m finding gyms everywhere I go so I’m working out 4 days a week.



    • Nice work, Jonothan. Yes, you can replace the carbs with fats if you aren’t able to eat enough carbs.

      • JB

        Thanks Mike. My weekly average weight went from 68.45kg to 68.95kg the first two weeks of being out here, which is right on the money for the 0.5-1lb per week of gain. But now my weight has shot up to 70.35kg, seemingly overnight. Should that be concerning – I’m not sure whether that’s just muscle memory (I used to be 80kg at 10% bf), whether I need to dial back my calories a bit, or whether its just one of those “whooshes”. Caliper reading has increased by only 0.5mm.

        Does the 0.5-1lb per week ideal gain only apply to lean muscle gain, or total weight – in other words, should I be expecting my total weight on the scales to go up by only 1lb or will my total weight go up by more than that (i.e. 1lb of muscle + 1b of fat = total 2lb showing on the scales. Cheers for the continuing help.

        • Your weight can fluctuate quite a bit based on how much water you’re retaining, cheat meals, sodium intake, etc. There are tons of factors. What matters is the general trend over time. If you find you’re gaining more than 1lb each week, you should dial your calories back.

          The 0.5-1lb figure refers to overall weight gain. Some of it will inevitable be fat. More than 1lb/week and you’re putting on more fat than necessary. I hope this helps!

  • Carly

    I was curious if you had a take on Fairlife Ultra-filtered milk. I’m lactose intolerant and the Fairlife Whole milk is the closest to real tasty and creamy milk I’ve ever found. It has half the sugar of regular milk, has 13g of protein, 8g of fat, and 6g of carbs, and boasts of 9 essential nutrients. I use it to mix with protein or I’ll have a cup with dinner. Have you heard of it and do you have any advice about it?
    Thank you!

    PS I LOVE TLS!! Best fitness book I’ve ever read. I recommend it and BLS to all my friends and family.

    • Hey Carly, using Fairlife is fine 🙂

      I’m glad you love TLS. Thanks for spreading the word!

  • Steve

    Hi There! Seriously great article!! So many people just jump on the ditchdairy bandwagon without actual looking at the research out there which CLEARLY indicated milk is NOT bad!
    I do drink a lot of milk but my only scare with milk is the apparent hormones in it (Estrogen, prolactin etc) I know you noted above how they have no effect as their so miniscule etc, and i’ve re searched it so much and 100% agree with you but i can’t get out of my head a few of the things i’ve read about Estrogen in milk etc!!

    Would you be able to re assure me in anyway, maybe telling me how much milk you have drunk on daily basis and for how long have you consumed this much and also what type of milk did you consume (Whole milk, 2% etc..?) Then did you experience any negative effects in terms of libido, testosterone, general energy or anything else etc?
    Or maybe you could re assure me by telling me of clients you work/worked with who consumed lots of milk over a long period of time with no negative effects, or just people in general who consume a lot of milk.. and i speak about WHOLE milk specifically as thats what would seem to have most of the hormones in it opposed to low fat milk types! Thanks man, I’d really appreciate this!!! I need my mind quietened so i can get up to a gallon of milk!

    • Hey Steve, I typically have half a cup to a full cup of whole milk a day with no negative effects whatsoever. I do think it’s a good idea to limit your exposure to certain hormones and chemicals found in our food, environment, skin care products, etc., but the levels in milk at these quantities are so minuscule, it’s nothing to worry about. I also wouldn’t recommend drinking a gallon a day, though. Check this out: https://legionathletics.com/gomad-diet/

      • Steve

        Thanks for the reply Mike! Yeah i totally agree.. Just needed that extra re assurance! But just to confirm.. even in the higher quantities of say for example i was consuming 1-3 quarts of whole milk, like 50-200g cheese, quite a bit of butter maybe 50g maybe more , ice cream.. (I am a seriously skinny guy atm so these extra calories will be great for me) but do you think these quantities would not be an issue? Or do you think there is a limit to the dairy products to avoid problems in terms of the estrogen content or are the amounts still so minuscule they shouldn’t have an effect at this amount or any high amount of dairy? Thanks Man!

        • You should be fine. Even if you drank 1.5 gallons of whole milk in a day, you’d increase your total estrogen levels by no more than 1%. That said, there’s also plenty of other foods you can eat to increase your calories besides whole-fat dairy. Check this out: https://www.muscleforlife.com/food-to-gain-weight/

  • Flo

    Hello, is ot true that skim milk can’t be absorbed by the body because of the lack of fat? Just curious because I read it somewhere and im concern because maybe all this time I’ve been drinking milk for nothing…

  • wasteitz

    I drink a lot of milk. I am 67 years old, feel great. The one consistent habit I have maintained all my life is drinking milk, daily. Now, this might just be me…….however, milk has been a great source of well being all my life…………will certainly let you know how things are going when I’m 90.

  • Ahmed

    Hello Steve,

    Great assurance given through this article thanks.
    The question I have is I use to drink 3-4 cups of whole milk a day for a while when I wasnt consuming enough calories so this method was helping in that cause however after a while on a night I use to struggle to get my breath sometimes not sure if its because I was drinking the whole fat milk (blue lid) and it was causing blockage I felt by just sitting there as it was mostly fat.

    Would you be able to clear this up for me please or would that not have any sort of this effect?


    • Hey man, unless you’re allergic to milk, it shouldn’t cause any breathing issues. If you were pounding food, then you also could have just been extremely full, but it sounds like it was something more than that. If it’s really that much of an issue, it might be worth talking to a doctor.

      • Ahmed

        Oh yeah it sounds right actually I did use to make up for plenty of calories before bed on a night that too with milk which probably wasn’t a good idea

        Thanks for the reply mate 🙂

  • J slom

    Mike i had some family telling me how bad dairy is for you especially cheese. Of course i didnt believe them and your article backs up my thoughts. JW Does same apply to cheese when you are talking about milk and dairy? I could understand lossing nutrients when cheese is made but any evidence having same benefits of milk or does something about cheese have negative health effects. Thanks.

    • Hey man, all foods are going to have pros and cons. Cheese is higher in calories in general, but several of the studies on heart disease and obesity have included cheese in their analysis (and one showed that higher cheese consumption in particular was linked with better outcomes), so no, there’s very little evidence that cheese is different from regular dairy in that regard.

      • J slom

        Awesome thanks. This is kind of a followup research question. How do you know the research you’re finding is correct (cumalitive studies, peer reviews..etc.) and not just fullfilling your predispositions. Just wondering as im sure if I searched milk bad for health i could find a Vegan study which shows it is but is probably flawed in way study was conducted. How do you which studies to trust.
        Thanks again.

        • Great question!

          When I’m writing articles, I make recommendations based on what’s called the “body of evidence,” which basically just means looking at all of the available research, breaking down individual studies based on their methodology, and then seeing what they show.

          For instance, many people say that you can find studies proving low-carb diets are better for weight loss, and they’re right–those studies exist. Dig into those studies, though, and you’ll see that every single one gave the low-carb group more protein, which was responsible for the results. If you look at all of the research, though, the majority show that high-carb diets are better when protein intakes are matched.

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