Panel 5 - Milk and dairy in human nutrition

Humans are the only free living animals that consume the milk of other species, and do so even beyond weaning. Three quarters of adults in the world are lactose intolerant, that is, lack the enzyme (lactase) needed to break down the sugar found in milk (lactose); this makes them unable to digest milk properly and leads to more or less serious digestive disorders.

The nutritional profile of milk is similar to that of meat. Both foods have similar amounts of saturated fat and protein. Like meat, milk completely lacks the fiber and hundreds of phytochemicals which are contained in plant-based foods, and which have been found to be protective against degenerative diseases such as coronary heart disease and cancers.

This panel examines the popular "myths" about milk and the scientific evidence of its real impact on human health.