Does Milk Do a Body Good?

For nearly three decades, American culture was inundated with milk commercials and billboards using celebrities to show proof that milk does a body good. But behind that infamous milk mustache, new research suggests that milk may not be doing your body good.

A genetically engineered hormone called rBST, also known as rBGH, can be found in 10% to 15% of milk in the United States. It may even be in the milk in your refrigerator. This hormone increases a cow’s ability to produce milk. According to Ecology Law Quarterly, although rBST has been banned in Australia, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Canada, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved its use in United States in 1993.

Injections of rBST lead to elevated levels of insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1) in cows. This is concerning, because consumption of milk with elevated levels of IGF-1 has linked to a higher risk for breast cancer. IGF-1 accumulates in breast cells and increases the risk of mammary tumors. A Harvard Nurses Health Study who drank multiple glasses of milk over a long period of time showed that women with higher levels of IGF-1 had a breast cancer rate seven times greater than those with normal levels.

Alternatives to Milk with rBST

  • Organic Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Hemp Milk

Other Research about Milk

According to a study by Harvard Public School of Health, women who consume approximately 3 glasses of milk per day have a modestly higher risk of ovarian cancer than those with lower lactose consumption, due to high levels of galactose, which is the sugar produced from lactose digestion that can possibly damage the ovaries and cause cancer. Men who consume two or more glasses of milk a day are about two times more likely develop advanced prostate cancer than men who don’t drink milk at all, due to increased levels of calcium, which is probable factor in prostate cancer.

While there is no reason to be fearful of the milk we drink, it is important to pay attention to what’s in it. Let’s make sure milk is doing our bodies good!



Au, T. (2011). Got (rbST-free) milk? The sixth circuit overturns Ohio’s milk labeling restrictions. Ecology Law Quarterly, 38(2), 571-578.

Havard School of Public Health. (2012). Calcium and milk: What’s best for your bones and health? Retrieved on June 19, 2012 from

Sibbald, B. (1999). European ban on bovine growth hormones should continue: expert. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 21; 161(6), 677.

Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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