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Published on November 14, 2012

Spilled Milk – Causing Digestion Trouble?

All our lives, we’ve been told to drink our milk – it’s good for you and builds strong bones and teeth. But is it really so healthy? Can you drink too much milk? Is milk, in the words of Ron Burgundy from “The Anchorman," a bad choice?

There are some corners of the Internet that swear that milk is flat-out bad for you and is to blame for the decline of Western Civilization. However, assuming you don’t have lactose intolerance or other issues with dairy, milk and other dairy products are certainly good for you – they’re rich in vitamins, protein and nutrients. However, moderation is important; the classic line that too much of a good thing isn’t good for you can hold true.

Here’s a look at some of the gastric issues that milk can cause or contribute to, even for people who do not have lactose intolerance:

  • Acid reflux: Whole milk can contribute to acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. The fat content can worsen reflux symptoms, especially if you drink it on an empty stomach. On the other hand, low-fat or skim milk can reduce or relieve symptoms. So, if you reflux is bothering you, either dial back your milk intake or try some skim.
  • Acidity: Milk is an acid-forming food, and too much can cause issues. In extreme cases it can lead to acidosis, which can lead to problems such as osteoporosis and gout.
  • Constipation: Milk has protein – that’s good – but too much protein can lead to constipation. The reason is that the digestive system can struggle to properly process proteins, and therefore disrupt your bowel movements.
  • Cough: Drinking milk can make your cough worse; it can exacerbate mucus, so, if you are suffering from cough and sore throat, it’s probably best to lay off the milk, at least until you feel better.

Here are plenty of myths out there about milk and the alleged health issues it causes, but that appears to be fear-mongering for the most part, However, if you’re a big milk drinker and you’re having digestive issues, you might want to consider whether milk is the culprit.

Crozer-Keystone offers a range of board-certified physicians who are trained in the latest technologies and procedures to comprehensively diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and liver conditions. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://gi.crozerkeystone.org or call 1 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (254-7441).

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