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A demand for extra servings of milk or, rather, milk information

October 20, 2009 |  3:02 pm

The thirst for knowledge about milk must be unquenchable. Monday's Health section story assessing the merits of the more popular varieties of milk seemed fairly comprehensive to us. Not so to you guys.

The original story, Poring over facts about milk: cow's, goat's, soy, almond, rice and hemp, began: "Full-fat, low-fat or skim? Used to be, there weren't many choices to make over what to pour on your cereal. But the number of alternatives to cow's milk -- soy, goat's, hemp milk, more -- has steadily grown. Each has its fans: those who swear by goat's milk's creamy texture or who love almond milk's subtle, nutty flavor. But when it comes to nutrition, there's no clear winner."

We then explored the merits thereof. And readers responded "Yeah, but what about ..."

- The raw milk issue: "No mention of RAW Cow's milk in your article? No mention of pasteurization and homogenization killing good bacteria and enzymes? Next time, get a journalist to write the article."

Nice. While mentioning our appreciation of civil discourse (apparently unshared), we'll include a link to this story, by the same journalist, earlier in the year: The raw milk debate rages on

- The men-and-soy issue: "Elena, you mention the downside of soy without mentioning its libido dampening effect on men due to it's isoflavones?  Disappointed."

Don't be. She dealt with this topic last year in More soy, less sperm?, concluding that the jury's still out on soy's effects on men.

-- The oat milk issue: "What about oat milk?"

It's possible that we somehow misgauged the demand for, and curiosity about, oat milk -- and, if so, we'll certainly revisit the topic. But the popularity of oat milk seemed too limited to include it in our research efforts.

- The ethical issue: "Like all mammals, cows produce milk only after pregnancy and childbirth. To me it is morally repulsive to separate the mother cow from her calf so that humans can take the milk. Also abhorrent to me is that the cow is artificially inseminated every year and produces milk for 7 of her 9 months of pregnancy - all of which is taken for human consumption. Her offspring are sold for their flesh (if male) and repeat this sad cycle (if female). She is treated like a machine, when in fact, she is a living, breathing, feeling, being. From an ethical perspective, goat's milk is no better unless you are a baby goat."

We appreciate the passion, but it seems fair to point out that we included four plant-based options.

- The camel issue (seriously): "I have been hearing that camel's milk has become popular in Europe. Any word on this?"

There's this, published a while back: Camel milk on the menu? It says: "Health properties have played a key role in the fledgling camel milk industry’s marketing efforts.... The one thing camel milk lacks is fat; it has only 2% fat, compared with 4.5% in cow’s milk." We're not seeing much clamor for it here though.

- The biology and marketing issue: "The one very important issue that you failed to mention is that the United States is the ONLY country in the world that promotes milk consumption beyond infancy. The influence of the various dairy associations in this country would like every person to use milk for everything from doing the dishes to brushing your teeth, for obvious reasons. The problem is that milk really is not good for us; it has too much saturated fat and the calcium that is in milk can and should be gotten from vegetable sources that do not contain the heart harmful fats."

This one will join the future-article list.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Six types, we explored -- six. And still you're not happy.

Credit: Los Angeles Times