Jessica Simpson shared a milk promotion — upsetting some followers. The current uproar over dairy explained.

Receiving criticism, Jessica Simpson recently shared an advertisement on Instagram promoting “Gonna Need Milk”— a modern take on the classic dairy slogan “Got Milk?”. The advertisement, shared by the singer earlier this week, is straightforward, showing Simpson in a white sleeveless shirt and black trousers, cradling a milk-filled glass and gazing into the lens. “Milk … does a body good,” her caption states.

Some commentators contested this notion. “Actually not true! Milk ranks as the least favorable drink for humans,” one individual commented. “Actually, milk is quite detrimental to our health, terrible campaign,” another remarked. Simpson hasn’t addressed the criticism publicly, which mirrors the disapproval Hailey Bieber faced last May for sporting a “Got Milk?” T-shirt on Instagram.

So what’s the controversy about? Dairy items, whether conventional or plant-based, have been under critique recently. Dunkin Donuts confronts a $5 million class-action lawsuit for an extra fee on non-dairy milk options, and oat milk is scrutinized for potentially causing surges in blood sugar levels.

This unfavorable sentiment towards the artist’s campaign and dairy products overall raises considerable questions about milk’s health effects. Here’s the perspective from experts.

Is milk a necessity for adults?

Experts concur that adults don’t have to consume milk. “There’s absolutely no requirement for grown-ups to drink bovine milk,” mentions Dr. Deborah Cohen, a clinical nutrition professor at Rutgers University, in conversation with Yahoo News. “People historically consumed bovine milk and health care experts endorsed it because it’s a prolific and readily absorbable source of calcium and vitamin D.” (Bioavailable pertains to the absorption efficiency of nutrients in the body.)

Aside from yogurt and cheese, other nutrient sources are not as potent, Cohen remarks.

Dietitian Karen Ansel, writer of The Calendar Diet, concurs. “Although not essential for adults, there are many compelling reasons to consume it,” she explains to Yahoo Life. “It contains top-notch protein which is highly efficient for bodily functions like muscle, hormone, and antibody production. Whey, one of its major proteins, is even used to create protein supplements.”

Nonetheless, it’s indeed feasible to obtain these essential nutrients from alternative sources, explains Jessica Cording, nutrition expert and writer of The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits For Managing Stress & Anxiety, in a discussion with Yahoo Life. “Honestly, one needn’t drink milk to fulfill their nutritional needs,” she adds.

“You’re certainly capable of finding these nutrients in other sources,” states Katherine Balantekin, a nutritional scientist and assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, in a conversation with Yahoo Life.

There’s an abundance of plant-based milk alternatives and other nutritionally enriched foods available, rendering reliance on cow’s milk unnecessary, states Cohen.

Could consuming milk be harmful?

In the U.S., dairy milk has seen a drop in popularity. The Generation Z demographic in 2021 purchased 20% less milk compared to the overall national figure, as reported by the New York Times.

However, declaring milk as “the most unfavorable drink for humans” is a severe assertion, and panelists aver that’s an exaggeration. “Interest has surged in plant-based diets, along with vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, leading to decreased cow’s milk consumption,” Cohen notes. “There’re concerns and misconceptions about dairy’s role in heart disease, cancer, and obesity, yet there’s no solid proof linking low-fat dairy to any of these claims.”

Cohen also cites worries about bovine contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and concerns over the long-term production of milk from cows.

Cording mentions the milk backlash is “intriguing,” observing that “milk tends to provoke strong reactions—it’s highly divisive.” Conditions like lactose intolerance or a dairy hypersensitivity may affect one’s comfort with milk consumption, she notes. Yet, for the general adult populace, she advises there’s no risk in enjoying a serving if desired.

“The decision between plant-based milks boils down to personal preference,” she adds. “Something being plant-derived doesn’t inherently make it beneficial,” she cautions, pointing out the added sugars frequently found in these products. For those who opt for non-dairy milk, she recommends scrutinizing the nutritional facts for added sugar content and the presence of fortified essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and protein.

“Plant-based milks serve as a fantastic option for those who either wish to consume milk or use it in culinary applications such as baking but adhere to veganism,” Cording concludes. “The current market offers a broad spectrum of plant-based milk varieties like soy, almonds, oats, hemp, cashew, coconut, rice, macadamia, and pea milk.”

Yet, for those who choose traditional cow’s milk, experts suggest there’s no argument against it.

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