Study Reveals Historical Reason Why Milk Is Healthy For Humans
When I was a kid, there were 2 things I loved drinking.
Chocolate Milk and Milkshakes.
Heck, if I weren’t so concerned about my health and body, I’d probably get half my calories from those 2 beverages.
So if you’re wondering why I love talking about milk, there you go.
Recently, in an issue of Nature, Andrew Curry wrote this article:
Mr. Curry brings a number of fascinating historical facts and myths of interest in relation to dairy.
But here’s the most important…
Milk Was Quite Important For Reproduction
The ability to digest dairy beyond childhood (i.e., the ability to keep producing lactase) arose from a few independent mutations, but the largest and most influential mutation (in terms of the number of people affected) occurred only 7,500 years ago.
That was well after even the agricultural revolution.
One of the most interesting things he points out is that the ability to digest milk was highly advantageous from a reproductive perspective.
People who could digest milk in adulthood “produced up to 19% more fertile offspring than those who lacked it. The researchers called that degree of selection “among the strongest yet seen for any gene in the genome.”
That is an incredibly strong selective pressure, and it’s little wonder that the trait spread so fast among humans.
It’s likely that the nutrient density of dairy, along with the ability to store the dairy for extended times in cold climates led to even bigger advantages.
Is Milk Healthy To Drink?
I didn’t drink milk for quite a while, instead believing that all dairy was problematic. Turns out I was both wrong and deprived.
Mr. Curry’s paper is more interesting than it is prescriptive, but to the extent that you can tolerate dairy and can find raw or fermented forms, it’s pretty good epidemiological evidence that humans have thrived on it.
Even if you’re not trying to reproduce, I think it’s one more vote in favor of raw milk.