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20 Mar 2014
Myths and minutiae of milk (Image:Eye Tiffany Shop ubiquitous/rex features) In her new book, milk, food historian deborah valenze gives an exhaustive and sometimes intriguing account of all things milky Roman myth has it that the milky way was created after a peculiar domestic dispute.As the goddess Tiffany Rings UK Sale juno slept, her husband jupiter snuck up and planted his illegitimate son hercules at her breast.With just a few droplets of his wife's"Elixir of immortality", his otherwise mortal son could be granted divinity and eternal life. Yet hercules startled juno awake and, as she pulled away, her breast milk sprinkled the heavens and earth.Those droplets grew into lilies below, and formed the stars of the milky way above. This is just one of the many myths about the divine power of the white stuff that historian deborah valenze explores in milk.In occasionally tedious detail, she also tours the religious, social, economic, medical and scientific forces that have elevated milk to its staple status throughout much of the modern world.From early religious celebrations of milk in mongolian and indian culture to the modern debates over raw milk and the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone in industrial dairy farms to increase production, milk is certainly comprehensive in scope. Valenze shows that despite our modern day unease with adults consuming human breast milk, it was often recommended in the past as a curative for a range of ailments.And while the medical establishment is firmly behind the supremacy of breastfeeding for infants today, for the past 300 years medical opinion varied widely. As for cow's milk, we learn that, despite the fact that goats were more abundant and cheaper to keep, the greater versatility of cows and their products helped their milk rise to prominence.Valenze shows how in the 1700s some physicians recommended a cow's milk diet to treat conditions from melancholy to infertility.Fresh milk was also one of many remedies for dyspepsia(Though not, she notes, the preferred choice of charles darwin, who suffered with the condition). After the late 1800s, widespread use of pasteurisation led to a new era of milk safety, but valenze makes the case that it wasn't only louis pasteur who understood the antimicrobial benefits of heat.Indeed, german agricultural chemist franz ritter von soxhlet devised a working pasteurisation system in the same era, but as valenze notes in a rare moment of levity: "He remains obscure in the annals of history, probably because his surname could not possibly be turned into a technical-Sounding noun. " Milk contains plenty of fascinating facts and anecdotes, and raises intriguing questions about the gap between milk's high cost of production and low retail price, and whether lactose intolerance is a biological norm.Unfortunately, the results of such clearly exhaustive research are soured somewhat as these questions about present-Day issues are left unanswered. Well it may be true that the a1-A2 debate isn't publicly getting a lot of Traction, but scientific research is certainly verifying the health risks associated with a1 milk because of the dangerous peptide bcm7 it produces in the human digestive process.A1 milk has now even been identified as a risk factor in sudden infant death syndrome if it is drunk by a breast-Feeding mother.And in australia where pure a2 milk is widely available, why are sales taking off despite a big price premium?Because it works.A lot of people diagnosed as suffering lactose intolerance can drink the stuff without a problem, and parents of autistic children report remarkable benefits from switching them to a2.Before dismissing all this as"Nonsense", I would recommend reading Prof Keith Woodford's book"Devil in the milk"Which explains the science on this topic, and why the dairy industry and even food safety officials do not want this debate to get"Traction". I have read woodford's book.Thats why i am dismissing it as nonsense.Much of the 'science' in the book is so bad it is laugh out loud funny.Its obvious in many places that woodford doesn't understand basic biochemistry and that he couldn't even be bothered double-Checking some of his opinions against the literature.Its also clear from his book, and from having personally met and talked with him, that woodford is a conspiracy theorist.There is no conspiracy by the dairy industry or food safety people to suppress this stuff.It simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny. There is a difference between dismissing a scientific hypothesis as"Nonsense"And actually showing what is wrong with it, which no one has yet done with regard to the a1-A2 milk hypothesis despite the huge resources available to dairying interests.In fact they have hardly even attempted to respond to prof woodford's book, which they undoubtedly would have done if they could challenge it scientifically.They have preferred to remain silent.A major research trial designed to test the a1-A2 hypothesis(The so-Called fad trial)Is sometimes cited tulia.co.uk as proving there is no real difference between a1 and a2, but that trial was later revealed as being fatally flawed.That was eight years ago, and he has since moved firmly into the a2 camp.While the evidence for the a2 case increases, no one has produced good evidence-Based argument to controvert it.



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