man drinking a glass of milk

Adults Who Still Drink Milk: Are You Okay?

Growing up, my parents had my siblings and myself drink a glass of milk with almost all lunches and definitely every night with dinner. They told us it was an important part of growing “big and strong”. When we were lucky, we were given chocolate milk – a real treat! As adults, however, not many of us drink milk anymore. Personally, even the thought of drinking a glass of milk makes my stomach churn. I am apparently not alone in being surprised that there are still full-grown adults who drink just a plain glass of milk regularly. Not milk in their coffee or in their cereal, but a single, regular, plain glass of milk. The question remains: Is milk a healthy part of the adult diet? This is what we’ve found.

Is Drinking Milk As An Adult Weird?

An article written by a person named Daisy The Jones for Vice asked a very valid question: Are adults who still drink milk okay? Apparently, there is a huge number of people who are passionately against adults drinking milk.

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“Type “adult” and “milk” into Twitter and you’ll see Tweets like “I do not trust adults who drink milk” and “adults who drink milk straight from a glass disturb me”. Because it is disturbing. It’s like seeing an adult man wearing a t-shirt and no pants like Winnie the Pooh, or when people kiss their dogs on the mouth for ages, or when someone over the age of 16 uses the word “mommy” in a non-kink setting.” DaisyTheJones wrote. (1)

She notes that this sentiment isn’t just a vegan vs non-vegan thing. The idea of adults drinking milk is weird and means that there is something wrong with them has been used in cinema for quite some time. Daisy notes that movies such as Clockwork Orange, Inglorious Basterds, and Westworld all include scenes including weirdos and the films’ villains drinking milk. Many are going so far as to say that adults who drink milk are “unhinged”.

Daisy spoke to an adult who regularly drinks milk as his beverage of choice, and he can’t understand what all the fuss is about. For him, milk is an excellent recovery drink, contains important nutrients, and is tasty and enjoyable.

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“Milk is a rich and naturally occurring source of electrolytes – sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium – which makes it optimal for hydration,” he explained to Daisy. “It’s also a great source of whole proteins so works particularly well post-workout. It’s tasty, cheap and available almost everywhere. What’s not to like?” 

Read: Millennials are Bringing Back the Milkmen

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Is Milk Healthy For Adults?

This begs the question: Is milk actually healthy for adults to drink? Naturally, for the lactose intolerant or those with specific allergies, it’s a definite no. But for those who don’t have these milk issues, is it good or bad? Do adults need cow’s milk for good health?

While milk isn’t necessarily “bad” for your health (fully aware that there are people who disagree with this – that is a different conversation), experts agree that drinking cows’ milk is not necessary for good health. Vasanti Malik, an assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health, says that milk does have a lot of nutrients. Most notably, protein, vitamin D, and calcium. She says for children, it is a great option because they tend to eat a less varied diet than adults and are also experiencing rapid growth. Adults, however, typically do eat much more variety. The nutrients in milk they typically get in other places. She also says that adults aren’t growing the way kids are, so their nutrient needs are different. (2)

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“There’s really not a reason to consume milk unless you like it,” she said.

The Pros

Naturally, milk is a convenient way to protect your teeth and bone health. Pregnant women, especially, can benefit – including their growing baby. Research shows that mothers who ate healthy diets high in dairy and calcium-rich foods gave birth to children with stronger bones and teeth. It is an easy source of vitamin D, as well as has shown to be beneficial for heart health and diabetes prevention. (3)

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The Cons

There are many reasons, however, for adults to avoid milk. Research has connected cows’ milk to acne and other skin problems, allergies, an increased risk of bone fractures in women, cancers, and lactose intolerance. So, we suppose, perhaps it depends on who you are. Also, it depends on if you can consume it comfortably. If every time you drink milk your stomach hurts, or you notice other mal-effects after drinking it, perhaps it’s not the beverage for you.

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Wait – Bone Fractures From Drinking Milk?

As with most things in life, this seems to be a moderation thing. A Swedish study found that while drinking milk can strengthen your bones, drinking too much can have the opposite effect. They found that women who drank three glasses or more of milk each day had increased health risks than those who drank one or less. Men were less affected than women, however, the findings were still the same for both sexes. The experts say that this doesn’t mean ditch milk if you enjoy it, but keep in mind moderation.

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“If you want to drink milk for strong bones, I recommend no more than one glass a day,” said Dr. Gail Crsci. “Do this in addition to a mixed diet rich in calcium. If you are unable to consume adequate amounts in your diet, consider supplementation with about 1200 mg of calcium and 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D daily, especially in winter months.” (4)

Milk Alternatives

Naturally, there are many plant-based milk alternatives available on the market. These are not necessarily better for you or for your children – you need to read your labels. First of all, these are not typically high enough in protein or other nutrients to be suitable for children. For kids, especially little children, they lack appropriate fat, as well. For adults, look for no-sugar-added versions that are fortified with protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Organic is naturally best if you are able.

So, if you are an adult who drinks milk, are you weird? According to some, yes. But hey, if you like the drink, don’t let the haters get you down. Maybe just monitor your intake so you don’t override the beverage’s benefits.

Keep Reading: Why Americans Refrigerate Their Milk Even Though Much of the World Doesn’t

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Sources

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  1. Adults Who Still Drink Milk: Are You Okay?Vice. Daisy Jones. July 5, 2022.
  2. Do adults need to drink cow’s milk? Probably not, experts say.USA Today. Joshua Bote. January 29, 2020.
  3. Pros and Cons of Drinking Cow’s Milk.” Healthline.  Noreen Iftikhar, MD. May 11, 2020
  4. Can Drinking Too Much Milk Make Your Bones More Brittle?.” Cleveland Clinic. January 14, 2021.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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