eli5: Why is milk so important to the standard nutritional diet

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I heard 2/3 of the world is lactose intolerant, is this new? Or is there another reason

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Marketing campaigns. Really you can get calcium from various green vegetables… though milk does taste better than greens.

Most of the world being lactose intolerant(as adults) isn’t new at all. If anything, it’s more of the norm than the exception. IIRC the gene that codes for being able to handle lactose as an adult is a mutation, the *default* is lactose intolerance happening as an adult.
It’s theorized it started somewhere in the middle east, but the gene didn’t make it over the Himalayas so most of East Asia is lactose intolerant as adults. There are also theories that the gene wasn’t really that useful in areas that didn’t support dairy farming well.

Why is it important?
Milk itself, isn’t
The nutrients in it are.
Calcium, potassium, vitamin D, proteins, etc can all be had from other forms of diet.
It’s a little bit of marketing, and a little bit of “Well a bunch of nutrients that are important are in one drink.”

You can get proteins from beans, vitamin D from fish and the sun, calcium from kale. Milk just has a blend of all of them.

It isn’t. Milk is not horribly unhealthy, but it’s not particularly healthy either, and it doesn’t have anything you can’t get from other sources. The whole “you need milk to build strong bones!” thing was mostly marketing by the dairy industry: it is a good source of calcium, but you can pretty easily get a normal calcium intake by taking a multivitamin or eating certain nuts or greens (sesame seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and *Brassica*-related greens like kale are good sources).

It’s not *bad* for you, but it’s far from essential.

Phosphor.. Milk is one of the best sources for it, and phosphor is essential for the brain.

Being Lactose Intolerant doesn’t mean that you can’t drink milk at all. And people have lactose intolerance to varying degrees. Lactose Intolerant means that you have difficulty digesting the lactose sugar in milk. Depending on your health and that of your colon this can cause a variety of symptoms including diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, bloating and gas. Many people suffer from mild versions of these symptoms without ever realising that it’s being caused by Lactose Intolerance.

It’s likely been part of our human makeup for quite some time but elements of modern life have exacerbated the condition in many people – factors like overuse of antibiotics or anti-inflammatories which unbalance your gut flora or damage your gut health.