Recently, the rhetoric that milk is harmful has become more common. Milk is said to cause an increase in cardiovascular diseases and bad cholesterol (LDL) and trigger cancer. Also, if you are in gyms, you must have heard from someone that milk increases subcutaneous fat and you should not drink it.

First of all, let's start to deal with this issue by evaluating the health of milk and dairy products.

  • Dairy products are a source of quality protein. Milk containing whey and essential amino acids, especially the amino acid leucine, promotes muscle growth and facilitates weight management and helps balance your blood sugar (1).
  • It is a very good alternative to sports drinks due to its protein, carbohydrate, water and sodium content and it is cheap to buy. It reduces muscle fatigue and prevents muscle breakdown. It helps you replace the fluid you lost during sports (2).
  • Fermented dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are important nutrients for your intestinal health, so they have a positive effect on your protection from chronic diseases (1).
  • High-fat dairy products are said to increase the concentration of bad cholesterol (LDL), indirectly you might think that this increases the risk of heart disease, but it actually depends on the size of the LDL cholesterol particles. Small and dense LDL particles, also found in dairy products, are more atherogenic, meaning they are prone to intravascular fattening. 

But; minerals in dairy products are reported to attenuate the increase in blood LDL. (3, 4) As a result, although high-fat dairy products (especially cheese) contain saturated fat, they do not raise bad cholesterol as much as thought.

  • Containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K is very important for bone development and health.
  • When it comes to CANCER;

Positive Effects of Dairy Products on Cancer Protection: Contains calcium, lactoferrin and there are type of fermented dairy products;

Negative Effect: It contains Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF-1).

In some studies, it is said that consumption of dairy products can increase the risk of prostate cancer. After consumption of milk, casein in milk increases IGF-1 release from the liver. There are studies showing that increased IGF-1 is associated with cancer, but the possible mechanism has not been revealed yet (5).

As a result;

Consuming 200-300 ml of milk or dairy products a day does not cause cardiovascular diseases or an increase in bad cholesterol (1).

Although the accuracy of the known bad properties of milk, especially fermented milk product is not certain but the positive aspects have been researched and clarified in many studies.


 If you want to consume plant based milks rather than cow's milk, you should not choose those with added calcium chemically, because; It is said that calcium in inorganic form increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (6, 7). Calcium in animal based dairy products is in organic form and is still mentioned in many scientific articles as our primary source of calcium and its importance is emphasized.


  1. Thorning (2016) Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence
  2. Lewis J. James (2018): Cow's milk as a post-exercise recovery drink: implications for performance and health, European Journal of Sport Science
  3.  Lorenzen JK (2011) Dairy calcium intake modifies responsiveness of fat metabolism and blood lipids to a high- fat diet.
  4. Soerensen KV (2014) Effect of dairy calcium from cheese and milk on fecal fat excretion, blood lipids, and appetite in young men.
  5. Harrison S. (2017) Does milk intake promote prostate cancer initiation or progression via effects on insulin-like growth factors (IGFs)? A systematic review and meta-analysis.
  6. Weaver CM. (2014) Calcium supplementation: is protecting against osteoporosis counter to protecting against cardiovascular disease?
  7. Bolland MJ (2013) Calcium supplements and cardiovascular risk: 5 years on.