Eco Comment – The Pros and Cons of Drinking the White Stuff

18 August 2023

‘The Future is Dairy Free’, or so says the headline for World Plant Milk Day 2023. Whilst I knew that there were lots of alternatives to cow’s milk, I had not been aware of this particular day in the calendar. It started in 2017 and is apparently attracting a lot of interest around the world.

‘From soy to oat to cashew to hemp: the diversity of vegan milks continues to grow in tandem with the global shift towards plant-based eating – a market predicted to be worth $74.2 billion by 2027.’

I can understand the financial rewards at stake but wasn’t aware of the reasons behind this shift, so further reading was necessary. I was surprised to find that cow’s milk allergies might be more common than allergies to peanuts, shellfish and eggs. I also learnt that dairy is not an essential food group, but for many it’s the easiest way to get calcium, vitamin D and some protein into a diet.

The move towards plant-based milks appears to be led by the concerns over animal husbandry and the treatment of dairy cows and their calves added to the health issues of dairy milk having an excessive amount of saturated fat, antibiotics and hormones, which can lead to health problems in humans.

The plant milk lobby has lots of statistics around the ecological issues and how plant milk is more sustainable for the earth. (To read more go to: Reasons to Switch on

At this point my eco comment could become very political as it depends on your socio-economic situation and where you live in the world as to the relevance of the subject. Suffice to say that most of us, by the fortune of birth can afford to make these choices.

Internet searches in favour of cows’ milk are few and far between, but there are benefits; it keeps muscles, bones, nerves, skin, teeth, skin and vision healthy. It releases energy from foods and reduces tiredness and fatigue. It helps maintain healthy blood pressure and supports normal growth and brain development.

However, it has to be said that most of the recent posts are much more guarded in their recommendations. Most now almost start with a health warning in that you have to be mindful about the type and quantity of the dairy that you consume, as it can lead to digestive upset and contain high levels of saturated fat and sugar.

Susan Morgan
Eco Group

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