chapter  1
INTRODUCTION: On the “Specialness” of Milk
Pages 14

Growing up in the United States most of us have been told: “Drink your milk!” If we stubbornly refuse or ask why, we are admonished that drinking milk will “help us grow” or “grow strong bones.” These are ubiquitous messages in the U.S. and many other countries, especially those with well-established dairy industries, and increasingly in countries where milk traditionally has not been produced or consumed. Milk is endorsed by the U.S. government, appearing in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and its more familiar visual representation the Food Pyramid, which recommends that all Americans consume two to three servings of milk or dairy products each day. It appears as a strange white mustache on celebrities in print advertisements and on lunch trays at school. It probably was featured on posters in your elementary classroom and in whatever nutrition education you received in school. Perhaps you drink multiple glasses of milk daily, or despise the taste and avoid it like the plague, but regardless of their actual milk consumption practices, most Americans “know” that milk is something they “should” consume on a daily basis.