In the early stages of evolution, humans could not digest the milk of other animals. But now many people eat cow’s, camel’s, or goat’s milk. In this article you will learn the way people learned to eat the milk of other animals.
How did the human body develop the ability to digest the milk of other animals? Lately, various ‘competitors’ of animal milk have come in the market. Such as soy milk, almond milk – these are also becoming quite popular.
The BBC’s Michael Marshall writes in a report that human relationship with animal milk is thousands of years old. Its history is also full of very diverse ups and downs. Is it a ‘weird’ thing for a human being to drink the milk of another animal?
It has become so common for people to drink milk that if someone says – this is a strange thing – then the one who says this will become a strange person to you. Because we never think that way.
Milk is made from the body of a cow or any other animal – to feed its young. But what are people doing? They take out the milk by pressing the udder of the cow and eat it themselves. Isn’t that a strange thing?
But there are also cultures where eating animal milk is almost unknown to many.
On this day, in 2000, a campaign was launched in China to encourage people to consume more milk and dairy products for health reasons.
The campaign was met with deep skepticism from China’s elderly. Cheese made from milk can still make many people in China sick.
It is said that the history of the human species is about three million years old. Compared to that, the history of milk consumption is almost ‘new’.
About 10,000 years ago, people almost never ate milk.
It was very rare to play. The first people to start drinking milk were the peasants and pastoralists of Western Europe. They were the first people to adapt cows or other animals to domesticated animals.
It is now common to drink milk in Northern Europe, North America, and many other places.
There is also a scientific argument that it is ‘unusual’ for humans to drink the milk of other animals.
- Milk contains a special type of sugar – called lactose. It is very different from the sugars in fruits or other sweet foods. When we were babies, our bodies produced a special type of enzyme called lactase – which was supposed to help us digest our mother’s milk. But when the baby stops breastfeeding – many people stop producing that lactase.
- Without this lactase milk is not properly digested. So if an adult consumes too much milk, he may experience symptoms like flatulence, abdominal pain, cramps or diarrhea.
- In mammals other than humans, such as cows, dogs, and cats, lactase production stops when they reach adulthood.
- But many adults can digest milk by drinking it, because their body does not stop producing lactase. How did this happen to humans?
- The lactase enzyme for digesting milk is present in one’s body for a lifetime, but not in others
The first adult Europeans to drink milk – they probably had a lot of gas. But within a short time an evolution took place between them. Although they stopped breastfeeding, their body continued to produce lactase, with no adverse side effects.
This is due to the fact that a part of DNA has been identified – which regulates the activity of the lactase gene. This trend is called lactase persistence and its evolution, according to Lore Segurel, a professor at the Museum of Humankind in Paris. He says, “The first lactase persistence was observed among people in southern Europe about 5,000 years ago. And it was first seen in Central Europe 3,000 years ago. ”
At present, this tendency i.e. ‘ability to digest milk’ has become very normal among many people. In northern Europe, 90 percent of adults now produce the enzyme lactase. The same is true of some peoples in Africa and the Middle East.
But there are many people whose continued presence of lactase in the body is very rare. Many Africans do not have it. It is also not commonly seen in Asia and South America.
Why this happens is still a mystery
It is very difficult to find out the reason why some human groups have developed the habit of drinking milk and their body is producing lactase enzyme.
Mr. “It’s hard to say why milk has become so ‘important’, or why there are so many other sources of food, but why milk is so important,” he said.
One might say that by drinking milk people have found a new nutritious food, reducing their risk of starvation. But this argument does not apply very much in the case of scientific research.
People who cannot digest milk can also eat small amounts of dairy foods without any side effects. In addition, butter, yogurt, cream and cheese, which are made from milk, all have low levels of lactose. Cheddar and Parmiziano specialty cheeses contain only 10 percent or less of lactose.
“The thickest cream and butter have the lowest lactose content,” says Segurel. It is known that the technique of making cheese was invented by people very quickly.