Can You Survive Just Drinking Milk? What Would Happen?


Today, most people still include milk as part of their daily diet. It is rich in nutrients and often recommended for young children and adults with or without a calcium deficiency. Doctors tell us that calcium found in milk is good for the teeth and helps to build bone structure, and as we grow older it also helps prevent osteoporosis. But can one survive by just drinking milk alone?

Studies have shown that adults cannot survive by just drinking milk alone. However the opposite is true for babies as their only source of food in the early months is milk, especially human milk.

In fact, research has shown that for adults, drinking too much milk can do more harm than good. Let’s go into more detail.

Why Is It Not Possible To Survive on Milk Alone?

Milk does not contain Fiber, iron as well as Vitamins A and C which are very significant components of our daily dietary requirements. If we try to survive by just drinking milk alone, we are setting ourselves up for many health risks in the future such as anemia, scurvy, diarrhea and even premature death.

Milk also does not contain certain electrolytes and minerals and hence it is not considered a complete food for adults.

What Happens If You Only Drink Milk?

Beyond the nutrient deficiencies, if you only drank milk you would likely get an “overdose” of calcium. Unlike other nutrients like magnesium, calcium does not get flushed out of the body. Instead, it will tend to build up in the body and cause constipation and other potential digestive issues.

Also, some research indicates that too much calcium can lead to calcification issues like bone spurs, kidney/gall stones, and even heart disease or premature aging. Yikes!

How Long Can You Live on Milk Alone?

If you drank nothing but milk, you would likely develop nutrient deficiencies within a 6 month period. Similarly eating nothing but bread, it would eventually catch up with you.

So How Much is “Too Much”?

On average, if an adult drinks more than three glasses of milk per day it is considered “too much”. It has been found that drinking milk in excess can make a person (especially women) more prone to fractures and can also impact the mortality rate. Milk it is said does not even provide us with some of the important nutrients we need to help us lead a long and healthy life.

Why Is Milk Harmful?

Researchers have found that a sugar known as D-galactose which is present in milk has been linked to bone and muscle loss, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

If Drinking Too Much Milk Is Harmful, Should People Just Give Up Drinking It?

Just because milk does not contain certain dietary elements, it does not mean that it is totally harmful to our health. So we do not need to stop drinking it completely,

Milk is not all bad and not completely devoid of important nutrients. It actually contains some good proteins, fats, and carbohydrates as well as some valuable vitamins such as B2 and B12. Milk is also rich in iodine, potassium, and phosphorus. So feel free to drink milk if you like it, just remember to drink it in moderation.

What Other Foods Can Give Me the Calcium I Need?

There are many other dietary sources of calcium that are as easily available to us as milk is. You just might have to go into a grocery store rather than a convenience store to find them. So the next time you plan to go grocery shopping make sure to add these to your shopping list:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Soya beans
  3. Figs
  4. Greens such as Collards and Kale
  5. Cheese
  6. Yogurt
  7. Oranges

Another option would be to use a calcium supplement, like this one found on Amazon.

What Are Plant-Based Dietary Liquid Sources of Calcium?

Today there are several other healthy options available in the market that are good sources of calcium and other dietary requirements. Here are five alternatives you might want to consider trying:

  1. Almond Milk – high in magnesium and iron
  2. Coconut Milk- rich in essential minerals and vitamins
  3. Hemp Milk – Contains Omega 3 fats
  4. Rice Milk – Good amount of B vitamins and minerals
  5. Cashew Milk – good source of magnesium and potassium which is good for our cardiovascular health

Why Is the Milk Diet Popular?

For starters, this diet may be getting popular, but that does not mean that it is good for your health. I would say the main reason why some people are even considering it is because of its claim to help in weight management.

For anyone who knows nothing much about this diet, know that there are two versions of it. The first one is called the Extreme Version which involves drinking only skimmed milk for a whole month and there is a theory behind this. Apparently the extra amounts of calcium got from drinking such large quantities of milk helps in fat burning especially the fat in the abdominal area which ultimately leads to weight loss.

There is also the second version which is less extreme. This one involves drinking one glass of milk before every meal. This is supposed to help control portion size and as a result, decrease the intake of calories. It aims to provide the body with calcium which in turn works to decrease fat deposits in the blood.

A word of caution: This diet is also part of what is now commonly known as “fad diets”. In the long run, these can lead to eating and behavior disorders thus proving to be more harmful than beneficial to one’s overall health.

Why Are People Choosing Plant-Based Alternatives Over Cow’s Milk?

Over the years, it has been found that cow’s milk can be hard to digest. Today some farmers also inject their cows with hormones to help them produce milk more rapidly and in larger quantities. Antibiotics are also used to treat infections.

With the widespread health awareness campaigns around the world, people are becoming concerned that by drinking cow’s milk they might be at risk of ingesting some of these hormones and antibodies which could prove harmful to their health.

Closing Thoughts

It would stand to reason that if infants can live solely on milk that this would carry over to adults. If you think about it, though, milk obtained from cows was designed to be drunk by cows. Humans, on the other hand, have different nutritional needs. Of course, even calves stop drinking cows milk in 8 two 10 weeks.

Also, since drinking too much milk is now considered harmful several other healthier options have begun gaining popularity. In the past milk was known as the best source for all the calcium the human body requires. However, over time, we have come to learn that this is indeed not true at all.

Today science has found that there are many other foods that can provide us with the calcium we need. Besides cow’s milk has also been found to be very acidic in nature as well as very high in calories. Although there is nothing wrong with the number of calories it contains, it is the nutritional value of these calories that is being questioned.

Related Questions

Can you survive on milk and honey? You could not likely survive on milk and honey alone for more than a few months. That’s because, in tandem, they still do not contain all of the essential vitamins and minerals needed to sustain a human over the long term.

Is human colostrum good for adults? While drinking human milk and colostrum might have some health benefits, like reducing inflammation, commercially purchasing it is not recommended due to the possibility of passing on diseases like hepatitis, HIV, or syphilis.

For more, don’t miss Can You Survive on Canned Food? | Which Types to Store.

Jim James

Hey, I'm Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

Related Articles