Do adults need milk?

Recently there has been much controversy about whether adults really need to drink milk. Do we need cow's milk at all as part of a healthy diet, or can we also get the nutrients we need from other foods?

Dairy products are staple foods in Switzerland and have always contributed to a healthy balanced diet. The Swiss Nutrition Association (sge) recommends three portions of milk or milk products a day. Milk, yoghurt, quark and cheese can all be used to cover the daily requirement for dairy products. So if you don't like milk, you can simply choose cheese or yoghurt instead. You can find out how much of a particular food you need to eat in order to cover your daily requirements from the sge website.

Milk provides important nutrients

Dairy products provide many of the vital nutrients that the body needs on a daily basis. Protein and calcium, for example. Protein is an essential building block for muscles and the immune system. Calcium helps the body maintain healthy, resilient bones and protect against osteoporosis (bone loss). The body also needs it for healthy teeth.

Lactose intolerance

According to the aha! Swiss Allergy Centre, approximately 20% of the Swiss population suffers from lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance produce too little of the digestive enzyme lactase. This means that lactose cannot be broken down into its components, leading to abdominal pain, flatulence or diarrhoea.

Of course, it is also possible to obtain important nutrients such as calcium and protein from sources other than milk. Calcium is found in green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cabbage and spinach) as well as in fruit and cereal products. However, it is necessary to consume substantial quantities of vegetables in order to cover the daily calcium requirement. The body can obtain protein from meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, fish or shellfish. Optionally, dietary supplements can also be taken. However, the intake of products of this kind should be discussed with a doctor in advance. Another option is calcium-rich mineral water, which can be drunk as required.

Chocolate milk as a sports drink

Something that initially sounds as if it could take some getting used to turns out to make good sense. From a dietary perspective, it is important after exercising to replenish your energy stores with carbohydrates, to drink plenty of fluids, and to support muscle development with proteins. After a workout, chocolate milk (or simply normal milk) provides all these important nutrients in a single drink. However, drinking milk (or chocolate milk) when you are exercising or competing makes no sense since you usually do not need proteins or fats at that time.



In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.