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Overview

Milk is a nourishing liquid produced by the mammary glands in female mammals. Milk is rich in proteins, fats, and even Vitamin C which help feed young offspring that cannot digest regular food yet. Milk also carries vital antibodies from the mother that protect the young from diseases and bacteria. Milk comes from many animals, the most popular drinking milk in the United States is cow milk. Over 90% of the world's supply of milk comes from cows, most of which is delivered in the United States. Once the milk is harvested it can be left in it's regular form or the milk can be turned into a variety of other delicious flavors such as, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Milk can also be processed into other dairy products including yogurt, butter, cream, ice cream and various types of cheese. Curdled milk (milk that has soured naturally or by adding lactic acid) is often eaten as cottage cheese, or in the case of soy milk, Tofu.
 
Interestingly, human beings are the only animals (save cats) that drink milk after infancy. The enzyme "lactase" which breaks down the lactose found in milk is the most abundant in the body at birth. As the animal gets older, their lactase supply dwindles unless they consume regular quantities of milk. Biochemists have discovered that over 50 million americans (Including the majority of those from Native American or African American descent) are at least partially lactose intolerant (meaning their bodies contain minimal if any of the lactase enzyme) and therefore cannot digest milk. Yet, despite this, milk remains one of the biggest and highest grossing industries in the western world. In 2007, the New York Times found that the rise of the middle class in China, as well as worldwide economic growth caused milk prices to increase dramatically, rising above the subsidized prices in the United States.

Milk is an item in many games. In some games milk acts a way to restore life. A good example of this is in the Legend of Zelda series of games. In those games Link can drink milk from a bottle and restore up for five hearts. Each bottle also contains two gulps of milk for Link to enjoy. Also, Frank West from the first Dead Rising game can drink milk or coffee creamer (A similar dairy product that is strangely brown colored in the game) to replenish his health. Some games, like World of Warcraft, still treat milk as a healing item though not for Hit Points. Rather, milk can be used to recover Magic or Hunger. Although milk comes with many different degrees of fat (2% milk for example), video games rarely distinguish milk as such, preferring to use the generic "milk" along with some kind of adjective or modifier like "Moo Moo" or "Ice Cold" in the case of Pokemon and World of Warcraft respectively. 

Controversy 

On an episode of GiantBomb's Giant BombCast an intense argument erupted over what real milk is and some argued that organic and hemp milk is just not the real stuff. However, scientists have proven that organic milk is still very much milk. 
 
Another controversy surrounds the use of rbST, otherwise known as Bovine Growth Hormone. Milk Producers use this hormone (created by genetically modified E. Coli) to increase the amount of milk a cow produces. Many countries, including the European Union, frown upon the use of the hormone in milk production, despite there being no significant scientific studies showing the hormone to be harmful in anyway to humans or the cows, as the cows produce the hormone naturally. However, the hormone does stimulate insulin-like growth factor 1 (or IGF1) production in the liver, which in large quantities has been linked to various types of cancer in human blood. As of now, the FDA deems the milk containing rbST safe for consumption. 
 

Fun Facts

  • It takes 10 pounds of milk to make a pound of cheese, 21 pounds of milk to make a pound of butter, and 12 pounds of milk to make a single gallon of ice cream.    
  • Milk costs more than gasoline in many areas of the United States.
  • Milk is comprised of 85%-90% water.
  • A single cow produces around 200,000 cups of milk in it's lifetime
  • The pasteurization of milk was part of the steps taken to prevent tuberculosis outbreaks in the 1800s
  • Goats milk digests quickly (20 minutes) compared to cow milk (1 hour)
  • Early explorers would bring goats with them aboard their ships as an easy source of water and sustenance.
  • Milk from camels is easier to digest for lactose intolerants and contains more Vitamin C
  • Camel milk also contains significant quantities of insulin, and can be used to regulate diabetes in impoverished nations.
  • Milk is unique in it's nutritional value; few other natural liquids have so many vital nutrients and vitamins.

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