SL brainwashed by created milk powder “need” say medical experts
Thursday, 15 August 2013 00:01
By Uditha Jayasinghe
A top panel of medical experts yesterday urged the public to emerge from its “brainwashed” state of being unnecessarily dependent on powdered milk and urged for increased consumption of liquid milk as a solution to the DCD crisis.
Leading experts including Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) President Dr. B.J.C Perera, Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) Chairman Prof. W. Abeywickrama, Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anurudda Padeniya, Paediatric specialist Prof. Lamabadusuriya and UNICEF nutritionist Dr. Renuka Jayatissa were among those that called for a change in thinking.
Making successive presentations, they pointed out that milk is not an essential nutrient for adults and even if taken, should be limited to two teaspoons of milk powder a day. For babies, they insisted that breast milk was the best option, with exclusive use for the first six months and from then up to the end of two years.
“This idea of needing milk has been brainwashing into our psyche as a nation. Humans are the only mammals that drink milk continuously. Milk provides us with calcium and protein but these same nutrients can be sourced easily from other foods. Any adult eating fish, meat, eggs and pulses does not need protein from milk,” Dr. Perera explained, adding that world class athletes such as Usain Bolt and Susanthika Jayasinghe did not consume powdered milk on a daily basis.
Breaking down what they described as the “myth” of milk powder, Prof. Lamabadusuriya insisted that the best way to promote intelligence in children was to provide them with a stimulating environment and not provide them with artificially infused milk powders. He admitted that working mothers have practical issues in providing breast milk to infants but pointed out that feeding them before going to work and afterwards was sufficient for a child beyond six months.
Moving onto athletes, the professionals noted that millions of rupees are spent in buying various supplements that do nothing to increase talent, which is based on good genetics and training. They also made an appeal to sportsmen and women to make ethical choices when participating in advertisements and not promote false information to the public. They also emphasised that diseases such as osteoporosis could not be prevented by consumption of milk powder but rather through exercise.
They also made a collective appeal to the Government to improve the liquid milk industry and promote cost-effective alternatives such as locally produced cheese, cottage cheese, curd and yogurt.
Describing Sri Lanka as a “society driven by myths”, Dr. Padeniya called for the Health Ministry to maintain diet information on its website and implement a national nutritional food and safe food policy to reduce non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart attacks and kidney failure.
“Four people die of kidney disease in Sri Lanka every day and over 11% of the population suffers from diabetes. These are mostly caused by eating habits and low food quality. If we do not address this issue, we will be a nation of sick people soon. Such steps should have been taken 20 years ago but at least now we must act,” he stressed.
Pic by Lasantha Kumara