Drinking milk increased the size of the human body

(ORDO NEWS) — The beginning of the mass consumption of raw milk, caused by the development of animal husbandry, coincided with a significant increase in height and body weight among Europeans.

Between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago, people throughout Eurasia and Northeast Africa were markedly shorter and leaner than they are today.

This continued until the mass transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and cattle breeding.

In different parts of the Earth, agriculture developed independently: for example, in Central and Northern Europe, people more often ate raw milk than people in Western Asia, who leaned more on cheeses.

However, unlike fermented milk products, raw milk contains much more milk sugar, lactose , for the digestion of which a special enzyme is required, which in most mammals ceases to work in adulthood.

Thanks to a special mutation, people “learned” to digest lactose, which provided them with a new high-energy food product that had a positive effect on body parameters.

To determine how increased milk consumption affected Europeans, an international team of researchers compared the height and weight of 3,507 human skeletons from 366 archaeological sites over 25,000 years.

This allowed a large amount of data to be collected from various locations around the globe and compared with genetic evidence of lactose tolerance or intolerance and with archaeological data on the spread of dairy farming.

As a result, it was possible to identify a clear trend in the increase in the mass and growth of people in regions where the development of dairy farming was noted, as well as the emergence and spread of a mutation responsible for lactose tolerance.

In other words, the mass consumption of milk had a positive effect on the physical condition of people, because now they were provided with a stable source of food.

Drinking milk increased the size of the human body 2
A local increase in height and body weight in Europe coincides with the appearance of lactose tolerance genes in humans

Some peoples of Africa can be considered an indirect confirmation of the results of the study – for example, the Masai, who are distinguished by high growth and at the same time a developed culture of dairy farming.

However, additional data will be required for final conclusions.

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