Can you die from drinking too much milk?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “can you die from drinking too much milk?” with an in-depth analysis of can we die from drinking too much milk?..

Can you die from drinking too much milk?

No, you can’t die from drinking too much milk.The vast majority of published studies indicate that dairy consumption does not increase cardiovascular risk or the incidence of some cancers. 

Even though the available evidence is not conclusive, some studies suggest that milk and its derivatives might actually be beneficial to some population segments. (1)

Is it dangerous to drink a lot of milk?

Drinking too much milk can cause digestive issues such as bloating, cramps, and diarrhea. If your body is not able to break down lactose properly, it travels through the digestive system and is broken down by gut bacteria. Because of this reason, gassiness and other digestive issues can happen.(2)

What are the side effects of drinking too much milk?

Milk can present health risks for specific individuals due to its challenging digestion and absorption processes. 

Certain metabolic diseases and allergies can lead to negative effects, necessitating the elimination of milk from the diet. Two prevalent conditions that require the avoidance of milk are lactose intolerance and cow’s milk protein allergy.

Lactose intolerance affects approximately 75% of the global population and can impact individuals of all ages. It arises from an insufficient amount of the lactase enzyme, resulting in inadequate digestion of lactose. 

Consequently, symptoms such as flatulence, abdominal pain, and diarrhea may manifest after consuming milk and dairy products.

On the other hand, cow’s milk protein allergy predominantly affects children during their first three years of life. 

This allergy involves the immune system’s reaction to the protein components found in milk. It triggers the release of antibodies, histamines, and other defensive agents, leading to various allergic symptoms.

To mitigate the potential harm associated with these conditions, it becomes crucial for affected individuals to exclude milk from their diet. (2)

How much milk should you consume?

In the United-States, the national dietary guidelines recommend that adults should drink three cups or 732 mL/d of milk. Such levels of consumption are, however, rarely observed.(3)

The consumption of milk varies significantly across countries and continents, often leading to debates regarding its benefits or drawbacks due to the associated differences in disease prevalence or risk.

Milk and dairy products, known for their protein content, are widely acknowledged as sources of calcium. 

On average, milk provides approximately 1200mg of calcium per liter, which translates to 300mg in a 250mL cup. This amount represents approximately 25% of the recommended daily intake of calcium.

Considering this, it seems logical that dietary guidelines commonly recommend the consumption of one to three cups of milk or equivalent dairy products on a daily basis. (4)


How different types of milk can affect your health?

The health benefits associated with different types of milk can vary, and the topic of milk fat content has garnered extensive discussion. 

While conclusive evidence regarding the negative effects of saturated fat on cardiovascular health is lacking, the demand for low-fat and lower-calorie alternatives, coupled with minimal risk considerations, has driven the dairy industry to develop milk variants with reduced fat content.

The fat content of milk can range from 0.2% to 3.5%. As a middle-ground option, semi-skimmed milk typically contains around 1.6% fat. 

These variations in fat content accommodate the preferences and dietary requirements of individuals seeking diverse milk choices.(4)

Numerous factors have a notable impact on the quality of milk. Among them, the composition of milk fat plays a crucial role, which can be influenced by the nutrition given to dairy cows and, to some extent, through selective breeding practices.

Regarding the percentage of milk fat, roughly half of the observed variation among cows can be attributed to genetic differences. Collectively, these factors contribute to the diversity and unique qualities of milk found across different sources. (5)

The concentration and composition of milk fat can be influenced by dietary factors. When cows are fed diets that contain high levels of easily fermentable carbohydrates (such as starch) and unsaturated fats, the concentration of milk fat tends to decrease.

In contrast, incorporating rumen-inert fats into the diet can increase the percentage of fat in milk. It is worth noting that unlike non-ruminant animals, the composition of milk fat in ruminants is minimally affected by dietary fats.

However, even subtle variations in composition and manufacturing characteristics can arise from the consumption of different types of fats. These dietary factors play a vital role in shaping the properties and characteristics of milk fat.(6) 

Several processing operations, such as thermal treatment, chemical treatment, biochemical processing, physical treatments, and nonconventional treatments, can impact the nutritional quality of milk proteins, both positively and negatively.

On the positive side, these processing techniques can enhance the nutritional and therapeutic properties of proteins present in milk.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that intermediate or end products resulting from protein reactions during processing may pose potential concerns of toxicity or antigenicity if consumed excessively.

Therefore, while processing has the potential to improve the quality of proteins, it is essential to exercise caution and ensure that these operations maintain the overall safety and beneficial impact on milk proteins. (7)

Other FAQs about Milk that you may be interested in.

Can lactose intolerant babies drink breast milk?

Can lactose intolerants drink goat milk?

Benefits of lactose-free milk


In this brief guide, we have answered the question “can you die from drinking too much milk?” with an in-depth analysis of can we die from drinking too much milk?. 


  1. Visioli F, Strata A. Milk, dairy products, and their functional effects in humans: a narrative review of recent evidence. Adv Nutr. 2014.
  2. Silva, A. R. A., Silva, M. M. N., & Ribeiro, B. D.  Health Issues and Technological Aspects of Plant-based Alternative Milk. Food Research International, 108972. 2020.
  3. Mullie P, Pizot C, Autier P. Daily milk consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort studies. BMC Public Health. 2016.
  4. Pereira, P. C., & Vicente, F.  Milk Nutritive Role and Potential Benefits in Human Health. Nutrients in Dairy and Their Implications on Health and Disease, 161–176. 2017.
  5. Van Arendonk, J. A. M., van Valenberg, H. J. F., & Bovenhuis, H.  Exploiting genetic variation in milk-fat composition of milk from dairy cows. Improving the Safety and Quality of Milk, 197–222. 2010.
  6. Palmquist, D. L. (n.d.). Milk Fat: Origin of Fatty Acids and Influence of Nutritional Factors Thereon. Advanced Dairy Chemistry Volume 2 Lipids, 43–92. 2006.
  7. Borad SG, Kumar A, Singh AK. Effect of processing on nutritive values of milk protein. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 57(17).2017.