Is mother's milk an elixir of health, even if it doesn't come from your own mother and you happen to be an adult man? Apparently, a lot of men believe so, according to A. Pawlowski of Today. "In an unusual twist, some men are turning to human milk in a quest to bulk up or improve their health, believing all the benefits it provides to infants can produce similar effects in adults," she writes. In case you don't have a lactating and cooperative woman on hand—most men don't, it turns out!—there are plenty of women online happy to sell it to you.
To learn more about men who drink breast milk, Pawlowski spied on discussions on Bodybuilder.com, where breast milk was treated like some kind of super-supplement. "But in my eyes anyone who is not lactose intolerant is selling his gains short if he is not supplementing with breast milk and a lot of it," writes one member, while making wild and unsubstantiated claims that famous weightlifters have had breast milk habits.
Chavie Lieber at The Cut interviewed some more men who swear by it, after getting plugged into the apparently substantial network of gym rats who guzzle breast milk. (In case you were running out of reason to avoid the grunting masses on the free weight floor.) "It gives me incredible energy I don’t get from other food and drinks," said one fitness enthusiast from Queens. "I believe it has kept me from getting sick all these years," said another man who got into it when his first child was born.
While everyone loves a fun breast milk trend story, Pawlowski is worried that these men, in their quest for perfect health, are overlooking some of the dangers of buying breast milk from unvetted sources, since it can carry diseases like HIV and hepatitis. She also adds that there's no reason to buy any of the claims that breast milk is some kind of super-food for adult men. She quotes Elisa Zied, a nutritionist, who says, "Bottom line: I find the idea of an adult using human breast milk for health benefits unsubstantiated by science." She points out that all the nutrients in it can be found in normal food sources that are more appropriate for adults, as well as less likely to have serious viral infections in them.
Of course, the fact that this appears to be a male-only endeavor that involves boobs suggests that maybe, just maybe, all this talk about health and fitness is just a cover story. One of the men Lieber spoke with was refreshingly honest on this front: "All I’ll say is it’s a fetish for me." And the discussion on Bodybuilder.com took a turn toward the pornographic, with men posting pictures of women pumping milk and making jokes about getting aroused thinking about it. I suspect these guys are never going to be convinced that eating a steak is as, uh, energizing as drinking breast milk.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.