There’s nothing that quite compares to the way milk has been ingrained as a staple in society’s diet. Well, maybe wheat, but that’s another blog post.
Dairy is not a “bad” food group in and of itself, it is a whole food containing lots of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium.
However, much of the population consumes way too much dairy, which means they are also getting those extra calories, along with sugar in the form of lactose which most of the world’s population can’t digest, causing problems like bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.
Did you know that most people stop making the enzyme lactase in childhood?
Though calcium is certainly necessary to "build strong bones”, it is easily obtained from other foods such as greens, sardines, salmon, beans, and almonds.
Calcium is actually more highly absorbed from beans and most greens than from milk. Did you know that 1 cup of cooked kale has the same amount of absorbable calcium as 1 cup of cow's milk? With more health-promoting micronutrients and fibre and without all the calories and sugar.
Hormone concentrations studied in milk have been found not to be outside of the range of what we make in our own bodies, however, by eating animal products (including meat and eggs), you need to be aware that you are adding extra hormones to your own supply, too much of which has been linked to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
In children, these extra hormones could lead to early puberty.
Milk is weight-gain food. Like I mentioned earlier, it is a concentrated source of protein, fat, and sugar, but not only that, it contains a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 which stimulates growth...of everything. In the words of Dr. Michael Kaler, MD, “the purpose of cow’s milk is to turn a 65-pound calf into a 700-pound cow as rapidly as possible”.
So if your goal is weight loss, you may want to rethink including dairy.
What about those old “Got Milk?” ads promoting weight loss on 3 glasses of milk a day? Well those results came from people also on a calorie restricted diet.
Dairy is also one of the most allergenic foods, along with peanuts, wheat, eggs, shellfish, and corn, and milk is probably the most common food that comes up on food sensitivity tests in my office. Food sensitivities lead to inflammation anywhere in the body causing all kinds of symptoms, from bloating to acne to joint pain.
Think a dairy-free diet might be right for you but think it’s impossible to eliminate dairy? Not so! Plenty of people around the world get by just fine without dairy. I've made it easy for you to make the switch...
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- Dr. Annie
Willett, WC. (2001). Eat, drink, and be healthy: The Harvard medical school guide to healthy eating. Simon & Schuster, NY.
Weaver, CM. (2009). Should dairy be recommended as part of a healthy vegetarian diet? Point. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(5): 16345-16375.
Lanou, AJ. (2009). Should dairy be recommended as part of a healthy vegetarian diet? Counterpoint. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(5): 16385-16425.