Truth About Dairy Part 2
Last week I shared my perspective on the role of dairy in our diet. Today I would like to pick up where I left off by dispelling a few more dairy myths and half-truths. So, lets take a look at the truth about dairy.
Milk and Kids
Milk is hurting our children. A 2005 review published in Pediatrics showed that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children. Not only is it not a benefit, it is a detriment to their health. Dr. David Paige of Johns Hopkins proved the harmful effects of dairy to children in the 70’s.
Florida researcher, Robert Cade, M.D., has identified a milk protein, casomorphin, as the probable cause of attention deficit disorder. Dr.Cade found Beta-casomorphin-7 in high concentrations in the blood and urine of patients with either schizophrenia or autism.
Milk and Women
Women are told to drink milk to ward off osteoporosis. The belief is that dairy products contain calcium that will help. The reality is that cow milk is not designed to be consumed by humans. Ingesting dairy actually creates a state of acidity in the body. This acidity causes the body to pulls salts and minerals from the bones in an effort to rebalance. The leaching of these essential minerals and salts actually weakens the bones.
The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, that followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk. Not only does it fail to increase bone density but also it is actually linked to breast cancer, diabetes, iron deficiency and obesity.
Even more frightening, ovarian cancer may have a few links to dairy consumption. Milk contains a sugar called lactose, which when broken down in the body, turns into galactose.
There have been studies done, particularly one in Sweden, which showed GA lactose might be toxic to ovarian cells and linked to ovarian cancer. In the Iowa Women’s Health Study, it was found that women, who consumed more than one glass of milk per day, had a 73 percent greater chance of ovarian cancer than women who drank less than one glass per day.
To round out the risks to women, there are high amounts of cholesterol and fat in dairy that can increase the risk of heart disease, the number one killer of women.
Milk and men
Certain cancers, such as prostate cancers, have been linked to dairy consumption. This is thought to be because they contain IGF-I, which is insulin-like growth factor, found in cow’s milk.
One study showed that men who had the highest levels of IGF-I had more than four times the risk of prostate cancer, compared with those who had the lowest levels.
The calcium conundrum
Many drink milk for its calcium. But milk alone is not really the ideal vehicle for calcium absorption. The body needs other nutrients if it is going to absorb calcium. Other nutrients include boron, vitamin D and magnesium.
If you want to raise your calcium intake, consider eating plant foods rich in calcium that have the other nutrients naturally within them. If it is from a grown food source, the calcium is bioavailable, meaning the body can actually absorb and use that calcium.
Try collard greens, kale, broccoli, bok choy, brussel sprouts, figs, tahini and beans. Not only do these have calcium, but they also have the necessary magnesium that helps the body absorb the calcium as well as boron and vitamin D.
Why are we still drinking milk?
Why hasn’t milk production slowed since we first began studying its effects in the 70’s?
There are many reasons for this. One of the main reasons is that milk has a huge industry behind it with a carefully crafted public image. With movie stars like Salma Hayek doing its advertising, milk has raised its profile to “cool yet nutritious” status.
Celebrity milk mustaches were in just about every publication you picked up. Who could argue with a thin, muscular athlete touting; “Milk does a body good!”?
Another truth about dairy is that humans may be “addicted” to dairy.
Human mother’s milk contains opiates to calm a baby, soothe it and keep the baby suckling. A cow’s milk has similar opiates. Yes, even organic milk contains a powerful opiate in the morphine family called casomorphin.
To make matters worse, the concentrated dairy products such as ice cream, whipped cream and cheese have increased levels of these narcotics. Which explains why these items are so very addictive! See, you aren’t crazy.
What can you do?
If you want to eliminate dairy, there are two ways to go. One way is to give up dairy cold turkey. The second option is to adopt a “Step down” approach.
The “Step down” approach recommends you make a gradual introduction or elimination.
If you choose to step down your dairy intake you can begin by adding a dairy alternative to your existing carton of milk. There are so many wonderful and delicious dairy alternatives; most find making the swap an easy thing to do.
As you consume your milk, you continue adding the alternative. This helps acclimate you to the taste of your alternative. Try vegan milks, like rice, hemp or coconut milk.
There are so many to choose from, you are bound to like one.
This applies to cheeses and condiments as well. There are amazing nut and grain cheeses that substitute for cow milk cheese. Some of them melt better and taste better then others. Go to your local market and sample what is available. Test them out in your favorite recipes.
The key to success is to make the elimination process as easy as you can.
Good luck; you can do it!
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