For most of us milk was one of our first foods, in childhood we’ve been told that it’s good for us and often at school we’ve been provided with a glass of milk.
Thinking about it, we are the only mammals drinking milk from childhood through to our adult life. To me that, in itself, is an argument that dairy shouldn’t be part of human adult diet.
What about eating dairy for health reasons? Milk has proteins and calcium, but similar health claims can also be made for meat which provides iron and proteins.
‘Drinking milk for nutrients it’s like inhaling cigarette smoke for oxygen’ – says Dr Milton Mills – in the documentary ‘What the Health’ .
Dr Campbell, in his China Study, identified dairy as a carcinogen where casein (milk’s protein) works almost as a trigger for cancer cells. A similar discovery was made by Dr Jane Plant, who was diagnosed with breast cancer while working in China. She and her husband figured that higher cancer risks may have had to do with diet – specifically, dairy.
Milk should be consumed at the early stage of calf’s life, so it’s full of growth stimulating substances. It might be a great thing for a growing baby cow, but it does also stimulate the growth of cancer cells, fat cells (epidemic of obesity). Saturated fat from dairy increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
We should also be aware of the hormones present in milk. Even if we opt for an organic dairy without any added hormones there are still oestrogens present. High oestrogen levels are believed to increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Dairy is high in saturated fat (65%) and that this increases LDL cholesterol which is in turn an established risk factor for Cardiovascular Diseases. A diet high in saturated fat also leads to an increased risk of dementia. The high potassium content in milk can lead to hypertension. Consuming dairy as a source of protein leads to a significantly higher mortality than obtaining protein from plant-based sources.
Dairy products, particularly milk, are often glorified for their high calcium content - critical to bone health. Is calcium a remedy for osteoporosis? Calcium may be an important mineral, but it’s not the only thing that can help us to strengthen our bones. With our modern way of living we often forget that we need to put some resistance on our bones, to keep them strong. Weight bearing exercises are crucial to avoid osteoporosis. These are not only weightlifting exercises in the gym, but we can also go jogging, aerobics or even dancing.
Our calcium needs can be met on a plant based diet, we just need to include green leafy vegetables, tofu, sesame seeds, tahini or fortified plant based milks.
The dairy industry has never told the truth about what is actually in milk: the multiple hormones, the saturated fats, the proteins, the sodium, the growth factors like IGF-I and the multiple types of bacteria and pus.
All of these are potentially harmful and have been linked to multiple human health problems such as asthma, acne, allergies, precocious puberty, Type 1 diabetes, endometrial fibroids and cancers such as breast, and prostate. Another factor is the concentrated casein protein in cheese which has been confirmed to be addictive and is considered by many to be part of the cause of the massive increase in obesity levels in the past few years.
To sum up dairy dairy can cause more damage than good. If we treat it as an occasional treat it probably won’t harm us, but I believe it shouldn’t be part of our typical daily menu.