“Milk does the body good” ? Or does it? Milk is marketed in a way that makes us all believe it is good for us. It has protein and is the “best” source of calcium, right? We are lead to believe that if we don’t consume dairy, then we will be calcium deficient. From that powerful marketing, dairy became a staple in the typical Western diet. Some of the most common products are milk, ice cream, butter, yogurts, and cheeses.
Even though dairy does contain some calcium, the way your body processes dairy foods may not actually provide you with the benefits that calcium offers. Dairy is very acidic and when we consume milk, our body has to release valuable minerals such as, magnesium, calcium, and potassium in order to help re-balance the pH level from the acid. Keeping your pH (alkaline) balanced has been shown to prevent chronic diseases like hypertension, arthritis, diabetes and low bone density and fractures.
A study of ten different countries, performed by a professor of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health and published in 1986, showed that the consumption of calcium from dairy was the lowest in Hong Kong and Singapore — where they also reported the lowest rate of hip fractures. The United States consumed the most amount of calcium from dairy and ranked the highest incidence of hip fractures.
Dairy can also trigger an inflammatory response in your body which has negative effects on our health. These symptoms are; leaky gut, bloating, swollen appearance, lethargic, chronic infections, and allergies. Chronic inflammation can cause your body to produce cortisol. Cortisol indirectly acts on your bones by blocking your calcium absorption, which decreases your bone cell growth. High levels of this stress hormone has also been linked to several types of cancer.
A Harvard study of 20,885 men published in 2001 showed that men having 2 1/2 servings of dairy products daily had a 34% increased risk of prostate cancer, compared with men consuming little or no dairy products. A separate study, this one including 47,871 men, had shown much the same thing — men having two or more milk servings each day had a 60% increased risk of prostate cancer. Dairy is also loaded with saturated fat. This “bad” fat leads to heart disease and other serious health problems. Unfortunately, in the standard American diet, dairy products were the largest source of saturated fat being consumed. Typical cheeses are about 70% fat, much of which is saturated fat. Skimming the fat from milk leaves a drink loaded with sugar. Lactose sugar contributes more than 55% of skim milk’s calories, giving it a calorie load similar to soda.
If that isn’t enough for you to cut back or cut out dairy…
Many people have a false image of what the dairy industry is and what a dairy farm actually looks like. The reality is far from the happy, smiley cartoon cow you see on the milk or ice cream cartoon.
It almost seems that many people just assume cows produce milk because that’s what cows do. They seem to forget that cows produce milk because they become pregnant just like us and their milk is intended for their calf. From a very young age, cows are forcefully impregnated every year and then sent to a slaughter house when they no longer can produce. Shortly after birth, calves are dragged away from their mothers never to been seen again. Like humans, cows too have strong maternal instincts so this is a painful process she experiences every time she gives birth. The milk she produces for her calf is then taken from her and sold to consumers. So what happens to the males when born? Well, they are either slaughtered shortly after being born or sent off to become veal.
At any given moment, there are approximately 264 million dairy cows living on dairy farms around the world and those cows produce an average of 600 million tons of milk against their will. Often these cows are bred and forced to double their milk production in order to keep up with the high consumption here in the United States. How are cows producing more milk? They are given growth hormones to produce 10 more pounds of milk per year. These hormones are passed on to YOUR milk! This growth hormone contains IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1) which humans already have. Increased IGF-1 is linked to early puberty in girls and men are 4x more likely to get prostate cancer. Unfortunately, dairy cows frequently get udder infections called mastitis because of the poor farming practices that cause cows to produce more milk than nature intended. They’re then given antibiotics to treat the infection (mastitis). As with growth hormones, antibiotics can then be passed on to your milk and dairy products.
The shocking realities of the dairy industry are becoming more exposed with time and people are beginning to see the truth behind their milk, cheese and ice cream.
Let’s do OUR part…
Cutting dairy will prevent cows from the pain and suffering of living an enslaved life of misery. It will also do wonders for the environment and it will make you healthier.
Healthy, plant-powered calcium sources can be found in beans, broccoli, kale, greens, bread, calcium-fortified cereals and beverages, whole grains, fruits (oranges, kiwi, pears, blackberries), peas, chia seeds, almonds, sweet potatoes, and lentils.
Replace your cow’s milk with non-dairy milk like almond, soy or cashew milk. You can also find AMAZING non-dairy ice cream options! These nutrient-dense foods can help you meet your calcium requirements without the health risks associated with dairy products. For additional calcium needs, you can also take a quality supplement.
Gerry K. Schwalfenberg, “The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?” J Environ Public Health 2012; 2012: 727630.
Azzouz A, Jurado-Sánchez B, Souhail B, Ballesteros E. Simultaneous determination of 20 pharmacologically active substances in cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and human breast milk. J Agric Food Chem. 2011;59:5125-5132.
DiCalcium Malate, Calcium Supplement by Thorne
Does the truth about dairy surprise you? I would love to know in the comments.