Is Milk As Vital To Us As We Thought?

In 2006, the highly respected British Medical Journal published an article addressing dairy foods, stating that childhood obesity is rising in highly-developed countries and that dairy is one of the main contributors to fat and sugar in children.

Dairy, the main source of calcium that is touted by many national nutrition guidelines, can also contribute to some types of cancer, the article said. It went on to point out that almost 3/4 of the global population is lactose intolerant at weaning age, being unable to ingest milk and other dairy foods.

Thanks to the deep pockets and lobbying success of the dairy industry, people are led to believe that dairy foods are THE foods for building muscle and bones and keeping the skin supple. Calcium is the wonder mineral, the industry advises, saving everyone from heart disease, arthritis, obesity and more.

In the 1970s, Dr. John McDougall found that vegetables, fruits and starches were more helpful for people who need calcium instead of drinking too much milk. In short, he realized calcium needs were more than met by having adequate amounts of plant-based foods plus 15 min. a day of sunlights to help Vitamin D fix the calcium in bones.

And more researches have concluded that too much milk may contribute to acidify the blood and consequently demineralize the bones, leading to loss of calcium because it’s used to restore the proper blood ph.

One problem with convincing people that dairy is not their only option for calcium, nor is it the best option for children is that it tastes so darn good. Many people adore ice cream and cheese, as well as “healthy” yogurt. It has been shown that sugar is added to most of dairy products like favored milk or yogurt to make them so delicious.

It is true that cow’s milk is meant to cause growth. After all, a 60-pound calf becomes a 600-pound cow in less than eight months! This is due to the fact that cow’s milk contains 50 percent fat, as well as sodium, potassium, calcium and other growth nutrients. Dairy foods also increase growth hormones, one of which is IGF-1, or Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1. From just one pint of milk a day, there is a 10 percent increase in IGF-1 in adolescent girls.

The problem with this “growth hormone,” a seemingly benign thing, is that it also causes the acceleration of ageing as well as certain cancers. Not only that, but IGF-1 increases the body’s supply of estrogen which, despite it being pushed as a bone-builder, has also been shown by study after study to increase prostate, uterine and breast cancers.

The dairy powers that be say that dairy foods are ideal weight-loss tools. However, in 2003 the Journal of Nutrition published a review article that negated that premise, saying there was “little support” for the idea that dairy reduced body weight.

Luckily for the growth in alternative medicine, media and illnesses overcome by experimentation, many people are finding they are thriving and flourishing by substituting their dairy with alternatives such as rice milk, almond milk, oat milk and several other plant-based, milk-like substances without added sugars or additives (next weeks will teach how to make those milks at home easily).

The cow is no longer the sacred nutritional must-have it once was. Although there is little harm in indulging in a dairy product a few times a week, by switching to a plant-based alternative you’ll be doing your body and palate a great service.