by Curt MacNeill
For years the USDA and FDA have promoted dairy products in the Food Guide Pyramid as a healthy and nutritious part of our diets. But recent information has been showing more and more evidence of the exact opposite, that is that dairy products consumed in the USDA’s recommended amount can have dire consequences to you and your family’s health.
So what are the facts on dairy?
Does milk really do a body good?
Is it necessary to consume dairy products to get the government’s daily recommended amount of calcium?
As a certified nutrition educator, health coach and cutting edge personal trainer, I have found that there are prestigious people arguing opposing opinions on this topic until their faces turn blue!
“Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.”- The Current USDA recommendation for dairy consumption
Here are the facts on dairy products in three different categories: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Good- Argued by the dairy industry and proponents of milk.
- Milk contains high quality protein and essential amino acids that may be beneficial in building and maintaining muscle mass when combined with exercise.
- Milk may be an equivalent or better choice for hydration than other beverages because it replenishes electrolytes and fluids.
- Milk contains the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats to be a complete “meal”.
- Milk contains high amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D which helps strengthen bones and can reduce the risk of stress fractures.
- Milk contains B vitamins and nine other essential nutrients to make it a well-balanced meal.
- Milk contains high levels of electrolytes including calcium, potassium and magnesium.
The Bad- Opponents of milk argue a very different story.
- Milk is an inferior drink due to the pasteurization process. In this process, milk is heated at high temperatures to kill pathogens and other disease-producing bacteria. Unfortunately, this kills many of the beneficial nutrients in milk.
- The enzyme lactase, required to g digest the lactose in milk is destroyed when the milk is heated to a temperature of 145 degrees during the pasteurization process.
- More people are lactose intolerant than tolerant. Johnson and Johnson has gone on record saying that lactose intolerance effects over 50 % of the Hispanic American population, 75% of Native Americans, 80% of African-Americans and 90% of Asian Americans.
- Consuming dairy products can block iron absorption and lead to iron deficiency.
- Milk and Dairy products DO NOT strengthen bones! “Numerous studies have shown that countries with the highest intake of dairy such as the US, Sweden and Holland have the highest incidence of osteoporosis and fractures, while countries with the lowest dairy consumption rate such as Japan and South Africa have the lowest rates of osteoporosis and fractures.”- Joshua Rosenthal, Founder of the largest nutrition school in the world, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition
- Milk alternatives are abundant, nutritious and delicious including rice, almond, hemp, and hazelnut milk. Special Note: There are very little controversies surrounding nut-milks.
- We are the only species on the planet that drinks milk as adults.
- We are the only species on the planet that drinks the milk of another species.
The Ugly- Milk and the worst case scenario CAUTION – Do not read if you want to keep consuming dairy!
- The health of a typical American cow is nothing short of disastrous.
- Cows are regularly pumped full of steroids and hormones to help produce a larger and more profitable animal.
- 35 million pounds of Pharmaceuticals are used annually on the American cattle population to help them stay “healthy”.
- Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone(RbGH) which is a toxic/carcinogenic poison is used on most of our cattle to help “fatten” them up. The bigger the cow, the more meat and milk they produce$$$$.
- Dairy products are linked to acne, anemia, arthritis, ADD, ADHD, fibromyalgia, heartburn, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, chrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, allergies, ear infections, colic, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, etc. The entire list is 7 pages and too long for this article.
- Dairy cows often have mastitis (udder infections) which leaks pus and bacteria into our drinking supply. (This is the reason why pasteurization is necessary).
- Under normal conditions, dairy cows produce about 10 pounds of milk a day. “Greedy farmers have their cows producing up to a hundred pounds of milk a day”(Freedman and Barnouin 58)-authors of #1 NY Times Bestseller “Skinny Bitch”
- RbGH and other harmful hormones used in over 90% of our cattle are banned in Canada and the European Union.
- Mastitis costs the dairy industry as much as $2 billion a year in animal and milk production losses.
- “By drinking 1 glass of milk, you unknowingly ingest the residues of up to 100 antibiotics.”- Jordan Rubin author of NY Times Bestseller “The Makers Diet” and founder of multi-billion dollar supplement company “Garden of Life”
The Sensible Recommendation
- Don’t listen to anyone when it comes to the dairy debate. Not even me! Use COMMON SENSE.
- If your going to drink milk, choose high quality/organic products that contain no hormones or antibiotics. Milk from Horizon Dairy is a good choice. Horizon can be found at most major grocery stores and controls over 50% of the organic movement. All Horizon dairy products are 100% USDA Certified Organic.
- Raw milk is your best bet! Many people have been told that raw milk is unsafe to drink, but a quick internet search shows just the opposite. Facts show that more people get sick from eating lunch meats and regular dairy products that are mass commercialized as compared to raw milk products which mostly come from small mom and pop type farms. To learn more about the health benefits of raw milk (not pasteurized) log onto www.westonaprice.org, which is a non-profit health advocacy group that promotes the healthy consumption of raw milk products. If you want the skinny, you can click on the Raw Milk Powerpoint Presentation, which is 140 pages of scientifically backed information regarding the safety of raw milk. This groups promotion of raw milk is commonly refered to as “The Campaign for Real Milk”.
- Consume dairy products in moderate portions. Whether or not you are lactose intolerant or not, consuming dairy puts excess stress on your digestive track.
- Goat’s milk is a great alternative to traditional cow’s milk. Raw goats milk digests in about 20 minutes compared to 3 hours for homogenized/pasteurized commercial cow’s milk.
- Fermented forms of dairy products can be a healthy addition to ones diet including high quality forms of greek style yogurt and kefir(a fermented milk beverage), both of which contain high amounts of probiotics (good bacteria).
- Most importantly, use your own judgement and your own common sense!