I’ve never been a huge dairy consumer, but I do enjoy the occasional slice of cheese pizza or ice cream. However, my outlook on the effects of dairy have drastically changed as I’ve continued to educate myself, especially after reading “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell. Here are the top 10 reasons why I try to avoid dairy as often as possible. Hopefully they will also persuade you to reconsider your intake of this controversial food.
1. Dairy is highly ACIDIC – Dairy is naturally highly acidic when consumed by humans. When you consume highly acidic foods, a lot of inflammation occurs in the body. Inflammation is actually the body’s attempt at self-protection, the aim being to remove the harmful stimuli. Inflammation can be experienced in the form of headaches, body aches, chronic pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, Allergies, some Cancers, Heart Disease, and Alzheimer’s to name a few. So why would you consume something that causes your body to react in such a way?
2. Dairy actually promotes OSTEOPOROSIS – When you drink milk or consume any dairy product, the body recognizes it as highly acidic, just like any other animal protein. In order to bring the body back into a more alkaline state, our digestive system pulls calcium from our bones to neutralize the acidity. What does that mean? Well, less calcium in the bones = more fractures and the promotion of osteoporosis. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent. So if you are worried about keeping your bones healthy, you should be consuming calcium-rich foods such as dark leafy greens, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oranges, and figs – A supplement is not a bad idea either. But the most important thing for bone health is actually Vitamin D (15 minutes of sunshine everyday!)
3. Most dairy contains ANTIBIOTICS, PESTICIDES, & HORMONES – We’ve all heard the term, “You are what you eat!” Well when you eat cow-based products, you are most likely consuming antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones. To keep up with the demand for dairy in the U.S., cows are injected with growth hormones and steroids to make them grow unnaturally larger to produce more milk and beef. Because of the inhumane living conditions in most dairy plants, cows are also injected with antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease. And lastly, the corn, soybeans and wheat given to the cows as food contains pesticides. So when we consume dairy products, we are definitely eating more than we bargained for.
4. Dairy has been directly linked to CANCER – As I mentioned earlier, “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, is a fantastic read if you would like to know more about the studies conducted linking dairy to cancer growth, especially prostate and testicular cancer, as well as breast and ovarian. In his particular study, Dr. Campbell found that he could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk. Scary stuff! Other research concludes that dairy consumption leads to increased levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) in the bloodstream, which is a potent stimulus for cancer cell growth. There have also been studies linking high calcium levels in dairy, and galactose, a component of the milk sugar lactose, as reasons to why cancer risk increases.
5. Dairy promotes MUCUS, PHLEGM, and ACNE – Casein, the naturally occurring protein in dairy products, can promote the formation of mucus and phlegm. It can also make existing mucus thicker in your nose and sinuses, leaving you completely congested. It may also cause a runny nose or the ever annoying post nasal drip. When it comes to acne, much of the milk that we drink is produced by pregnant cows and contains high levels of hormones that can send oil glands into overdrive. Progesterone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) as well as compounds that the human body turns into dehydrotestosterone (DHT) are passed on to the milk, which can aggravate acne as well.
6. Our bodies were not designed to easily digest LACTOSE – Do you ever get a gurggly tummy, acid reflux, or bowel issues after you consume dairy? Well you are not alone! About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance. Why? Because the majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase — the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk — sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned. Our bodies were just not made to digest dairy on a regular basis after infancy!
7. Besides HUMANS, no other animal/mammal on earth drinks milk from another animal/mammal – Have you ever seen a dog latch onto a mama cat for her milk? No. And if you did, you would probably be like OMG what is going on? So why do humans think it’s okay for us to consume another mammals milk? As I’ve already stated, humans bodies were just not designed to easily digest and assimilate lactose. Another point to consider is – imagine a calf. It drinks its mothers milk to grow into a large, hefty cow. What do you think will happen when you consume a lot of milk-based products? Just saying!
8. The DAIRY INDUSTRY and GOVERNMENT are the ones paying for the “GOT MILK” campaigns – Did you know that between 1995 – 2012, $5.3 BILLION tax dollars went to subsidizing the Dairy Industry? It’s quite sickening, but yes, our government pays farmers to over-produce milk. The government and dairy farmers want to make sure U.S. residents are consuming all of the excess dairy, so they advertise and market the heck out of it. Hence the clever “Got Milk?” campaigns encouraging you to eat more milk-based products and “do your body good.” They also have encouraged processed food manufacturers to add more cheese into its products – such as the Cheese-stuffed crust pizza at Pizza Hut or Kraft Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese Bowls. They could care less about the health consequences, it’s a business and it’s all about making money.
9. Dairy is full of SATURATED FAT – Dairy and animal products are the top foods containing saturated fats. As you may know, a high intake of saturated fats are directly linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and stroke.
10. Dairy is known to cause ALLERGIES & CHRONIC HEALTH ISSUES – Do you suffer from sinus problems, ear infections, allergies, eczema, Type 1 diabetes, chronic constipation, asthma, IBS, anemia, or migraines? You might want to consider eliminating dairy from your diet for a couple of weeks and see what happens. When your body exhibits signs of distress, it’s usually trying to fight off something that it doesn’t want in it. Because dairy is one of the top allergen-causing foods, it could very well be the culprit to a wide array of health issues.
So what can you eat in lieu of dairy? Don’t worry! There are some fantastic alternatives out there for ice cream, cheese, milk and yogurt! I suggest you try almond milk and coconut milk products, as well as nut-based cheeses. They are delicious and a much healthier choice to “do your body good” 🙂