What could be more American than a glass of milk? Cow’s milk, that is. In light of this common perception, the time is long overdue to add the milk mustache to that ever-growing list of American myths. Human beings are not designed to drink any milk except human milk (only during infancy, of course). As you’ll see below, consuming dairy products—milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, etc.—is not green and it’s not healthy.
It’s also a nightmare for the cows themselves. Here’s a little of how the folks at GoVeg describe it: “The 9 million cows living on dairy farms in the United States spend most of their lives in large sheds or on feces-caked mud lots, where disease is rampant. Cows raised for their milk are repeatedly impregnated. Their babies are taken away so that humans can drink the milk intended for the calves. When their exhausted bodies can no longer provide enough milk, they are sent to slaughter and ground up for hamburgers.”
The first four are environmental reasons to avoid milk.
Our current government guidelines recommend drinking three glasses of milk a day for every American over five. For kids under five, Uncle Sam recommends chugging two glasses a day. But is milk a health food? Should we really be eating dairy? Is there any real science behind this, or is this just the result of the powerful Dairy Council lobby?
I recently wrote a blog called Got Proof? The Lack of Evidence for Milk’s Benefits, which was based on a research articleby Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett from Harvard, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study by Ludwig and Willett showed a lack of evidence for the government’s recommendations. The Harvard scientists found no data to support the claim that the consumption of dairy leads to better bones, weight loss, or improved health. They also found some serious risks tied to dairy consumption, including weight gain, increased cancer risk, and increased fracture risk. It turns out milk does not build strong bones! They also found that dairy may cause other problems like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas, diarrhea, allergies, eczema, and acne.
So, is milk nature’s perfect food? Yes. If you’re a calf.
Dairy should not be a dietary staple
While it is true that some people can tolerate dairy in small amounts—for example, descendants from Northern Europe and people who don’t have allergies, lactose intolerance, or a leaky gut—it should not be a staple of our diet. We should not be putting it on or in everything.
Dairy contains some very allergenic proteins, such as casein, which can be problematic for many people. And to make matters worse, the casein that’s in our modern dairy—sourced from modern, hybridized cows—has been genetically altered, creating a much higher likelihood of inflammation, autoimmune disease, and even type 1 diabetes. With this in mind, I strongly recommend that you limit the amount of cow-sourced dairy that you consume.
If you want to eat dairy, I suggest you try goat and sheep dairy, such as sheep cheese and yogurt or goat cheese and yogurt, both of which are widely available now. It is also important to choose organic when you can, because pesticides and chemicals are concentrated in the fat found in non-organic dairy.
This leads to another frequent question I receive: “Is organic dairy OK?” Organic cows are often milked while pregnant, producing milk that’s full of hormones. In fact, the average glass of milk has 60 different hormones in it. These are anabolic hormones, which means they help you to grow. But not all growth is good. You don’t want to grow cancer cells. You don’t want to grow big bellies. You don’t want to grow in ways that actually may be harmful.
What to do about dairy:
- Take a dairy holiday for two to four weeks, and see how you feel. Does your postnasal drip go away, and do your sinuses clear up? Does your acne go away? Do you stop having bloating, gas, and diarrhea? Do you have more energy? Does your eczema clear up? Do your allergies get better? These are some very simple things you should notice when you eliminate dairy. Then try eating dairy again, and see how you feel. Do these symptoms return?
- Stick with sheep or goat dairy if you do decide to eat dairy again, but try to avoid cow dairy.
The bottom line is, I don’t agree with the government’s recommendations regarding dairy consumption, and neither do some of the top scientists in the world. Dairy should not be a dietary staple and you should certainly not have three glasses of milk every day. Don’t listen to Uncle Sam on this one – listen to your body and to the science. You’ll know what’s best.
I’d like to hear from you!
- What have you noticed?
- Has dairy caused problems for you—acne, eczema, allergies, bloating, gas?
- Have you eliminated dairy from your diet? If so, what happened?
Feel free to share your story with us in the comments section below. Sign up for our newsletter. Share this with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter, because they might have problems with dairy, too. Don’t forget to submit your questions, so that next week I may make a house call to you.
Source: Dr. Mark Hyman