I am so over the dairy campaigns about milk and weight loss, bone health and calcium. Dairy is not a necessity in our diet people! I found this site and really wanted to share some interesting facts on how not only is dairy not necessary but how it is harming Americans everyday.
“There is no human requirement for milk from a cow,” says Suzanne Havala, RD, author of the American Dietetic Association’s “Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets” and several books on nutrition. “The use of milk and its products in our country is strictly a cultural tradition,” she notes. “There are millions of people around the world who never consume cow’s milk and are none the worse for it.”
While the question of whether dairy foods contribute to or detract from the well- being of our skeletons often occupies center stage, there are additional serious health concerns that might make you wary of dairy.
Allergies: Milk is the most common cause of food allergy. A recent study found that one way to reduce the number of allergies in infants is for the breastfeeding mother to avoid consuming, or make very limited use of cow’s milk.
Women’s health concerns: Studies indicate that osteoporosis, which afflicts 20 million American women, and ovarian cancer are most common in those countries with the highest consumption of dairy food and lowest in those countries with low dairy intake. According to gynecologist Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom, other health problems associated with the consumption of dairy foods include benign breast conditions, recurrent vaginitis, acne, menstrual cramps, fibroids, chronic intestinal upset and increased pain from endometriosis.
Anemia: Overreliance on milk in children can lead to anemia, as milk is very low in iron, and drinking large quantities of it can crowd iron-rich foods from the diet. In young infants, protein from cow’s milk can cause intestinal bleeding, another possible cause of anemia.
Colic: Sensitivity to cow’s milk can cause colic, a digestive ailment in infants. Colic can cause problems even in infants who aren’t drinking cow’s milk but whose mothers are.
Food safety concerns: Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy chides that milk is tainted with so many that it should be sold by prescription only. Dairy farmers regularly administer drugs and growth hormones to cows to boost milk production. Investigations have routinely found residues of these veterinary pharmaceuticals in milk and other milk products, some of which may raise cancer risks. One compound approved for use in 1993 and now widely employed by commercial dairies is the controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). Many feel that this compound– which increases milk production in an era of serious milk surplus– poses grave potential health risks for consumers (including elevated antibiotic residue levels in milk) while favoring large-scale factory farms at the expense of small dairy producers. Unfortunately, producers who shun BGH are forbidden from labeling their products as such. Only organic dairy foods are certified to be free of antibiotic and BGH residues.
Heart disease: Dairy products are major contributors of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol to the diet. According to cardiologist Dean Ornish, MD, “Milk rates second only to beef as the largest source of saturated fat in the American diet.” Consider, for example, that one glass of 2% milk has as much saturated fat as three strips of bacon. Almost half the calories in whole milk come from fat.
Insulin-dependent diabetes: Recent research indicates that consuming cow’s milk throughout adolescence increases the risk of developing Type I diabetes. About 1 million Americans have this disease. (13)
Lactose intolerance: Many people cannot stomach lactose, the sugar in milk, because they lack the necessary digestive enzyme. Some people are also sensitive to milk protein. An estimated 50 million Americans experience intestinal discomfort after consuming dairy products. Symptoms include bloating, stomach pain, cramps, gas or diarrhea.
Such findings prompted breast surgeon Robert Kradjian, MD, in 1993 to review more than 500 medical articles written about milk since 1988. “How would I summarize the articles?,” Kradian asks. “First of all, none of the authors spoke of cow’s milk as an excellent food, free of side effects. The main focus of the published reports seem to be on intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, and anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children as well as infections such as salmonella… In adults the problems seemed centered more around heart disease and arthritis, allergy, sinusitis, and the more serious questions of leukemia, lymphoma and cancer.”