For some people milk can be digestible, for others it isn’t, and for most, they believe that they can do the impossible. Let me start off by asking this question. How many mammals in the world consciously drink another mammal’s milk? The answer is 1. Humans are the only mammals in the world that are willing to drink another mammal’s milk. And not only that but we love milk so much that we are blind to the fact that we aren’t even suppose to be drinking it. Now you may argue that milk has calcium, protein, and other beneficial nutrients, even the FDA exclaims that we are suppose to be drinking 3 cups of this creamy goodness a day. Well one doctor went as far as to expose the true mask of the food pyramid and shed some light on the hidden mystery behind milk.
Milk comes in many different forms, butter milk, 1%, 2%, whole, and skim milk just to name a few. But do you know that milk can do you more harm than good? In fact, Walter Willett, M.D., Ph.D (the second-most-cited scientist in all of clinical medicine and the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health) has a very strong view on how the food pyramid presents its information. Willett has done a vast amount of research on this topic, and found that the USDA’s pyramid recommendation of drinking 3 glasses of milk a day is wrong. So why is this bad? Well, for one thing, it’s not a recommendation that’s based on scienctific proof. Some of the “experts” ho helped create the pyramid actually work for the dairy industry, which makes the US Department of agriculture’s recommendations reflect industry interests,not science or our best interests. The fact that the USDA is looking out for the industries instead of our health is quite the red flag.
Looking deeper into this milk curdling truth, Willett further explains on the harmful effects milk can have on us. To begin with, milk doesn’t even reduce fractures! Despite what the popular belief is, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50%! And interestingly enough, the less intake of dairy, can result in better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
We’ve all heard it from someone or somewhere, milk comercials, doctors, nutritionists, your mother. “Drink your milk, you need calcium to get stronger bones!” they’d say. Well shockingly calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures. Not only that but calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase.
Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin, like growth factor-1 (LGF-1) which is a known cancer promoter.
Ever get a nagging stomach cramp or embarrassing gas after enjoying sweet, delectible ice cream, or from milk and cereal? Well not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products, a problem called lactose intolerance. In some countries such as India, China, and some countries in Africa, milk is culturally unconventional.
If all that isn’t enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth mentioning. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the “milk mustache” ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly. For one thing, milk doesn’t benefit sports performance. Secondly there’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis. In fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss! Thirdly, it’s full of saturated fat and is linked to heart diseas. And lastley dairy definitely aggravates irritable bowel syndrome. If those symptoms don’t apply to you than maybe you’ll find that dairy may contribute to these more typical health problems, like: Allergies, Sinus problems, Ear infections, Type 1 diabetes,Chronic constipation, and Anemia children).
Digging further into an evolutionary point of view, milk is a athentic odyssey for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn’t domesticate animals and weren’t able to drink milk!If that doesn’t convince you then get this fact. The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugarin milk) sometime between the ages of two and five (when they stop breast feeding). Interestingly enough, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned. That means that by the time a human child becomes a todler they are no longer able to fully digest milk! So for most children they grow up with a unusual knack for milk and carry that on for the rest of their lives.
So now that I’ve scared you enough about the dangers of dairy, lets take a look at the alternatives. I have recently been studying the effects of milk on myself and boy let me tell you, it’s not easy getting rid of dairy since I have been consuming it for so long! I love my ice cream so much that it became an every day deal. A bowl of ice cream a day, will not keep the doctors away. Plus cheese is one of those things that I can’t get rid of. It’s like a second boyfriend to me. So what do you do?
I tried to push my boundaries for a week by cutting out ice cream, and milk completely from my diet, limiting my cheese intake, and trying out almond milk. Almond milk is a great alternative, its not heavy, very light on the stomach and has a great taste. But keep in mind, that since its an alternative, there will be more things added to it to make it more edible and to make it last longer on the shelf. So read the labels carefully.
Then there is soy milk. Soy milk is a stable emulsion (mixture) of oil, water and protein. The benefits soy milk offers is that it contains little digestible calcium because calcium is bound to the bean’s pulp, which is indigestible by humans. To counter this, manufacturers enrich their products with calcium carbonate. Unlike cow’s milk, soy milk has little saturated fat and no cholesterol.
Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Lucky for us, nature up right provides us with the necessary nutrients we need through other means. Most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed anyway! So there you have it.
When you look at the grand scheme of things everything can be bad for you. But when you take the best out of ther worst it can leave you feeling a lot better about what you’re putting into your body. It’s better to be mindful and healthy so you can feel better rather than feeling worse. Although milk has become a staple product in many house holds, it can have a negative effect on your dietary system and other body functions. No matter how much it is advertized, dairy isn’t crucial for good health and can be indigestable. Test it out for yourself and go dairy-free for a couple days and see what it does for you. Still got milk?