Ditch the Dairy

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

STRONG BONES?

Milk consumption, as told by the mainstream media, dairy industries, and the FDA, helps make strong bones. However, in scientific research, this has not been found to be the case. Diets with large quantities of dairy correlate with low bone density. The countries who most consume dairy are actually the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures amongst men and women.

Women who consume large amounts of cow’s milk have been found to have higher rates of death from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as higher risks for bone fractures. Men have been shown to also have higher rates of death from all causes, while no reduction in bone density or fractures was observed.

COMPONENTS OF COW’S MILK 

FAT 

Saturated Fat

About 60-70% of the fat found in dairy comes from saturated fat. Saturated fat raises LDL or “bad cholesterol” and which help form deposit cholesterol in arteries, forming atherosclerotic plaques and lead to heart disease. It also contributes to insulin resistance in type-2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis crises, erectile dysfunction, among many other conditions. 

Everyone’s daily intake of saturated fat should be as low as possible for optimal health. The American Heart Association recommends that saturated fat intake should make up no more than 5-6% of your total calories. For someone who consumes 2000 a day, this would come to 13 grams of saturated fat, while the average daily intake of saturated fat in the Western Hemisphere is around 26 grams.

Trans fat

A major risk factor for heart disease, sudden death, diabetes, aggression, and irritability. The only source of trans fat in nature is animal fat, although they can also be found in partially hydrogenated oils which are made in a lab. 

In the United States, about 50% of the trans fats consumed comes from animal fats such as cheese, whole milk, low-fat yogurt, ground beef, and poultry. For optimal health, the daily intake of trans fats should be zero. 

Always be careful while reading the nutrition label. No matter what it may say on the front of the package, the ingredients should ALWAYS be read. A product that has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can be legally labeled is as having 0 trans fat or “trans fat-free”. This is one of the reasons that they make portion sizes so small, and why you should avoid any product that contains any animal byproducts, partially hydrogenated oils or hydrogenated oils. 

Cholesterol 

Cholesterol is a lipid molecule that makes up our cell membranes and is necessary for hormone production. It is synthesized by animals, meaning that we make our own and do not need to consume exogenous sources of cholesterol. 

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are molecules that help carry around cholesterol throughout the body. LDL has been renamed as “bad cholesterol” because it carries cholesterol to our arteries where it gets deposited as a plaque, clogging them and reducing blood flow.  

PROTEIN 

Casein

About 80% of the protein found in dairy is casein. It is one of the diet’s largest contributing factor to the development of many types of cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and rheumatological disease.  

Early exposure to cow’s milk has also been shown to increase the risk of children developing type-1 diabetes later in life by 50%. This is one of the reasons the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against introducing any dairy into babies’ diets until after 6 months of age. 

Casein is broken down by the body into beta-casomorphin which also has a myriad of negative effects on the body. 

Whey 

Whey is the protein from milk that is soluble in water which allows it to be absorbed quickly in the intestine. It has been shown to be insulinogenic, meaning that it spikes insulin levels and may contribute to the insulin resistance found in patients with type-2 diabetes. 

Whey protein has also been shown to raise levels of IGF-1, which increases metastatic cancer cell growth in humans. 

SUGAR

Lactose

Lactose is a disaccharide, a sugar made up of two simple sugars, glucose linked to galactose. In the small intestine, the enzyme lactase breaks up this link, freeing galactose and glucose from each other which are then absorbed by the small intestine. Lactose intolerance occurs when someone does not produce enough lactase to digest the dairy products they consume, so the lactose is not broken down or absorbed, then causes painful abdominal cramping and osmotic diarrhea.

After the age of 2, when humans usually stop consuming breast milk completely, it is normal for the production of lactase to decrease. When a child reaches the age of ten, they have a production rate of lactase of only about 10% of that when they were an infant. Lactose intolerance is actually the natural state of the adult human body. 

Galactose

Galactose, as explained above, is a constituent of lactose. Galactosemia is a rare genetic disorder in which the galactose molecules can not be properly metabolized in the body. Babies with this condition can not digest breast milk or formulas with cow’s milk for which they need to be given soy-based formulas. 

This disorder sparked the idea for scientists to research the long term effects of galactose on the body. Because of the galactose in milk, consumption of 1-2 glasses of milk a day in adulthood has shown to cause premature aging, premature death because of oxidative stress, neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation and decreased immune response. 

HORMONES

IGF-1 

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) stimulates cell growth, which is important in children and teenagers. However, it also stimulates the growth of cancer cells, mostly causing metastases of already existing malignant tumors. Unless a child has a genetic condition that lowers production of IGF-1, the IGF-1 necessary for their growth is produced by their own body. 

Production of IGF-1 in humans has been shown to be stimulated by whey protein from dairy, as well as absorbed directly from cow’s milk which contains IGF-1. An increase in dairy consumption has been associated with high risks of prostate cancer and is to be considered one of its main risk factors. Frequent milk intake during adolescence has been shown to have a 3 times greater risk of having prostate cancer than those who rarely consumed dairy. Because of IGF-1 and bovine estrogen, dairy consumption has also been shown to be a risk factor breast cancer, especially premenopausal breast cancer. 

Bovine insulin 

Because of the presence of bovine insulin in cow’s milk, much higher levels of insulin autoantibodies (antibodies that attack the pancreatic cells that produce insulin) are found in children who are formula-fed rather than those who were exclusively breast fed who may have been exposed to much smaller amounts of bovine insulin through their mothers who were consuming dairy. This is believed to be one of the mechanisms that leads to type-1 diabetes. 

Bovine estrogen

Exposure to estrogen from dairy has been shown to decrease testosterone secretion in men. There is evidence that greater milk intake is also associated with an increased risk of early menarche (first menstruation), this in itself increases the risk of breast cancer. 

MICRONUTRIENTS

Calcium

Cow’s milk is said to be necessary because of its calcium content. Why is that we need to consume something that is so unhealthy… just to get calcium? Consuming dairy has actually been shown to increase the amount of calcium excreted by the kidneys and lower bone density. 

It is absolutely not necessary to consume dairy to get the recommended daily intake of 1000 mg of calcium, especially when there are many other healthier ways to get our calcium from plant foods and fortified plant-based milk.

Vitamin D

Cow’s milk is not the only source of vitamin D. It is actually a hormone formed in the body and activated thanks to UVB rays from sunlight. If you are not able to get your daily dose of sun, it is perfectly fine to take vitamin D supplements or consume mushrooms which have vitamin D2, as well as fortified foods which also have vitamin D. 

CONCLUSION

Humans have no nutritional requirement for non-human milk, and dairy has been associated with many more health risks than possible benefits. 

RESOURCES

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