Humans are the only known species that drinks the breast milk of another species, and the only one that continues to drink breast milk after being weaned.
The dairy industry would have you believe that milk products are THE source for calcium. It's their business to do so, and a very successful one at that. Ultimately these animal products are not as good for you as leafy greens that also come with fiber, vitamin k (for absorbtion) and a fat-free delivery system. Dairy comes with hormones, toxins and pus. Fatty foods like cream cheese, sour cream, cream and butter have little or no calcium at all. Approximately 70% of the earth's population is intolerant to dairy so it's safe to say it's not all that natural to consume it. Countries with the lowest intake of dairy also enjoy some of the lowest osteoporosis rates in the world.
Are you a vegetarian who still consumes dairy? Please note that small family farms are the exception to the rule. In reality, about 97% of animals grown for dairy in Canada are raised on huge factory farms, where they live unnatural lives of intensive confinement. When it comes to dairy products, please consider that these loving mothers are kept pregnant, have their young taken from them at birth, and are kept under much the same conditions as cows raised for meat. All creatures deserve compassion. Milk was meant for the baby cows and goats it was created for, not for humans.
Got milk? Get weaned!
about Dairy Products
Many Americans, including some vegetarians, still consume substantial amounts of dairy productsand government policies still promote them despite scientific evidence that questions their health benefits and indicates their potential health risks.
The Harvard School of Public Health sent a strong message to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and nutrition experts everywhere with the recent release of its “Healthy Eating Plate” food guide. The university was responding to the USDA’s new MyPlate guide for healthy eating, which replaced the outdated and misguided food pyramid.
Harvard’s nutrition experts did not pull punches, declaring that the university’s food guide was based on sound nutrition research and more importantly, not influenced by food industry lobbyists. The greatest evidence of its research focus is the absence of dairy products from the “Healthy Eating Plate” based on Harvard’s assessment that “…high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer.” The Harvard experts also referred to the high levels of saturated fat in most dairy products and suggested that collards, bok choy, fortified soy milk, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium, as are high quality supplements.
Milk’s main selling point is calcium, and milk-drinking is touted for building strong bones in children and preventing osteoporosis in older persons. However, clinical research shows that dairy products have little or no benefit for bones. A 2005 review published in Pediatrics showed that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children.1 Similarly, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study,2 which followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk. While calcium is important for bone health, studies show that increasing consumption beyond approximately 600 mg per dayamounts that are easily achieved without dairy products or calcium supplementsdoes not improve bone integrity.2
In studies of children and adults, exercise has been found to have a major effect on bone density.3-5
You can decrease your risk of osteoporosis by reducing sodium and animal protein intake in the diet,6-9 increasing intake of fruits and vegetables,9,10 exercising,4,11 and ensuring adequate calcium intake from plant foods such as kale, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables and beans. You can also use calcium-fortified products such as breakfast cereals and juices, although these products provide more concentrated calcium than is necessary.
Fat Content and Cardiovascular Disease
Dairy products including cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and yogurtcontribute significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet.12 Diets high in fat and saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease, among other serious health problems. A low-fat vegetarian diet that eliminates dairy products, in combination with exercise, smoking cessation, and stress management, can not only prevent heart disease, but may also reverse it.13,14 Nonfat dairy products are available; however, they pose other health risks as noted below.
Prostate and breast cancers have been linked to consumption of dairy products, presumably related to increases in a compound called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I).15 IGF-I is found in cow’s milk and has been shown to occur in increased levels in the blood of individuals consuming dairy products on a regular basis.16 Other nutrients that increase IGF-I are also found in cow’s milk.
Case-control studies in diverse populations have shown a strong and consistent association between serum IGF-I concentrations and prostate cancer risk.17 One study showed that men who had the highest levels of IGF-I had more than four times the risk of prostate cancer compared with those who had the lowest levels.18 Other findings show that prostate cancer risk was elevated with increased consumption of low-fat milk, suggesting that too much dairy calcium could be a potential threat to prostate health.19,20
Ovarian cancer may also be related to the consumption of dairy products. The milk sugar lactose is broken down in the body into another sugar, galactose. Research suggests that the dairy sugar galactose might be toxic to ovarian cells.21 In a study conducted in Sweden, consumption of lactose and dairy products was positively linked to ovarian cancer.22 A similar study, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, found that women who consumed more than one glass of milk per day had a 73 percent greater chance of ovarian cancer than women who drank less than one glass per day.23
Lactose intolerance is common among many populations, affecting approximately 95 percent of Asian Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians.24 Symptoms, which include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and flatulence, occur because these individuals do not have the enzyme lactase that digests the milk sugar lactose. For those who can digest lactose, its breakdown products are two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. Nursing children have active enzymes that break down galactose. As we age, many of us lose much of this capacity.25 Additionally, along with unwanted symptoms, milk-drinkers also put themselves at risk for development of other chronic diseases and ailments.
Individuals often drink milk in order to obtain vitamin D in their diet, unaware that they can receive vitamin D through other sources. The natural source of vitamin D is sunlight. Five to fifteen minutes of sun exposure to the arms and legs or the hands, face, and arms can be enough to meet the body’s requirements for vitamin D, depending on the individual’s skin tone.26 Darker skin requires longer exposure to the sun in order to obtain adequate levels of vitamin D. In colder climates during the winter months the sun may not be able to provide adequate vitamin D. During this time the diet must be able to provide vitamin D. Fortified cereals, grains, bread, orange juice, and soy- or rice milk are healthful foods that provide vitamin D. All common multiple vitamins also provide vitamin D.
Milk contains contaminants that range from pesticides to drugs. Milk naturally contains hormones and growth factors produced within a cow’s body. In addition, synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk.27 Because treated cows are producing quantities of milk nature never intended, the end result can be mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary glands. Treatment of this condition requires the use of antibiotics, and antibiotic traces have occasionally been found in samples of milk and other dairy products. Pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins are other examples of contaminants found in milk. These toxins do not readily leave the body and can eventually build to harmful levels that may affect the immune and reproductive systems. The central nervous system can also be affected. Moreover, PCBs and dioxins have also been linked to cancer.28
Milk Proteins and Diabetes
Insulin-dependent (type 1 or childhood-onset) diabetes is linked to consumption of dairy products.29 A 2001 Finnish study of 3,000 infants with genetically increased risk for developing diabetes showed that early introduction of cow’s milk increased susceptibility to type 1 diabetes.30
Health Concerns of Infants and Children
Milk proteins, milk sugar, fat, and saturated fat in dairy products pose health risks for children and encourage the development of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants below one year of age not be given whole cow’s milk,31 as iron deficiency is more likely on a dairy-rich diet. Cow’s milk products are very low in iron.32 If dairy products become a major part of one’s diet, iron deficiency is more likely. Colic is an additional concern with milk consumption. Up to 28 percent of infants suffer from colic during the first month of life.33 Pediatricians learned long ago that cow’s milk was often the reason. We now know that breastfeeding mothers can have colicky babies if the mothers consume cow’s milk. The cow’s antibodies can pass through the mother’s bloodstream, into her breast milk, and to the baby.34,35 Additionally, food allergies appear to be common results of cow’s milk consumption, particularly in children.36,37 Cow’s milk consumption has also been linked to chronic constipation in children. Researchers suggested that milk consumption resulted in perianal sores and severe pain on defecation, leading to constipation.38
Milk and dairy products are not necessary in the diet and can, in fact, be harmful to health. It is best to consume a healthful diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fortified foods including cereals and juices. These nutrient-dense foods can help you meet your calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin D requirements with easeand without health risks.
Calcium: Green vegetables, such as kale and broccoli, are better than milk as calcium sources.
Fat Content: Dairy products other than skim varietiesundefinedare high in fat, as a percentage of total calories.
Iron-Deficiency: Milk is very low in iron. To get the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of 11 milligrams of iron, an infant would have to drink more than 22 quarts of milk each day. Milk also causes blood loss from the intestinal tract, depleting the body’s iron.
Diabetes: In a study of 142 children with diabetes, 100 percent had high levels of an antibody to a cow’s milk protein. It is believed that these antibodies may destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
Contaminants: Milk is frequently contaminated with antibiotics and excess vitamin D. In one study of 42 milk samples tested, only 12 percent were within the expected range of vitamin D content. Of ten samples of infant formula, seven had more than twice the vitamin D content reported on the label, and one had more than four times the label amount.
Lactose: Three out of four people from around the world, including an estimated 25 percent of individuals in the United States, are unable to digest the milk sugar lactose, which then causes diarrhea and gas. The lactose sugar, when it is digested, releases galactose, a simple sugar that is linked to ovarian cancer and cataracts.
Allergies: Milk is one of the most common causes of food allergy. Often the symptoms are subtle and may not be attributed to milk for some time.
Colic: Milk proteins can cause colic, a digestive upset that bothers one in five infants. Milk-drinking mothers can also pass cow’s milk proteins to their breast-feeding infants.
Dairy Milk Alternatives
Nutrition Facts-Packed with protein (a whopping 4 grams per cup), magnesium, and vitamin D (Calories 60, Fat 2g [0.5g saturated], sugars 5g)
Flavor-Slightly sweet and creamy
Best For-Sauces, casseroles, soups, and cerealALMOND
Nutrition Facts-High in cholesterol-lowering flavonoids and vitamin E (Calories 60, Fat 2.5g [0g saturated], sugars 7g)
Best For-Baking and as a creamer in coffee and tea
Nutrition Facts-Typically enriched with calcium and vitamins A, B12, and D (Calories 45, Fat 2g [0g saturated], sugars 0g)
Best For-Desserts, baked goods, cereal, and smoothies
Note: Calorie, fat, and sugar counts based on 8-ounce servings.
Nutrition Facts-Rich in protein and vitamin E (Calories 110, Fat 3.5g [0g saturated], sugars 14g)
Flavor-A roasted aroma and velvety texture
Best For-Cereal, coffee, and tea
Nutrition Facts-Rich in heart-healthy omegas, all 10 essential amino acids, minerals, and protein (Calories 60, Fat 5g [0.5g saturated], sugars 0g)
Flavor-Grassy and nutty
Best For-Baking sweets and cooking savory dishes
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