Most people grow up their entire lives hearing the words “drink milk for strong bones!” or “you better eat some dairy products - you need that calcium and vitamin D!” So, for most of us, it is a bit shocking that dairy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, when you drink milk, you’re getting “some” calcium, barely any vitamin D, and maybe a few other nutrients. However, what the dairy industry doesn’t tell you is that there are a ton of negative effects of consuming dairy on a regular basis - Here are just a FEW major problems that outweigh ANY benefits dairy has to offer.
So, whats wrong with consuming milk, cheese, ice cream, or butter that comes from cow boobies or any other animal utter? Lets break it down:
1. Dairy products don’t actually contribute to good bone health. In fact, they may do the opposite. Dairy products are often marketed as being good for “strong bones,” but the reality is that there is no scientific evidence to show that dairy products help your bones in any way. In fact, there is a strong correlation between dairy products and rates of osteoporosis - but in a bad way. It turns out, the countries that consume the highest amount of dairy also have the highest rates of osteoporosis, without fail.
The United States and New Zealand consume more dairy products and calcium than almost anywhere else in the world - and yet they have the highest incidence of hip fractures.
So is milk actually bad for your bones? It all has to do with the acidity of dairy, and animal products in general. Milk has a positive potential renal acid load, so the body is naturally triggered to neutralize the acidity in order to stabilize. The problem with this is that in order to neutralize, the body must use your bones in order to protect the kidneys and urinary tract, therefore depleting bone density. Not exactly something you want to happen.
2. Cow’s milk is for cows, not humans. This one is just plain logic, but it is an idea that takes some getting used to because of the way we are conditioned to think. Logically speaking, why does a mother cow produce milk? It is in order to feed a baby calf, the same way that a human mother produces milk for her baby. So in a sense, milk is indeed “nature’s most perfect food” - but only if you are a baby cow. FYI none of us are baby cows.
3. Eating dairy products could increase your risk for certain types of cancer. According to research, higher consumption of calcium and dairy products is correlated with increased risks of both prostate and breast cancer. One reason for this may be because dairy product consumption increases the levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) in the bloodstream. When there is too much IGF-1, it can contribute to the development of both prostate cancer and breast cancer. In addition to this, high calcium levels could also increase your risk of cancer. When calcium is too high, it can lower levels of activated vitamin D in the blood, which is protective against prostate cancer.
There is also some evidence to back up these claims. For instance, in a Harvard Physician’s Health Study, men who consumed more than two servings of dairy per day had 34% greater chance of developing prostate cancer than men who consumed little or no dairy. Additionally, in Asian countries, where people generally consume plant products like soy rather than dairy, rates of breast cancer are much lower.
4. Lactose-intolerance. Do you consider yourself to be lactose-intolerant? Or do you ever just feel a little sick after drinking a huge milkshake? Well, it turns out that a lot of people feel the same way. About 75% of the world’s population is either lactose intolerant or has issues digesting dairy. If dairy is that hard to digest for so many people, we probably shouldn’t be consuming it.
5. It turns out that there is a whole lot of gross stuff in milk. For starters, cow’s milk is highly concentrated with cholesterol, saturated fat, and calories. For instance, a serving of 2% milk contains approximately 130 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat, and 15 milligrams of cholesterol. Meanwhile, a serving of unsweetened almond milk contains only 30 calories, and no saturated fat or cholesterol. In addition to this, there are traces of both growth hormones and pus within most dairy products. Most cows are injected with various growth hormones and antibiotics to help them to produce milk. In addition, the national average is about 322 million cell-counts of pus per glass of milk! Pretty gross - switch to almond or soy milk, and you won’t have to worry about eating cow pus. In addition to this, dairy products can also mess with your hormones. Consuming dairy products promotes excess estrogen in the body, because it contains estrogen from the female cows. While providing our bodies with excess estrogen, dairy products simultaneously provide us with extra testosterone as well. This is due to the androgenic properties that milk has. Having unbalanced hormone levels can become pretty problematic for long term health, including everything from mood swings to fertility problems.
6. A lot of people are unaware of the cruelty that goes on within the dairy industry. Many of the practices that go on are just as bad or worse than what happens in the meat industry. A little insight into this - mother cows are genetically modified and forcibly inseminated, which results in them producing about 12 times more milk than they naturally would in order to feed a calf. In addition, the baby calves are almost always stolen at birth, and then sold to the veal industry.
7. Want smooth acne-free skin? Well, consuming dairy is not the way to get it. In fact, there is a strong correlation between dairy consumed and the negative effect it can have on the skin. One reason for this may be due to IGF-1, a growth hormone that is present in milk. IGF-1 tends to cause inflammation and swelling, which leads to acne. Additionally, dairy products can cause an insulin spike which causes even more IGF-1 to be produced. Another reason why your skin may be breaking out when you drink too much milk may be due to the excess sebum, a type of oil, it causes your body to produce. This extra oil clogs your pores and leads to more acne in general.
8. Dairy products could cause bad bacteria to go into our gut and digestive tract - gross. Research shows that a diet rich in dairy and other animal products can have negative effects on your gut health. When you eat these foods, the bacteria in your gut gets switched. The type of bacteria that may be present on a meat and dairy rich diet is linked to inflammation and intestinal diseases.
There is a whole lot of misinformation out there about dairy products - so it is very important to understand the full picture before reaching for that cheese or milk (unless it is Daiya cheese or almond milk, of course!) Living in this Millennium it isn’t hard to find creamy delicious dairy substitutes:
Silk: Almond, soy & coconut milk
So Delicious: Ice Cream
Earth Balance: Butter
Toffuti: Cream cheese
Don’t fall for those clever “Got Milk?” Ads any longer. Be the change that needs to happen!