From a young age we are taught that dairy is essential for strong and healthy bones. What if you heard that dairy really isn’t as necessary for our health as we are thought to believe? The problem with dairy is that the daily recommendation is not based on strict science.
Despite the lack of evidence supporting the need for dairy, the opposite remains true for cases against it. Worldwide there has been a common finding that dairy is not essential for the health of humans in their adult years. Studies have proven cultures that drink primarily water, eat a diet rich in plants, exercise regularly and get plenty of sunlight tend to have healthy bones, strong hearts and low reports of cancer. Populations that usually consume less dairy than North Americans have much lower rates of osteoporosis.
What are the Problems with Dairy?
- Lactose Intolerance
Lactose Intolerance is very common among many populations and cultures. If the intolerance is not developed during childhood it is very likely it will develop during a person’s adult years. Aside from the undesired symptoms associated with Lactose Intolerance, continuing to eat dairy with this condition will eventually put someone at a high risk for developing other chronic conditions.
Type I diabetes is linked to the consumption rate of dairy. Several studies showed that a protein in dairy products is to blame for destroying the cells of the pancreas which produce insulin.
- Cardiovascular Disease
Dairy products have a considerably high content of cholesterol and fat. A high consumption of saturated fats can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. If choosing to keep dairy in the diet, select only low or non-fat yogurts and cheeses.
Most of us associate drinking milk to having strong bones. However, studies provide evidence stating otherwise. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed a group of over 75,000 women for 12 years and showed no link between the consumption of milk and lowered fracture risk. In fact, the study provided evidence stating a high consumption of milk is actually linked to a higher rate of fracture.
Several cancers have been associated with the consumption of dairy. This is because a milk sugar known as Lactose is broken down in the body into a different sugar, Galactose, and eventually into enzymes. Another study performed at Harvard, showed when the enzymes ability to break down is interfered with a high dairy intake a buildup is commonly formed in the blood. This particular situation is linked to be one of the major causes of Ovarian Cancer.
Prostate and Breast cancer are also associated with dairy consumption as well. This is due to the resulting increase of insulin-like growth factor after consuming cow’s milk. It has been shown that men who drink cow’s milk regularly are up to 4 times more at risk for Prostate cancer than men who do not.
How can I make a change?
Although these facts are true, telling someone to completely eliminate this food group may be a bit extreme. Whether or not consuming dairy is “healthy” for us depends on several factors; what type of dairy, how much one is consuming and what foods are being eliminated to accommodate it. So, what’s the solution? Try modifying your daily intake by about half as a start and start incorporating more dark leafy greens into your diet.
Some of the Non-Dairy Calcium Sources:
- Beans, Bok Choy, Collard Greens, Spinach, Kale, Chia Seeds, Almonds, Sardines, Tofu.
Posted by Meaghan Lafranca, M.Sc, Nutritionist, Colon Therapist