Upon being born, some human babies are immediately provided with a powdered milk replacement that contains cow’s milk. After the first year, many pediatricians advise switching infants solely to cow’s milk. Throughout childhood, pediatricians tout the benefits of drinking plenty of milk. It is even offered as the drink of choice in American schools.
Due to the saturation of the dairy industry in all aspects of life, individuals are hesitant to think that dairy could be anything but good for their health, as a matter of fact, in we have been programmed throughout our lives to believe that it is a healthy food. This could not be further from the truth. Cheese, yogurt, milk, and ice cream are all promoted as good sources of protein and Vitamin D, yet, what many individuals do not understand are the ill effects that dairy can have on their health. Today many people are switching away from dairy products to plant based cheeses, milks, etc, and in this blog post we are going to discuss several of the reasons why it is better to leave this food group off of your plate for good.
The China Study: Over 30 Years of Food Research
The China Study is a research project that took place over a span of 30 years and focused on nutrition. It is actually the largest epidemiological study ever conducted on nutrition and in this course of study, Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine formed a partnership to collect data and analyze results. This research involved over 65 Chinese counties, 6,500 adults, and 367 variables. Part of the study was conducted by adding and subtracting casein, which is the protein found in dairy products, in the diet of mice. They found that the mice started growing cancerous tumors when casein was added in their diets but the crazy thing is that the tumors started shrinking when the casein was removed. When it was added back, the tumors started to grow again and when it was removed the tumors once again began to shrink. Amazingly, the scientists learned that cancer genes can literally be turned off and on just by adding and subtracting casein, the protein found in milk.
Dairy and Acne: Understanding the Correlation
Acne is a common, inflammatory disease that is caused by clogged pores. According to the NCBI, acne affects over 80% of Americans. Recent studies have found that a high intake of dairy products, regardless of the type or concentration, directly correlates with higher odds for acne development. In fact, drinking just one glass of milk per day can significantly increase the odds of acne development. In Chinese medicine, dairy causes “dampness” in the body and dampness is often the underlying cause of acne which is linked to dairy consumption.
The Impact of Dairy on Hormonal Imbalance
All forms of milk naturally contain some levels of hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are common components of milk, due the utilization of milk in the growth and development of infantile bovine. Due to an increase of hormones in animal feed and crop implements, cows are passing along hormonal increases directly into the dairy products that we consume. These increased levels of hormones wreak havoc on the human body. In fact, studies that have been performed on health issues such as PCOS, infertility, and endometriosis have zoned in on dairy being the root cause of these conditions. Getting organic dairy will not solve this problem. In order for cows to produce milk they have to continually be impregnated. So even if hormones are not added to the milk, the cows bodies are producing their own hormones because the cows are pregnant so as long as you are eating any kind of dairy, organic or not, you are consuming these hormones which can cause imbalances with your own hormones.
Dairy and Weight Gain
Dairy is packed full of calories, is also packed full of cholesterol, and contains an extremely high content of fat and it’s not the healthy fat either. After all, cows milk it is used to sustain the lives of baby cows and it is created for baby cows. Humans happen to be the only species that drink the milk from another species. Let that sink in.
Baby cows literally quadruple their weight in their first year of life alone so imagine what consuming dairy does to our human bodies. Dairy also contains a nutrient called casein that encourages appetite, which can lead to high consumption of other foods, as well. It is also known to cause bloating and digestive issues, which are often attempted to be associated with other food sources.
Dairy is Extremely Addictive
Dairy is highly addictive. Why is this? Dairy contains casomorphin, which is an opioid peptide derived from casein, which we now know is the protein found in milk. The distinguishing characteristic of casomorphin is that it has an opioid effect and targets the opioid receptors in our brains, attaching to these receptors and causing an addiction to dairy products. This is why so many people will claim that they can’t give up dairy and that they are addicted. The addiction is real, but with most addictions, if you can just starve your body of dairy products for about 30 days you will no longer crave this food.
The Prevalence of Animal Cruelty in Dairy Operations
The concern of animal cruelty in farming operations has always existed but these days with the rise of social media the dairy industry can no longer hide their cruelty. Female cows, of heifers, are born into a system that annually forcefully impregnates them and as soon as their babies are born their babies are ripped away from them….regardless of how emotionally traumatizing this is for the mothers or their young. If the babies are males, they are immediately slaughtered (since they cannot produce milk) or they are tied up in tiny pens so small that they spend their lives not even being able to turn around just so that humans may eat their tender flesh in the form of “veal.” If the babies are female, they immediately begin living the same cruel and painful lives their mothers live being used as milk machines. These mothers routinely develop mastitis, which is an extremely painful infection of the milk glands, yet they are still milked day after day. When they are too old to produce milk, they are sent to slaughter. It’s a miserable life from start to finish. The routine process of milking cows twice a day, separating their young, and consistently using their bodily functions for a profit seems a bit unethical. While some might argue that it is the way of farming, others say it doesn’t have to be, and these days there are so many healthier options that do not involve any cruelty whatsoever. The dairy industry is a dying industry and these days you can find equal amounts of dairy and plant based products which shows that times are changing.
Final Thoughts and Alternatives
While dairy has been promoted as an optimal source of nutrition and a vitamin powerhouse, the adverse effects of dairy should absolutely be considered. Every food has its downfalls, and dairy is no different. Yet, we are submerged in a world that encourages the consumption of dairy so frequently that is is hard to look beyond what professionals are promoting. If you read studies that tout the health benefits of dairy products, typically these studies are funded by the dairy industry themselves and we as a society have been brainwashed from this industry long enough. From birth through old age, we are encouraged to consume milk for a variety of health benefits but the truth is there is nothing healthy about dairy.
Most grocery stores now carry wonderful alternatives that taste so much like dairy but don’t have any of the negative health or ethical concerns attached to them. If we can choose healthier products for ourselves and the animals, why wouldn’t we? Of course, if we go this route, we will reap awesome benefits: clearer skin, cleaner arteries, weight loss, healthier hormone balance and a clearer conscience.