Is Dairy Good For Humans?
While many people are still finding this hard to swallow (pun intended), the risks associated with dairy consumption are far too great to outweigh any potential benefit. And, I say “potential” benefit because independent studies do not show that dairy is more potent or beneficial than plant based sources of calcium, in preventing osteoporosis or fractures. In fact, some studies¹‚² have concluded that dairy actually contributes to osteoporosis, due to our body’s protective mechanism in reducing the acidic effects of animal proteins, and returning our blood to an alkaline state. However, since additional studies offer conflicting data (especially those paid for by the dairy industry), I’ve decided to simply touch on information that has been established as fact and has not been refuted.
GMO Risks Associated With Dairy Consumption
So, what are the risk factors related to dairy intake? Well, for starters, most dairy cows are fed horrendous diets of nothing more than grains, such as corn, soy and wheat. Not only is this an unnatural diet for a cow, but these grains are grown in the most cost effective way possible, which is through the use of genetically modified seeds. This GMO grain is stored in the bodies and organs of the cows, and is present in the milk that the animals produce. Unless you’re drinking strictly organic milk, and eating all organic dairy products such as sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, etc… you are consuming GMOs in every serving.
So, what’s the big deal about GMOs? Well, human consumption of genetically modified organisms has been linked to everything from allergies to tumor formation, and can literally alter human genes. For more information about the harmful effects of GMOs and the illegal manner in which the information was withheld from the public, check out the book, “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth“, written by attorney Steven Druker and Genetic Roulette by GMO expert, Jeffrey Smith.
Your Immune System Is Under Attack Due To Dairy
Another danger involved with dairy is the use of rBGH³, which stands for Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. rBGH is injected into the cows to increase milk production, and has been shown to increase levels of another hormone in the animals, IGF-1. This IGF-1 hormone is then passed onto humans that consume the dairy products (you), and higher levels of IGF-1 in humans has been linked to increased rates of colon, breast and prostate cancer.
Udder infections in cows are also caused by rBGH, which then requires that the animals are treated with antibiotics. And, of course, the antibiotics are then shared with you as well, weakening your immune system and throwing your gut bacteria out of balance. And since your gut bacteria (known as the microbiome) is your first line of defense against everything that enters your body, and the largest part of your immune system, this balance is extremely important. An out of balance microbiome places you at risk for developing autoimmune diseases and disorders, food allergies, and other serious, and sometimes life threatening illnesses.
Just as with GMOs, the risks of rBGH use are so great, that it has been banned in many countries around the world, including Canada, Japan, Australia and all 25 European Union countries.
The Dairy-Cancer Link
So you might be thinking, “well, I can just eat organic dairy products labeled as rGBH free“, and while that’s absolutely true, there’s a far more important reason to get dairy out of your diet- Cancer!
The link between dairy consumption and cancer is becoming harder to deny. In the book, “The China Study“, Dr T Colin Campbell studied the effects of casein, the primary protein found in cow’s milk, on cancer growth. The findings were astonishing, and proved that, regardless of genetics and exposure to carcinogens, casein promotes the growth of cancer cells when subjects consumed more than 5%, in relation to their total caloric intake. What was truly fascinating was the way that scientists were able to increase or decrease the cancer growth by either increasing or decreasing the amount of casein protein that subjects were fed. As Dr Campbell stated, “nutritional manipulation can turn cancer ‘on’ and ‘off'”. It’s important to note that this research was conducted on various continents and included human subjects from a multitude of ethnic origins, as well as studies performed on rats and mice, to ensure that the findings were accurate.
Now, you might also be thinking, “well, I don’t drink much milk or eat many dairy products, so I’m sure that dairy doesn’t make up more than 5% of my total, daily calories”. For a small portion of the population in the United States, this may be true. However, I urge you to consider all of the additional dairy products and by-products that you’re consuming, that you may not even be aware of. To be sure, check the labels on products that you buy. You may be surprised to find milk, whey or casein derivatives in a great deal of the packaged foods that you and your family eat. For example, I was recently reading the label on a can of Campbell’s French Onion soup. Not only was it made with beef stock and a litany of hidden GMO ingredients, but it also contains cheddar cheese! And you can bet money that it’s not organic cheese, so you’re really getting the worst of the worst. Just remember, it all adds up, and it leads to a very negative and life altering conclusion.
What Does Dairy Cost Your Conscience?
If the reasons above aren’t enough to make you ditch dairy, then you might also consider the amount of cruelty and abuse that exists in the dairy industry. Increased demand for dairy products has exacerbated the problem, as dairy cows are now seen as mere commodities or tools to be used for mass production. This is why undercover investigations continually show blatant physical, and sometimes, sexual abuse of the animals, including that of the helpless calves.
As if the pain and suffering of giving birth, and then having your baby dragged away from you isn’t bad enough, these cows often endure years of beatings and other violent behavior at the hands of factory farm employees. And before you try to reason it away as just “one bad apple”, I can assure you that these are not isolated, rare incidences. In fact, there are very few undercover investigations that have shown no abuse. Rather, abusive treatment is the rule, and dairy cows that are treated and raised humanely are the exception.
So what’s a milk lover to do? There are more non-dairy milk choices on the market now, than at any other time in history, and they’re sold in every major supermarket chain, making them easily accessible and affordable for everyone.
Of course many people know about soy milk, but there’s also some controversy surrounding the consumption of too much processed soy, and some people are allergic to soy as well. What I suggest is that you try all of the dairy free milk options and decide for yourself. Each one has a unique flavor, and you may find that each person in your family prefers a different nut or seed. You may also find, as I have, that certain non-dairy milk flavors go better with some things much more than others, or work better in specific recipes. My personal favorites are cashew, soy and flax milk, but I use them all for different reasons and purposes.
1 Warensjo E, Byberg L, Melhus H, et al. Dietary calcium intake and risk of fracture and osteoporosis: prospective longitudinal cohort study. BMJ. 2011;342:d1473.
2 Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Dawson-Hughes B, Baron JA, et al. Milk intake and risk of hip fracture in men and women: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. J Bone Miner Res 2011;26:833-839
3 Epstein M.D., S. S. What’s In Your Milk: An Expose of Industry and Government Cover-Up on the Dangers of the Genetically Engineered (rBGH) Milk You’re Drinking , 2006