I haven’t had cow’s milk in well over a year & my husband made the switch to almond milk a few months back.
We both found that our bodies couldn’t handle milk – leaving us with belly aches, stuffy noses, and a lowered immune system.
After noticing how we both felt better after cutting milk out of our diets, I started to look at why. Was milk as healthy as we had been raised to believe? Or were we just one of the many dairy-sensitive folks?
The push to drink cow’s milk started around 1920 though the hype & marketing didn’t take off until the 40’s & 50’s, when milk became mandatory in all schools & marketing laws came into effect. Of course, we can’t forget the “Got Milk?” campaign that started in the 1990’s & is still plastered all over billboards.
The United States consumes the most milk compared to every other country. The United States also has the highest rate of hip fractures & osteoporosis markers. Strange, considering one of the key marketing “facts” for the consumption of dairy milk is that it prevents osteoporosis in the elderly and aids bone growth in children.
It turns out, after a little research, that cow’s milk is acid forming so it ends up depleting our bones of calcium (fun fact: although citrus fruits are considered acidic, they have an alkalizing effect on our bodies).
Acid vs. Alkaline
All foods can be divided into two categories, acid-forming and alkaline-forming.
If we are not eating enough alkaline-forming foods, then our body has to pull these important minerals (like calcium & magnesium) from our bones, teeth and organs. This can compromise our immune system, cause fatigue and make us vulnerable to viruses and disease.
Alkaline-forming foods include most fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds and herbal teas. Acid-forming foods include most grains, beans, meats, dairy products, fish, fast foods and processed foods.
As many nutritionists agree, eating primarily alkaline-forming foods (lots of veggies!) and only having a small amount of acid-forming foods, is the healthiest for our bodies. It’s recommended that our diet consists of 80% alkaline foods & 20% acid-forming.
(fun fact: a highly acidic diet creates a favorable environment for yeast and fungus. When switching to a more alkaline diet, you may notice that you have more energy and that chronic yeast infections begin to disappear.)
The Case Against Milk (The Facts)
-Cow milk is created for baby cows. The purpose of cow’s milk is to turn a 85 pound calf into a 1,000 pound cow as rapidly as possible.
-Everything in the cow’s milk, the hormones, the lipids, the fats, the protein, the sodium, etc. is meant to get that baby calf into a strong adult.
-The composition differences between cow & human milk are drastically different. There is almost double protein in cows milk, though breast milk has almost double the carbohydrates. There is also more fat in breast milk.
-Our bodies absorb more nutrients from leafy greens versus dairy milk (only 32% of milk’s nutrients are taken & used).
-A recent study found that men and women over 39 who drink more than three cups of milk daily had a higher risk for bone fractures and even death, compared to drinking less than one glass daily.
-Some studies show that dairy is also linked to autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes, as well as heart disease and cancer (though looking at other factors are important).
-High levels of phthalates have been found in cow’s milk, which is basically natural BPA. Phthalates can cause damage to the human liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive systems.
-In observational studies both across countries and within single populations, higher dairy intake has been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer.
-Studies have shown higher dairy intake is linked to higher ovarian cancer risk.
-Across countries, populations that consume more dairy have higher rates of multiple sclerosis.
-Dairy protein has been shown to increase IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) levels. Increased levels of IGF-1 has now been implicated in several cancers
-Higher milk intake is linked to acne.
-Milk intake has been implicated in constipation and ear infections
-Much of the world’s population cannot adequately digest milk due to lactose intolerance.
-A single serving of whole milk can contain more than 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of saturated fat, but even 1 percent milk has 8 percent of the RDA. If you consume three servings of whole milk, you’re already at 60 percent for the day, even before eating any food.
-A study of more than 12,000 children showed that the more milk they drank, the more weight they gained, and skim and 1 percent milk appeared, counter-intuitively, to lead to more weight gain than drinking 2 percent or whole milk. The study also found that replacing soda with milk did not lead to weight loss.
Alternatives to Dairy Milk
- Water. This is the drink that should be consumed 24/7 – when you wake up, go to bed, with every meal, etc.
- Goat milk
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Rice milk
(Fun fact: While regular milk is not beneficial to the human body, studies have shown that fermented milk such as kefir is very healthy, as it becomes more alkaline than acidic)
Dairy is not and should not be a dietary staple in your diet. While it’s hard to avoid all dairy, we should at least cut back on the amount that we drink.
Let me know your thoughts on the milk debate!