Should we be eating dairy?


Is dairy good or bad for our health?

There has been much debate over this topic, making it quite a confusing food group for so many people.
On one side, dairy is said to be a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein, and even “vital” for improved bone health.
Yet on the other side, it is said that dairy may be preventing us from reaching our optimal health, and is actually even harming us, due to its high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics, and more.
So, which is correct? Is dairy good or bad for our health?

There’s what in my milk?

There are many questionable things that commonly enter milk in the US—like antibiotics, hormones, puss, and blood cells.

Cows are artificially impregnated so many times per year, that in order to reduce the risk of mastitis (infection)which comes along with dead white blood cells (otherwise known as puss)they are injected with antibiotics. These antibiotics remain in the cows system, which then end up in the milk we so commonly drink, and finally, into our bodies.

This can then contribute to poor gut health due to a lack of good gut bacteria, as well as cause antibiotic-resistance in both cows and humans.

“Mastitis is most commonly managed through treatment with antibiotics, usually the beta lactam antibiotics of the penicillin family.” (8)

“Recent experiments with animals have shown that randomly selected individuals already carry some resistant enteric microorganisms.” (6)

“But bacteria in the animals’ gut can also transfer the resistance genes to microbes harmful to humans.” (7)

As if that isn’t enough, studies have also identified the presence of several hormones in cows milk, and many of these hormones have been linked to cancer growths.

Here is a paragraph from one study done on the exposure to estrogen through intake of commercial milk produced from pregnant cows:

“After the intake of cow milk, serum estrone (E1) and progesterone concentrations significantly increased, and serum luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and testosterone significantly decreased in men. Urine concentrations of E1, estradiol, estriol and pregnanediol significantly increased in all adults and children. In four out of five women, ovulation occurred during the milk intake, and the timing of ovulation was similar among the three menstrual cycles.” (5)

Here is a paragraph from another study done on the hormones in dairy foods and their impact on public health:

“In summary, it seems that steroid hormones are very potent compounds in dairy foods, which exert profound biological effects in animals and humans. Most of the previous knowledge about the steroids is according on their physiologic and sometimes supra-physiologic concentrations of steroids but recently it is found that these compounds even at very low doses may have significant biological effects. Special concern should be paid to the effects, which may occur during certain and sensitive time points including perinatal and pubertal periods. To this end and with respect to the considerable progress in developing of analytical methods and bioassays, it is critically needed to clarify the possible and potential impact of the present hormones especially estrogens in dairy foods on consumers health situation because it is already pointed out that possible unwanted effects on human health by consumption of meat from oestrogen-treated animals cannot be excluded.” (2)

Phew. Doesn't sound so good, does it?

By reducing your intake of dairy, not only will you be reducing your intake of hormones, antibiotics, puss, and blood cells, you will also be lowering your saturated fat and cholesterol intake.

And as we know, high cholesterol can result in buildups of plaque in the artery walls, which narrows the arteries, increasing one's chances of getting a heart attack, heart disease, a stroke, peripheral artery disease and type 2 diabetes. (1)

Plant-based alternatives, on the other hand, are free of cholesterol and saturated animal fats, and are high in dietary fiber, which means one's chances of developing chronic illnesses and diseases are likely to be lower.

Plus, managing chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, various cancers, and type 2 diabetes may improve with replacing animal-based protein sources with plant-based protein sources.

But what about calcium?

Since our younger years, we have been made to believe by the dairy industry that milk is vital for proper bone strength. However, studies have shown that we do not need to drink cows milk to get our daily calcium requirements. There ARE, in fact, many plant-based calcium sources to choose from.

Here are a few examples:

  • Fortified plant milks (1 cup = 300-500mg)
  • Fortified juices (1 cup = 300-500mg)
  • Tofu (1/2 cup = 400-450mg)
  • Soy yogurt (1 cup = 309mg)
  • Collard greens (1 cup = 270mg)
  • Kidney beans (1 cup = 264mg)
  • Turnip greens (1 cup = 200mg)
  • Oatmeal (1 cup = 187mg)
  • Tempeh (1 cup = 185mg)
  • Chia seeds (2 Tbsp = 177mg)
  • Mustard greens (1 cup = 160mg)
  • White beans (1 cup = 130mg)
  • Tahini (2 Tbsp = 120mg)
  • Soy beans (1 cup = 100mg)
  • Kale (1 cup = 94mg)
  • Almonds (22 almonds = 80mg)

Keep in mind, the daily calcium requirement for adults is 1,000mg, and 1 cup of regular cow’s milk contains 305mg of calcium.

So, why do we drink milk?

Not only are the health risks with consuming dairy significantly higher than consuming plant-based alternatives, but it’s also important to mention that we are the only mammal out of 5,000 species who continues to drink breast milk after infancy. (4)

Not only are humans the only species to consume milk as adults, but we are also the only species to drink milk from other animals! It’s time we ask ourselves why most of us continue to ingest this?

When there are so many plant-based alternatives out there on the market now, there’s no longer an excuse to stick to what we’re used to. Plant-based alternatives that are derived from nuts or seeds, and grown from water and sunlight are undoubtedly healthier than a hormonal fluid from the udders and nipples of cows who have been artificially impregnated, fed mysterious feeds, injected with antibiotics, and are under constant stress and fear.

What now?

If you’re interested in trying plant-based alternatives, my favorite brands I highly recommend checking out are Elmhurst and Califia Farms

OR, if you’re interested in making your own nut/seed/grain milks at home, you can invest in one of these Almond Cow machines! I use mine on a weekly basis, and I love it.

I've also created a recipe e-book filled with delicious dessert recipes that are ALL dairy-free. Check it out here

Stay healthy my friends!

References:

1. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol#.WpY2LWZL3EZ

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4524299/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19217359

4. https://plantproof.com/cows-milk-vs-soy-and-almond/

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19496976

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216502/

7. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/09/are-antibiotics-turning-livestock-superbug-factories

8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/mastitis-in-dairy-cattle

Medical Disclaimer: 

The information found on natalyahardan.com or any of its media platforms is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and is based on our own research. Any statements made on these platforms are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, or to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult with your medical practitioner before making any changes to your current diet and lifestyle. 


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