Last week, I came across an article about a British study with an intriguing title. The result of the study wasn't shocking to me but I bet it would be to most parents. The title that caught my eye was, “100,000 Person Study Reveals This Causes Early Death.” The study, published in the British Medical Journal, was a large scale study of thousands of Swedish people which discovered that cow’s milk has a deteriorating effect on health when consumed in the long-term. This got me thinking about how so many infants and toddlers are guzzling down bottles of this stuff multiple times a day.
The study I referenced above, tracked 61,433 women aged 39 to 74 over 20 years, and 45,339 men of similar age for 11 years, found that the more cow’s milk people drank, the more likely they were to die or experience a bone fracture during the study period. So it's not like the commercial says, milk does a body good???
Milk is Actually NOT Good for Your Bones
Milk is touted for preventing osteoporosis, yet clinical research shows otherwise. It's not only this study that showed a negative effect on bones. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 75,000 women for 12 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk. In fact, increased intake of calcium from dairy products was associated with a higher fracture risk.
The dairy industry has done a great job of convincing Americans that pasteurized milk products are the best source of calcium and are good for our bones but this is just not the case. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process actually causes osteoporosis.
Milk Promotes Congestion, Ear Infections, and More
“The association between cow milk exposure and recurrent ear infections in susceptible children has been documented for 50 years,” states Dr. Michael Greger on NutritionFacts.org. This is not a new idea, yet milk is still recommended for babies and toddlers which doesn't make sense. This is something that has been studied and found to be true and is also stated by many parents who have personally seen that eliminating milk stops reoccurring ear infections.
Milk consumption also promotes excess mucus production in the body. In kids, this is especially true because they are already more prone to excess mucus that adults. My personal experience proved this true for me. Dairy was the first area of my diet that I changed when I started learning about natural living and real food. I had reoccurring cases of sinus infections and colds in my mid-20's and could not figure out what was going on until I eliminated dairy products. After 2-3 months without dairy, I was clear of all sinus issues and even saw elimination of environmental allergies.
Milk May Increase Cancer Risk
Several cancers, such as ovarian cancer, have been linked to the consumption of dairy products. The milk sugar lactose is broken down in the body into another sugar, galactose. Galactose is then broken down further by enzymes. According to a study by Daniel Cramer, MD, and his colleagues at Harvard, when dairy product consumption exceeds the enzymes’ capacity to break down galactose, it can build up in the blood and may affect a woman’s ovaries. Some women have particularly low levels of these enzymes, and when they consume dairy products on a regular basis, their risk of ovarian cancer can be triple that of other women.
Now that we've gone through the reasons not to drink milk, what do we do instead? This is the question I get time and time again….
“If we don't drink milk, HOW WILL WE GET ENOUGH CALCIUM?”
Wow, the dairy industry's marketing has really done a number on us because people really believe that cow's milk is the only way to get calcium in the diet. This is so far from the truth!!
Dark leafy greens are the best place to get calcium. Collard greens, kale, spinach, swiss chard, are all excellent sources. If you're still looking for more options here are some good ones:
- Collard Greens, 1 cup = 266 mg
- Broccoli, 1 cup = 62 mg
- Sweet potato, 1 cup = 76 mg
- Black turtle beans, 1 cup = 102 mg
- Great Northern Beans, 1 cup = 120 mg
- Navy beans, 1 cup = 126 mg
- Dried figs (1o figs) = 140 mg
- Butternut squash, 1 cup = 84
- Sesame seeds, 1 cup = 280 mg
- Blackstrap Molasses, 1 tbsp. = 135
Although milk may be recommended by pediatricians as a “healthy” beverage, it's clear that it's not as healthy as we are told. With so many negative health effects, is it worth the risk? Milk is not a necessary part of the diet because it's well known calcium content can be replaced with healthier plant based foods.