Dairy Products And Health Concerns – Part 2
This is the Part 2 of the Dairy Products And Health Concerns article. If you missed the Part 1, please click here
4. Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is common among many populations, affecting approximately 95 percent of Asian-Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African-Americans, 53 percent of Mexican-Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians.33 Symptoms, which include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and flatulence, occur because these individuals do not have the enzyme lactase to digest the milk sugar lactose. When digested, the breakdown products of lactose are two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. Nursing children have active enzymes that break down galactose, but as we age, many of us lose much of this capacity.34 Due to the common nature of this condition, and in order to avoid these uncomfortable side effects, milk consumption is not recommended.
Milk contains contaminants that range from hormones to pesticides. Milk naturally contains hormones and growth factors produced within a cow’s body. In addition, synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone are commonly used in cows to increase the production of milk.35 Once introduced into the human body, these hormones may affect normal hormonal function.
When treating cows for conditions such as mastitis, or inflammation, of the mammary glands, antibiotics are used, and traces of these antibiotics have occasionally been found in samples of milk and dairy products. This treatment is used frequently, because mastitis is a very common condition in cows, due to dairy product practices which have cows producing more milk than nature intended.
Pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins are other examples of contaminants found in milk. Dairy products contribute to one-fourth to one-half of the dietary intake of total dioxins.36 All of these toxins do not readily leave the body and can eventually build to harmful levels that may affect the immune, reproductive, and the central nervous systems. Moreover, PCBs and dioxins have also been linked to cancer.37
Other contaminants often introduced during processing of milk products include melamine, often found in plastics, which negatively affects the kidneys and urinary tract due to their high nitrogen content,38 and carcinogenic toxins including aflatoxins. These are additionally dangerous because they are not destroyed in pasteurization.39
6. Milk Proteins and Diabetes
Insulin-dependent (type 1 or childhood-onset) diabetes is linked to consumption of dairy products in infancy.40 A 2001 Finnish study of 3,000 infants with genetically increased risk for developing diabetes showed that early introduction of cow’s milk increased susceptibility to type 1 diabetes.41 In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics observed up to a 30 percent reduction in the incidence of type 1 diabetes in infants who avoid exposure to cow’s milk protein for at least the first three months of their lives.42
7. Health Concerns for Children and Infants
Milk proteins, milk sugar, fat, and saturated fat in dairy products pose health risks for children and encourage the development of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. While low-fat milk is often recommended for decreasing obesity risk, a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood showed that children who drank 1 percent or skim milk, compared with those who drank full-fat milk, were not any less likely to be obese.43 Moreover, a current meta-analysis found no support for the argument that increasing dairy product intake will decrease body fat and weight over the long term (>1 year).44
For infants, the consumption of cow’s milk is not recommended. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants below 1 year of age not be given whole cow’s milk,45 as iron deficiency is more likely due to the low amount of iron found in cow’s milk as compared with human breast milk.46 Colic is an additional concern with milk consumption. Up to 28 percent of infants suffer from colic during the first month of life.47nPediatricians learned long ago that cow’s milk was often the reason. We now know that breastfeeding mothers can have colicky babies if the mothers consume cow’s milk. The cow’s antibodies can pass through the mother’s bloodstream, into her breast milk, and to the baby.48,49
Additionally, food allergies appear to be common results of cow’s milk consumption, particularly in children.50,51 Cow’s milk consumption has also been linked to chronic constipation in children.52
Milk and dairy products are not necessary in the diet and can, in fact, be harmful to health. It is best to consume a healthful diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fortified foods and fresh juices. These nutrient-dense foods can help you meet your calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin D requirements with ease—and without facing the health risks associated with dairy product consumption.
We talked about the problem – dairy products; we explained what negative impact these products have on our health; and now what we can do about it?
Here is your hit list of dairy alternatives (mainly raw food sources as this is what we are promoting to achieve the best health):
- Instead of Milk – Try nuts & seeds milk such as almond, cashew, coconut milk or poppy seed milk etc.
- Instead of Yoghurt/Dairy desserts – Try coconut yoghurt with dairy free probiotic culture to ferment the yoghurt
- Instead of Cheese – Try raw cashew or almond cheese
- Instead of Ice-cream – Try raw ice creams made from frozen fruits and nuts milk
- Instead of Milk Chocolate – Try dark raw chocolate or carob chocolate
- Instead of Butter or spreads – Try olive oil, flax oil, macadamia oil, sesame oil, nut butters or spreads, avocado, tahini,
- Instead of Buttermilk, Butterfat – Try ghee, coconut milk/cream
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