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Dairy: The Ugly Truth

Updated on July 30, 2014

Got Milk?

We've all grown up with it. We've all been told to drink it for good health. We always see rich celebrities sporting a milk mustache claiming how milk is the best source of protein and calcium. Yet, so many of us in this country are getting sick, or at least we're pretty close to it.

I'm not just talking about milk. I'm talking about dairy in general. Specifically the dairy from cows.

I can remember days of eating nothing but cereal with a huge glass of milk. I can remember thinking I needed to provide my children with at least 3 glasses a day. I can also remember spending hours with stomach distress after eating ice cream. I've also seen my children have upper respiratory issues after consuming large amounts of dairy for days. It's all connected.

Do you know someone who has given up dairy and felt so much better? Are you thinking of maybe giving up the sacred "food group" too? Read on for more valuable information!

Dairy and Osteoporosis

In traditional, western medicine, milk is promoted for preventing Osteoporosis, yet studies have shown that when there was an increased intake of calcium from dairy products, there were higher bone fracture risks. Why? Since milk is an animal protein, it contains an acid that can, in fact, leach minerals from our bones. The main mineral? Calcium. Seems like a double-edged sword to me.

Instead, choose calcium rich plant foods, such as leafy greens and beans. We don't need as much calcium as we were led to believe.

Dairy and Cardiovascular Disease

Full fat dairy products (as well as any animal products) are high in saturated fats, that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Too many saturated fats in the diet contribute to fat build up in the arteries upping the chance of heart disease, which can lead to stroke, heart attack, and clots.

Some people may choose to opt for a "low fat" version of their dairy; however, it is still important to know the other risks associated with this choice.

Dairy and Cancer

Some people may find controversy in this area, but I still need to print it. Several cancers, specifically ovarian cancer, have been linked to dairy products.

Why? Well, we all know that dairy contains lactose, which is a milk sugar. It is broken down in our bodies and formed into another sugar called galactose. This galactose is then broken down by enzymes in our bodies. So where is the problem? The problem lies when diary products exceeds the enzymes' capacity to break down these sugars. It then can build up in the blood and affect the ovaries. Some women may have low levels of these enzymes to where even a small amount of dairy can be too much.

Of course, we know that diary is not the ONLY link to cancer either, but it is worth thinking about.

Dairy and Contaminants

Synthetic hormones, such as rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) are used often to increase the milk supply in cows. The word "hormone" alone terrifies me. If it is not already naturally in my body, I don't want to put it in there! Would you agree?

The truth is, since cows only naturally produce so much milk (intended for their calf alone), they are then forced to make more. The overproduction of this milk then leads to mastitis, or the inflammation of the mammary glands. Of course, now you have to treat this with an antibiotic. Traces of these hormones and antibiotics have been found in milk samples and other dairy products. Yuck. On top of this, some pesticides have also been found contaminating our dairy foods.

The answer to this area would be to buy organic dairy only.

Dairy and Digestive Stress

I'm sure you know someone who has a "lactose intolerance" right? It actually affects many adults and even children. Symptoms include diarrhea, gas, and abdominal cramps. When your digestive system is faulty, your immune system suffers. Why does this happen? These individuals do not contain enough of the enzyme to help break down the lactose found in dairy.

Often, people will say, "But I've always eaten dairy....why am I just getting these symptoms now?" The truth is, as we get older, the ability to break down these sugars becomes more difficult. Do yourself a favor, and look for dairy alternatives. Your digestive system will thank you!

Dairy and our Children

When it comes to the health of our children, we want what is best. This is why it is up to us, as parents, to take charge of what is going into our children's bodies. It upsets me when I hear our pediatrician ask, "So, how much milk is he drinking?" Just because there is a "Food Group" that is government produced, doesn't mean we should follow it. Our health, and our children's health is not in their best interests, trust me. It is about money.

Ranting aside, with dairy proteins, milk sugar, and saturated fats that come from the dairy products, not to mention the contaminants and hormones, we pose a risk for our children developing an array of early diseases. These diseases include obesity, diabetes, cancers, and even heart disease. It is quite scary.

Our Alternatives

These days, there are so many alternatives to dairy products, that it should not be any trouble to find another choice. First, if a child (or you) MUST have a real dairy product, please opt for organic. Second, consider some yummy alternatives such as Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. Sometimes, they make these in Vanilla, but you should watch the sugar. As for other dairy alternatives, I find that Daiya cheese products are the better alternative for cheese. There are soy and coconut yogurts that are quite yummy too. Be sure to look for non-GMO soy though. As for ice cream, there are also several choices too. I have found that the Almond Milk ice cream bites are a great treat!

Be open to new choices, and please consider your health and your child's health when browsing the dairy aisle.

How often do you consume dairy products?

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    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

      True, carrageenan is controversial. It's all about label reading, but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier. Thanks for reading!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      I stopped all dairy last month and my sinus problems seemed to subside, which is great. I am using now coconut and almond milk, but have to sort through many and read labels carefully as I heard carrageenan is not good for you.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Hi Vandy, I will check out The China Study. I eat lots of leafy greens, I love Kale and I take calcium/magnesium/zinc vitamins.

      Thank you for the suggestions.

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 4 years ago from Ohio Valley

      HI Shyron! It's sad that milk is so commercialized and the advertisements lead us to believe that it is the best source of calcium (I also wrote a hub on Plant Sources of Calcium). Anyway, it is also likely that a traditional medical doctor will dismiss these claims. The book "The China Study" will provide you with some interesting information :) I tell people that if they consume a lot of milk and/or dairy, to supplement with a multivitamin or a calcium/magnesium vitamin. Thank you for reading!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Vandynegl, very interesting, I have Osteo, but did not realize that milk contributes to it. I love cheese, but not milk, I drink 2% some times.

      I will be looking into this. Thank you for the info.

      Voted up +++

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 4 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi rajan jolly! Some people can drink milk and feel okay physically. Others feel the effects almost immediately (digestive); These points are definitely worth considering and researching more. I've read The China Study as well. You might find that book interesting (it is very scientific though). Thank you for responding!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting. I drink milk at least twice a day but I guess looking into these aspects are worth considering.

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 4 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi Sheri Faye! You're welcome! It's worth looking into alternatives :) Many of them have just as much (or even more) calcium and other valuable nutrients.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      That was interesting. I drink lots of milk and thought it was good for me. Thanks for this!