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Why Go Dairy Free?

Updated on November 28, 2012

Why is Dairy Bad for You?

I have recently gone dairy free along with my husband and my children. When I say dairy free I mean no cow's dairy with limited amounts of sheep and goat's dairy. To be precise my children are drinking whole Goat's milk and we are all eating a small amount of sheep's cheese. So the first question you might ask is what is so bad about cow's dairy?

This is a massive area and I'll include some links at the bottom so you can get more information if you are interested, especially regarding the science behind it as I am no expert here.

So the main reasons that dairy is bad for you are as follows:

  • It is high in saturated fat and leads to an increase in bad cholesterol
  • It is designed for baby cows- it is not designed for humans
  • We are the only species who continue to drink milk and eat milk products past infancy, we are certainly the only species who eat and drink the milk of another species!
  • Many people are intolerant of the lactose found in milk
  • Other people are allergic to the protein (casein) found in cow's milk
  • Cow's milk is mass produced so to keep the cow's producing breast milk they inject bovine growth hormone into them which we in turn consume when we drink or eat cow's dairy
  • As a result of some of the above cow's dairy has been linked to several health problems and diseases ranging from acne to eczema to breast cancer.

For more information on the health problems associated with cow's dairy click here

If Dairy is So Bad Why Not Cut Out All Dairy?

This is a good question and one that I'm still battling with myself. No doubt there will be many airy free advocates who think it's a little contradictory to attack cow's dairy and carry on to consume sheep and goat's dairy and obviously the choice is yours. I have made the decision to include some goat's and sheep's dairy after literally hours of research and I'm still not sure. Here is why I've made that decision:

  1. Many people who are allergic to cow's dairy are OK with goat or sheep dairy
  2. While sheep and goat's dairy also has the protein casein it is thought to cause no problems like the casein found in cow's dairy
  3. I have two very young children who still need to consume high fat diets for their brain development- by giving them whole goat's milk I don't need to worry about their fat or calcium consumption as goat's milk is a richer source of both of these than cow's milk.
  4. As sheep's cheese is much less readily available and more expensive our consumption of dairy will decline dramatically but we will still have the option to include some cheese into cooking if we want to
  5. From the point of view of health and weight loss allowing sheep and goat's dairy means that we won't be able to buy most commercially produced sandwiches, cakes and pastries in shops and cafes so even with it's inclusion this new diet should still lead to weight loss, lowered cholesterol etc.
  6. The most crucial difference for me between cow's dairy and goat and sheep is that goat and sheep's dairy does not include growth hormones and so does not lead to many of the health problems that cow's milk leads to.

Health Problems Linked to Dairy Consumption

I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty scientific detail her so if you want more information click here:

The consumption of cow's dairy is thought to be linked to the following health problems:

  • Acne- thought to be caused by the hormone content of cow's milk
  • Asthma- asthma is thought to be caused by food allergies and as cow's milk allergy is one of the main food allergy it is probably linked to asthma in a lot of people
  • Eczema- Of all those who suffer from eczema triggered by food, 10% were directly linked to dairy.
  • Gastrointestinal Bleeding- In those who have allergic responses to dairy it can lead to internal bleeding
  • Arthritis- Rheumatoid arthritis can be made worse by certain groups- dairy is one of them
  • Cancer- linked to hormones and growth factors found in cow's milk that can make cells grow out of control
  • Breast Cancer- studies show there are links between milk and cheese consumption and breast cancer
  • Prostate Cancer- thought to be caused by estrogen and growth hormone IGF-1 found in cow's milk
  • Bowel Cancer- Again linked to growth hormone 1GF-1
  • Ovarian Cancer- linked to lactose found in dairy
  • Colic- in many cases could be caused by breast feeding mothers eating too much dairy which in turn passes through into the breast milk
  • Constipation- studies show that cutting out milk in children with constipation is more effective than using laxatives
  • Heart Disease- linked to the high levels of saturated fats in dairy
  • Chrons disease- linked to a bacteria that affects cows and survives the pasteurization process
  • Diabetes- Use of cow's milk formula in early infancy massively increases the chances of developing diabetes in infants who are susceptible
  • Migraine- dairy is thought to be one of the most common triggers for migraine sufferers


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    • Meg Moon profile image

      Meg Moon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow no unfortunately I don't have my own goats I buy it from a company called delaware farm. I know in the UK some organic brands of milk are without the BGH but no idea about in the US.

    • profile image

      Sierra Mackenzie 5 years ago

      While living in Oklahoma, we drank milk only purchased from Braum's store. It is free of Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). To my knowledge there are no such stores here in the area we have relocated to. Perhaps a health food store could provide it though. Do you have your own goats? I raised my last two children on goat milk from our own herd.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I agree with your message on cows milk. We have family allergies with milk products and through this we have researched and learned we do not need this in our diets. There are so many other alternatives that provide what others think milk does for you. Great post and voted up.

    • Meg Moon profile image

      Meg Moon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Does food come with allergy advice in the UK they have to state if something has milk in?

    • profile image

      Mienaweis 5 years ago

      I have a very severe dairy allergy which results in very painful and frequent cystic breakouts on my face. This seems to also be a family issue as my sister and my grandmother have it also.

      I would give anything to find a cure to the breakouts. The food industry puts dairy in EVERYTHING!!! It's very hard to avoid it all together, but I keep trying.

    • Meg Moon profile image

      Meg Moon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Excellent- yeah one of the reasons I've given it up was because through three pregnancies I've developed quite bad keratin pilaris so hoping to see a difference to that.

    • alipuckett profile image

      alipuckett 5 years ago

      I recently decided to cut way back on (cow's) dairy. I was starting to have skin problems, and I read that the growth hormone in milk could be to blame. It's only been a little over 1 week since I stopped drinking milk, and I have to admit, I've already seen a difference.