The dairy industry has had a very successful campaign to get everyone thinking we’ve got to have milk to be healthy. Not only that, the dairy lobby successfully influenced USDA dietary recommendations on our food choices: While the Harvard School of Public Health recommends limiting dairy to just one to two servings per day (1, 2), the USDA recommends most people should consume at least three servings of dairy daily. Harvard cites there is little evidence to suggest dairy is essential for health, yet there is “considerable evidence” that too high a dairy intake can be harmful (3, 4) (Info courtesy Green Choice).
Let’s look at other reasons to give up drinking cow’s milk:
- Dairy farming is a large contributor to climate change and pollution, (see my previous post),
- Current science is refuting the need for milk in our diet. Three out of four people in the world are lactose intolerant. Additionally, milk can exacerbate a host of health problems such as eczema, high cholesterol, cancer, and a host of other problems
- Cows milk was designed for calves not humans. Human babies need human milk. Cow’s milk is full of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone that are designed to stimulate growth. According to this Harvard study, milk can also stimulate growth of cancer cells as well.
- Milk concentrates pesticides and environmental contaminants from the atmosphere that the cow has consumed. Cheese is even worse.
- On the myth that one needs cow’s milk to build strong bones from Christopher Gardener Ph.D, a Stanford Nutritional scientist states:
“Most of us grew up believing that milk is important for children to build strong bones and for the elderly to prevent osteoporosis. But milk, a good source of calcium, isn’t necessarily the most critical factor for bone health. There are countries like Japan and India where the population is predominantly lactose-intolerant, where milk intake is low and hip fracture rates are also low. But many of those cultures do more weight-bearing activities than Americans,” he said. “It’s better to be physically active than drink milk as a way to strengthen your bones. Studies have shown that drinking milk can improve your bone density, but whether it helps prevent bone fractures is debatable”
The journal review in Pediatrics in 2005 revealed that “drinking milk does not improve bone strength in children. In a more recent study, researchers tracked the diets, exercise, and stress fracture rates of adolescent girls and concluded that dairy products and calcium do not prevent stress fractures”. Other sources of calcium such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and plants are far better than milk with added health benefits.
So what’s a person to do? Try plant milks and plant based cheeses. They won’t taste exactly like cow’s milk but they provide great substitutes. My personal favorite is oat milk, Silk Oat Yeah to be precise. Often the brands that say “extra creamy” taste the most like regular milk.
If you haven’t already switched to plant-based milk yet, give it a try. The earth and your health will be the better for it.
Illustrations by the author
Also blogging at byalannapass.com