In 2011, I became quite sick and eighteen months later I was finally diagnosed with post viral chronic fatigue. It took that long to be diagnosed because doctors kept telling me I was fine (which going by my blood tests I was). One of my major symptoms was shortness of breath, especially during and post running. Sometimes it would last for hours after running. My GP thought that I had asthma, but this was an incorrect diagnosis and I was put on medication for no reason.
During my journey of trying to find answers, and getting frustrated that nobody asked about my diet, I took matters into own hands and did my own research. I didn’t realise that I would find out that dairy was so unhealthy for us. After all, we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that we need dairy for protein and calcium right? As soon as I knew the health consequences, I stopped consuming dairy overnight. Was it hard for a massive cheese lover? Yes and no. I could no longer eat something I loved, but my health was being affected. Which was more important? The answer to me was simple. After having run my second 50km ultra-marathon this weekend, I can assure you that dairy is not necessary in our diet and is doing us all more harm than good.
Here are my top reasons why dairy should be avoided:
1. Dairy increases the chance of getting cancer
There have been numerous scientific studies that show that consuming dairy can increase the body’s production of insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) which may promote cancer
A 2001 study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming dairy foods high in calcium are associated with a greater risk of prostate cancer. In the early 2000s, rates of prostate cancer in Japan, whilst still lower than the United States, had increased 25 fold over the last 50 years. This is due to the increased consumption of dairy after World War 2 and the rule enacted in 1954 that school children had to drink 200ml of milk every lunch time.
A 2004 study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming high amounts of dairy and the sugar lactose, increased the chances of severe ovarian cancer.
A 2014 study published in the British Journal of Cancer showed the following:
22,788 lactose intolerant participants from Sweden were followed and showed that low consumption of milk and other dairy products is linked with decreased risks of lung, breast, and ovarian cancers.
2. Dairy does not reduce fracture risk
A 2014 study published in the British Medical Journal showed that there was no reduction in fracture risk with increased dairy intake. In fact, it was associated with a higher fracture incidence in women.
Professor T. Colin Campbell, Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University actually goes as far as to say:
“The association between the intake of animal protein and fracture rates appears to be as strong as that between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.”
There have also been numerous other studies done in this area:
“Consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in old age. (“Case-Control Study of Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in the Elderly”. American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 139, No. 5, 1994).
And from the Harvard Nurses study (which was 12 years long):
“These data do not support the hypothesis that higher consumption of milk or other food sources of calcium by adult women protects against hip or forearm fractures.” (Source: Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. American Journal of Public Health. 1997).
Countries with the lowest consumption of dairy (for example Asia) have much lower incidences of osteoporosis and other fractures.
3. On average 75% of the World’s population is lactose intolerant
Cow’s milk contains a sugar called lactose which a high percentage of the population are unable to digest. Lactase is an enzyme that helps break down lactose and the production of this decreases after we stop breastfeeding (or at approximately 2 years old). Lactose intolerance can cause bloating, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome and nausea, to name a few common symptoms.
An estimated 98 percent of Southeast Asians, 90 percent of Asian-Americans, 74 percent of Native-Americans, 70 percent of African-Americans, and the majority of Jewish, Latino, and Indian people all suffer from lactose intolerance.
4. Dairy is inflammatory
Dairy is a known inflammatory food that will cause sinus and respiratory problems including post nasal drip. Did my breathing issues improve when I stopped consuming dairy ? Absolutely. My whole health improved.
5. Dairy is acidic
Milk and all associated dairy products are acidic and therefore cause the body’s pH to become acidic. We want our bodies to ideally be at a pH of between 7.3-7.45. Cheese has a pH of about 5.1 and milk is 6.5 so when we consume these, our body needs to keep in homeostasis (balance) and actually takes minerals such as calcium from our bones. If we consume too much acidic food our bodies can’t keep in balance and it goes into acidosis. This disrupts normal cell function and can lead to further complications such as cancer, gout, arthritis and osteoporosis.
6. Dairy causes acne
A 2013 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed a link between acne and dairy foods/foods with a high glycaemic index. This backs the 2009 study in the International Journal of Dermatology which reported that analysis of various studies show that dairy consumption leads to an increased prevalence and severity of acne in both boys and girls. This also supports the 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that showed a positive association with acne and milk intake.
7. There are lots of hormones in milk
‘But I drink organic milk’ I hear you say. It doesn’t matter. For a cow to produce milk, it has to be pregnant (just like humans) so there is a lot of the sex hormones progesterone and oestrogen floating around. We’re even milking pregnant cows and studies show that this milk contains as much as 33 times more oestroen sulfate (an oestrogenic hormone). This hormone has been linked to many hormone cancer such as breast, ovarian, uterine, testicular and prostate. In females oestroen has been shown to cause breast tenderness and pain, headaches, nausea, menstrual problems, hypertension, leg cramps and other issues such as endometriosis pain. In men it can cause nausea, vomiting and erectile dysfunction, just to name a few concerns. A 2010 Japanese study found that men’s testosterone levels decreased after they began drinking milk.
Non organic milk also contains recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). rBGH is a synthetic hormone that is marketed to dairy farmers because it increases milk production in cows. Unfortunately it causes major hormone disruption in humans. The good news is that rBGH has been banned in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. There is currently a moratorium in the European Union. It is still used in the United States of America since it was approved by the FDA in 1993.
8. Cow’s milk is for Calves
As Dr Mark Hyman states:
Dairy is nature’s perfect food — but only if you’re a calf.
The purpose of cow’s milk is to turn a calf weighing approximately 60 pounds into a cow weighing up to 2000 pounds two years later. Unfortunately calves are often removed from their mother’s within a few days and humans take the milk that the cow is producing.
If the calf is left with the mother (very rare), once it is weaned, it never drinks milk again. In fact we are the only species on the planet that drinks milk as adults. The cow’s milk, like all mammals’ milk is naturally designed to be nutritionally perfect for calves. Human breast milk is also the same. It contains the perfect amounts of fatty acids, lactose, protein and amino acids necessary to meet the demands of a growing baby. Once we start interfering with nature, and drinking milk from another species that is not meant for us, our health starts to become impacted.
If you are considering giving up dairy but are unsure where to start, contact me here to see how we can work together.
Don’t forget to check out my almond milk recipe-a great dairy milk substitute.