Are dairy products good or bad for your health?
The issue of whether cow’s milk is healthy is quite controversial, and the debate can be confusing to many people. Research has been published, which shows a possible link between dairy products and the development of hormone sensitive cancers like breast, ovarian and prostate cancers. This is not surprising, since milk is high in growth promoting hormones. After all, it is consumed by infants who are supposed to be growing rapidly.
Professor Jeff Holly, from the Bristol Royal Infirmary in England, believes that milk has some negative effects on health. There are many unanswered questions over possible links between cow’s milk and cancer, which point to the growth factors, hormones and various proteins contained in it. These substances can possibly act to promote unregulated growth of cells, as seen in cancers, and encourage inflammation in the human body.
As if these facts aren’t scary enough already, let's have a look at some other facts:
- Besides humans (and domesticated animals who are fed by humans), no other species drinks milk beyond infancy or drinks the milk of another species.
- Cow’s milk is suited to the nutritional needs of calves, who unlike human infants, have 4 stomachs and gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months. Conversely, human breast milk is suited to human infants.
- Although women from western countries such as Australia and America consume tremendous amounts of calcium from dairy, their rates of osteoporosis are among the highest in the world. Consumption of cheese, yogurt, ice-cream and milk is very high in Western nations, yet osteoporosis is still incredibly common. Conversely, Chinese women consume half the calcium (much of it from plant sources) and have scant incidence of the bone disease.
- Consumption of dairy products can aggravate gallbladder problems. Most people with gallstones or an inflamed gallbladder feel worse after eating dairy products. This is because they tend to thicken the bile and that promotes bile stasis and sludge. If you have a gallbladder problem, our brand new book should help you.
- Just about everyone with hay fever, sinusitis or eczema improves when they remove dairy products from their diet.
Many people believe dairy products are the only source of calcium in the diet. This is definitely not the case.
Dietary habits that promote weak bones
Obtaining sufficient calcium in your diet is important, but it is equally important not to consume foods that promote bone loss. Danger foods for osteoporosis include:
- Caffeine – When consumed in large quantities, caffeine promotes leaching of calcium from your skeleton. Coffee and some soft drinks are the biggest source of caffeine, but it is also found in tea, energy drinks, some weight loss products and chocolate. Try to limit coffee to two cups per day.
- Soft drinks – Most soft drinks are high in phosphoric acid; it doesn’t matter whether they are regular or diet versions. Consuming excess phosphorus promotes calcium loss from your bones, particularly if you have a low calcium diet.
- Sugar – The average Australian eats 63 kilograms of sugar a year! Many people are addicted to sugar and would be tired and miserable if they had to give it up. The problem is consuming sugar increases the amount of calcium you lose in your urine.
How to keep your bones strong
- Make sure you are not vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is required to enable calcium to enter bones. The vitamin is made when your skin is exposed to sunlight, or it can be taken in supplement form. You can have a blood test to check your level.
- Exercise regularly. If you don’t exercise, your muscles will shrink and your bones will weaken.
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruit. They are high in vitamin K and boron, which strengthen bones.
- Make sure your diet is rich in minerals. Mineral rich foods include seafood, bone broth, pastured red meat, poultry, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These foods will provide calcium, magnesium, strontium and other minerals necessary for a healthy skeleton and teeth.
- Some medication can cause thinning of the bones; these include steroids, antacids, some hormonal contraceptives and some anti-depressants.
- Undiagnosed celiac disease is a common cause of osteoporosis. Other intestinal diseases that reduce nutrient absorption (eg. Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease) also increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- High levels of sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol and soft drinks all promote osteoporosis.
- Deficiencies of the hormones estrogen, testosterone and DHEA can cause osteoporosis. These hormones can be checked with a blood test.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.