This "Healthy" Drink Has a Whole Host of Health Problems

The government sure is milking the “mustache” gag. They’ve helped to promote dairy so much that “Got Milk” is now a national catch phrase. But why are they promoting milk so heavily? And is milk really that important to good health? The answers may surprise you.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends three glasses of milk a day. Why? Because milk builds strong bones and combats osteoporosis. At least that’s what the government tells you.

But significant studies show that there is no positive association between milk and bone strength. And some studies may even link it to cancer.

The Milk Myth

Milk is considered one of nature’s great building blocks. That’s because it has enjoyed heavy endorsement for many years. Much of that promotion comes from the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. But several of the “experts” who designed the pyramid are dairy industry insiders.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, family medicine practitioner and Advisory Board member of the Food as Medicine Program at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine, USDA dietary recommendations primarily protect industry interests… not your health.

The government tells us that milk is good for us because it:

  • Builds strong bones
  • Combats osteoporosis
  • Rebuilds muscle

Here is the government’s argument for you: Milk is rich in calcium. Calcium builds strong bones and teeth. Therefore, milk will strengthen your bones.

However, many leading experts hotly refute this. In fact, two studies conducted by leading nutritional scientist and Harvard University researcher Dr. Walter Willet provide evidence that eating dairy does not reduce the risk of fracture.

In fact, one of these studies – an extensive 12-year review of 78,000 women – concluded that dairy may actually increase the risk of fractures by 50 percent.

“Milk is a primary source of calcium and vitamin D and therefore might be expected to decrease osteoporotic bone loss and fracture risk, yet research has not generally supported this assumption,” concluded the study.

Dr. Willet’s follow-up study was published six years later in 2003. It showed that milk consumption “conferred a weak, non-significant reduction in fracture risk.” The study also found that with “higher daily intakes of milk, there was still no evidence of a protective effect.”

Some experts believe that the idea that osteoporosis is caused by calcium deficiency was created to sell dairy products. It’s not surprising that they believe there is no truth to it, when you consider that American women are among the biggest consumers of calcium in the world, and yet they still have one of the highest levels of osteoporosis in the world.

Vitamin D More Effective Than Calcium for Preventing Fractures?

Research also shows that Africa and Asia have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. These countries also consume the lowest rates of dairy and calcium.

Although dairy and calcium were not shown to reduce the risk of fractures, Dr. Willet’s Harvard study did identify a compound that can help.1 According to the study, “An adequate vitamin D intake is associated with a lower risk of osteoporotic hip fractures in postmenopausal women.”

The study suggests fatty fish – such as wild salmon, sardines, and mackerel – as good food sources of vitamin D. While these are the best food sources, they still do not contain nearly the amount of vitamin D your body needs. By far, the best way to get the vitamin D you need is to allow direct sun exposure to your skin (without burning).

Credible Link between Calcium and Cancer?

As you can imagine, you can get too much of a good thing. In fact, some studies show an association between cancer and excess calcium in the diet.

One of these studies reviewed the links between dairy and prostate cancer. The research concluded that the more dairy a man consumes, the more it raises his risk of cancer – by up to 50 percent.

Researchers believe that as calcium increases in the blood, vitamin D drops. Vitamin D has been shown to have amazing anti-cancer properties. Therefore, by decreasing those levels in the body, the risk of cancer potentially increases.

Digesting Dairy

Then there are the more commonly recognized problems with dairy. It’s reported that approximately 75 percent of the world’s population2 is unable to properly digest lactose (a type of sugar found in milk). This “lactose intolerance” lies in our origins: We didn’t domesticate animals – or drink their milk – until about 10,000 years ago. Ten thousand years is the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. Our ancient genetics haven’t evolved to match our modern diets.

Furthermore, most humans stop producing significant amounts of lactase – the enzyme needed to metabolize lactose – between the ages of two and five. Simple conclusion: we weren’t meant to digest milk on a regular basis.

The Migraine-Milk Connection

Intolerance to milk and dairy can manifest itself in many different ways. Milk became a real headache for one concerned mother.

“When my son started kindergarten he developed what looked like acne around his mouth,” explained “Sarah.” “We discovered it was caused by the milk he was drinking at school. We never gave him milk at home, because our family has a history of lactose intolerance. We started giving him a lactase pill every day so he could have all the dairy he wanted at school….we didn’t want him to feel left out on ice cream day. But he started having headaches that became more and more severe as he got older. They eventually turned into migraines that were so bad he could hardly function and was getting them about every five days.”

When the doctor couldn’t provide a solution, Sarah researched the connection between migraines and milk link for herself.

“I discovered that dairy can cause migraines in people who are allergic to milk. My doctor apparently was unaware of this. We immediately put my son on a dairy-free diet and the migraines disappeared. He is now a very different little boy… no migraines, doesn’t miss school, and is happier.”

Campaign Claims Not Backed by Science

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently requested that the USDA back up the “milk mustache” campaign claims with science. The panel of scientists concluded the following:

  • There was no compelling proof that dairy builds strong bones.
  • Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.
  • Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Milk doesn’t offer sports benefits. It does not improve athletic performance.
  • Dairy may be linked to prostate cancer.

Given all the findings about dairy, it’s probably a good idea to get your vitamin D, potassium, protein, and healthy fats from other food sources, including lean meats, wild fish, fruits and vegetables… and of course, frequent sun exposure.

References:
1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12540414
2 http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-27939567_ITM

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Health Topic: Diet and Nutrition | Undercover

Comments:

  1. Tom Beckmier says:

    Great article, folks. Now all you have to do is condense it into 3 paragraphs or less so the rest of the country will read it!

  2. Sandra Miller says:

    I’m afraid there is a serious flaw in those studies. They most likely used wimpy, pasteurized milk from grain-fed cows for the studies. The dairy industry has been robbing people blind for decades. The cows are raised in filthy, inhumane conditions in CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) and fed grains (which cows were never intended to eat) and the grains are contaminated with all sorts of GMOs and pesticides and herbicides. Scientists have found as many as 20 chemicals in pasteurized milk that are not in raw milk, including antibiotics the cows are given because they are raised in such filthy conditions.

    The researchers also completely disregarded the absence of Vitamin K2, essential for the bone-building process. Without vitamin K2, much of the calcium goes to soft tissue, like the arteries, rather than to the bones. This is found in fermented milk products such as kefir. The pasteurization process also damages some of the proteins and the calcium found in raw milk, so that the calcium is not as well-absorbed by the body.

    If a farmer raises his cows humanely on good pasture land and tests regularly for pathogens, there is almost no chance of getting sick from raw milk. There have been thousands of adverse reactions from pasteurized milk reported to the CDC as opposed to only 2 for raw milk. (For more information on raw milk and vitamin K2, go to Mercola.com.)

    I have been drinking raw milk and kefir and eating yogurt made from raw milk for nearly a year now and my health has majorly improved. I’ve lost weight (something that’s extremely difficult for someone in a wheelchair), due partly to the CLA in grass-fed raw milk that is not in pasteurized milk, and my blood pressure, which had been high, is now back down to normal range without drugs.

    Our health care system is driven by greed. Big agribuisness and conventional medicine, run basically by the drug companies, try to horde all the business for themselves and they are trying to rob us of our constitutional rights to choose even what we will eat in our own homes. To do that, they encourage flawed studies calculated to prove their preconceived ideas of what the outcome should be, and hide anything the find that opposes anything that will rake in more money for them, no matter how the American people suffer. I’m not saying the researchers in this study did that. They may not have even though of the difference in the nutritional value of the milk or what pasteurization does to the milk. I just want people to know that flawed studies give false results.

  3. muzakarias@gmail.com says:

    It would be nice to quantify the problems with dairy- is it a situation where people are truly better off with just no milk, or no dairy period?

  4. NASH. W. says:

    ALL THESE GOODIES THE GOVERNMENT IS NOW CLAIMING FOR MILK WERE LARGELY REMOVED FROM MILK WHEN OUR RESPECTIVE GOVERNMENTS TOOK IT UPON THEM SELVES TO MAKE THE SALE OF RAW MILK (I.E. UNPASTEURISED) MILK ILLEGAL. ITT ALSO MAKES IT MORE EXPENSIVE.

  5. Vernon Plumlee says:

    Want to know more ? Read the book/kindle “Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health” by Thomas Levy. Will open your eyes to the lies we are being fed about Milk and it’s effects on our bodies. Almond milk rules !!
    Need some excitement in your life….Buy a cow, feed the milk to your kids and through our educational system watch the drama unfold once the kids tell others they are drinking the milk.
    Cultivated ignorance….a side benefit of the country we live in.

  6. pamela says:

    I would like to know the studies done on raw milk. We were never milk drinkers until we got onto raw milk. It’s all very well to have the information on pasteurised milk but we need to know about raw milk. Raw milk contains all the vitamins and enzymes.

    I think it unfair that the article was so negative about milk right across the board. We need to keep researched balanced. In Australia is has just come out about the stuff they add to normally processed milk.

    So pls come back to us with information about Raw milk.

  7. Lisa says:

    What an unfair bashing of milk and milk products! For most people it is a good source of protein and calcium in their diets. However, I do understand that people allergic to components of milk should not have it as part of their diet.
    I grew up on a family dairy farm(few people these days have that experience)and know what it takes to care for dairy cows and the cleanliness standards for Grade A milk. We spent every Sat morning cleaning the barn as well as daily cleaning and fluffing bedding. In the summer, we took turns getting the cows in from the pasture. We tried to make hay at the very best time to get the most nutrition out of the alfalfa. We drank milk right from the bulk tank and did pasteurize it for a time, but went back to the regular milk. 30-40 years ago anytime a cow got mastitis and was treated with antibiotics, we had to dump the milk until they were well. Today cows are treated homeopathically with oil of oregano. My family bred high-producing cows, no growth hormones were ever used and my brothers who are current dairy farmers carry on this family tradition. Almost everyone uses milking parlors and pipeline equipment to bulk milk tanks so this allows for a high standard of cleanliness. Cows teats are cleaned before milking and dipped in an antiseptic solution afterward. From my experience of drinking raw milk and milk from grocery stores, there is a taste difference. But the main basic nutrition from milk is still there. Whey protein from milk is used in many many food products. To write these outrageous things and say all milk is bad, I object strongly!! Why can’t you simply say that if you are allergic to milk, don’t drink it. Don’t bash milk completely when so many people are able to drink it and eat milk products and it is part of their normal diet and a source of good nutrition.

  8. Catherine Slingerland says:

    Human weaning is at around 6 years for the following reasons: the Thymus Gland which produces the enzyme, Lactase for breaking down Lactose in milk, becomes vestigal at 6 years; adult teeth replace the “milk teeth” at age 6 years, indicating maturing digestive juices able to handle more fibrous foods and the ability to chew them; the immune system is maturing for the first 6 years, and requires help from the antibodies in mother’s milk;a child has a sucking instinct which is satisfied at around 6 years;there is an intellectual milestone at 6 years, when the child’s matrix expands to include bonding with others outside the immediate family. If a mother expects her child to breastfeed for 6 to 7 years, and is mentally very comfortable with it, then the child will be comfortable continuing to the natural age of weaning. Both my children, a girl and a boy, weaned themselves naturally between 6 and 8 years old.

  9. Imelda says:

    My family and I have been drinking raw milk for about 3 years now. I am a naturopath, and first began the search for raw milk when my first grandchild was around 4 months old and my daughter stopped breastfeeding. I began making up a natural baby formula for her using raw milk, I obtained the recipe from the Weston A Price Foundation, http://www.westonaprice.org, where there is oodles of information about traditional foods, such as raw milk and fermented foods. My granddaughter flourished on the raw milk, was never sick until around 3 years old, also she has never had any immumizations. The only problem we have encountered with her is chronic constipation, which I have found out is from adrenal exhaustion, determined from my hair mineral analysis of her 4 months ago. I and my daugher both have this problem, and I believe my granddaughter was born with weak adrenals. All of this to say that I have experienced increasing intestinal difficulties such as gas, and some lumbar pain since being on the raw milk, I am studying about pH and am beginning to believe that possibly the raw milk can also lead to osteoporosis and/or arthitis just as the pasturized milk can. I am not sure about this, but am only considering the possibility. Hope this information may be helpful to someone.

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