Milk marketing campaigns will have you believe that if you don’t consume the recommended three 8 ounce servings of dairy a day, that likely, you’ll fall over and die from a bone fracture, develop osteoporosis, or become puny and weak. But use your brain- dairy milk was made for cows by nature to make them big and bulky- something I doubt any of us are aspiring to.
The Low Down and Dirty on Dairy
Cow’s milk also contains the milk protein casein, a natural drug-like chemical found in milk that has addictive properties. This is helpful for baby cows since it keeps them coming back for more breast milk from their mothers, which they need to be healthy and strong. But do we need casein? Obviously not, since this protein has been linked to cancer, food addictions, diabetes, and more.
Also consider that over 10,000 years ago, when animal domestication began, no one consumed cow’s milk to get their calcium, Vitamin D, or protein – they ate mostly plants for these benefits. Though breastfeeding is recommended for humans (and all other mammals), we weren’t designed to consume milk from our species after a certain age. Why in the world would we continue to breastfeed from another species? This is essentially what we’re doing when we drink cow’s milk, mind you. Only pregnant cows produce milk, and many are impregnated multiple times a day due to the high increase for milk demand in this country. With that not only comes animal cruelty, but also extra hormones from the pregnant, lactating cows. Yum, right?
Why Dairy Milk is Not a Health Drink
Millions of people suffer from lactose intolerance a day, therefore avoiding dairy. And guess what? They’re absolutely fine. Lactose is a sugar found in milk that’s not only hard to digest, but also high in calories. A glass of skim milk is not a low calorie beverage, despite what marketing claims would have you believe. It still contains 12-13 grams of sugar, all from lactose. This not only contributes to higher insulin levels, but also added calorie intake. A glass of unsweetened almond milk on the other hand? You’re looking at 30 calories, 0 grams of sugar, 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk, and only 2 grams of fat, all from the healthy almonds the milk is made from. Which do you think is the real health drink?
What About Bone Health?
In case you haven’t heard, dairy milk has consistently been linked to causing osteoporosis and bone loss. A study published by JAMA Pediatrics this year, followed over 100,000 men and women for more than two decades, from their teenage years into their adulthood. Those who consumed dairy milk were found to have no greater protection against fractures or bone losscompared to those who didn’t consume dairy milk. However, a study in THE BMJ found that increased dairy consumption was associated with a much greater risk of bone fractures and death. Well now, there’s something you won’t see on the “Got Milk?” campaign slogan!
Something Else The Dairy Industry is Hiding
Aside from health, let’s talk about the low down and dirty on the environment- something most people don’t think about when turning up a glass of moo milk. There are 270 million dairy cows in the United States used for milk production. Cow’s manure and dairy milk processing contributes to higher levels of CO2 from greenhouse gas emissions, which also has a negative impact on climate change. This not only means we’re breathing all of these gases and emissions from manure back in, but also means that the manure, pesticides, hormones, and herbicides used for feeding dairy cows are being dumped back into our local water resources by irresponsible dairy milk producers.
Don’t trust a milk label- it’s designed to make you think you need milk to be healthy and you don’t. Protein and calcium are found abundantly in plants, and plant-based milks are an incredible alternative to dairy-based milk. Ditching dairy– now that’s what really does a body good.
Image Source: Andrew Magill/Flickr