You know the ironic thing about this is that out of white meat, red meat, fish, dairy and eggs- red meat and dairy are probably the two most unhealthy and unnatural of everything. Where to even begin…
The milk myth has spread around the world based on the flawed belief that this protein and calcium-rich drink is essential to support good overall health and bone health in particular at any age. It is easy to understand that the confusion about milk’s imaginary benefits stems from the fact that it contains calcium – around 300mg per cup.
But many scientific studies have shown an assortment of detrimental health effects directly linked to milk consumption. And the most surprising link is that not only do we barely absorb the calcium in cow’s milk (especially if pasteurised), but to make matters worse, it actually decreases calcium from the bones.
Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH which in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutraliser and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is in the bones. So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilised to neutralise the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.
Knowing this, you’ll understand why statistics show that countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products also have the lowest fracture incidence in their population.
But the sad truth is that most mainstream health practitioners ignore these proven facts.
Thanks to our creative ingenuity and perhaps related to our ancient survival needs, we adopted the dubious habit of drinking another species’ milk. Nobody can dispute that cow’s milk is an excellent food source for calves. Weighing around 100 pounds at birth, a calf typically gains approximately eight times their weight by the time they are weaned. But unlike humans, once calves are weaned, they never drink milk again. And the same applies to every mammalian species on this planet.
Also, each mammalian species has its own “designer” milk, and cow’s milk is no exception. For example, cow’s milk contains on average three times the amount of protein than human milk which creates metabolic disturbances in humans that have detrimental bone health consequences.
It’s important to bear in mind that mother’s milk is excellent nourishment for human babies, but its composition is very different from cow’s milk.
Many scientific studies contradict the conventional wisdom that milk and dairy consumption help reduce osteoporotic fractures. Surprisingly, studies demonstrating that milk and dairy products actually fail to protect bones from fractures outnumber studies that prove otherwise. Even drinking milk from a young age does not protect against future fracture risk but actually increases it. Cumming and Klineberg report their study findings as follows:
“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 the 12 year long Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found that those who consumed the most calcium from dairy foods broke more bones than those who rarely drank milk. This is a broad study based on 77,761 women aged 34 through 59 years of age.
In the authors’ own words:
"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).
Like any other animal derived protein-rich food, milk has a positive potential renal acid load (PRAL) which triggers a protective biological reaction to neutralise all the damaging acidic protein before it reaches the kidneys.
The body is designed for survival, so it sacrifices bone density to protect the kidneys and urinary tract because the latter are essential to survival. And the most readily available source of acid neutraliser is in the bones. So even though milk contains calcium, it ends up sapping your bones of that crucial mineral. But that’s not all.
Until the end of the 19th century in Europe and the beginning of the 20th century in the US, milk was consumed unpasteurised or raw. Later on, homogenisation became the industry’s standard. These processes further alter milk’s chemistry and actually increase its detrimental acidifying effects.
Raw milk advocates claim that if cow’s milk is left “as is” it is a healthy and wholesome drink. It is true that raw milk is less acidifying than processed milk and that pasteurisation and homogenisation may cause a long list of digestive and other health problems, but I still don’t recommend drinking any kind of cow’s milk.
Nowadays, milking cows are given antibiotics and most are also injected with a genetically engineered form of bovine growth hormone (rBGH). A man-made or synthetic hormone used to artificially increase milk production, rBGH also increases blood levels of the insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in those who drink it. And higher levels of IGF-1 are linked to several cancers.
This should not be ignored, especially in view of recent information by Samuel Epstein, MD, Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. In an article titled “Monsanto’s Hormonal Milk Poses Serious Risks of Breast Cancer, Besides Other Cancers” (http://www.preventcancer.com/press/releases/july8_98.htm, June 21, 1998) Dr. Epstein concludes that:
“Drinking rBGH milk would thus be expected to significantly increase IGF-1 blood levels and consequently to increase risks of developing breast cancer and promoting its invasiveness.”
Even though organic milk is from cows that are not given antibiotics or rBHG, if you truly care about your bone health and your overall health, you should avoid drinking cow’s milk.
Just like all other meat, red meat contains high levels of artery clogging cholesterol and causes cancer, heart disease, liver failure and diabetes if consumed in vast amounts. But red meat is particularly damaging due to the endless amounts of saturated fats that ooze from it. Not to mention the nasty antibiotics that the animals are drugged with which will then be passed onto the consumer. Just think about the slums that spent dairy cows (beef) and pigs are kept in before they end up on your plate. They are all literally rife with disease and this is because they’re kept in such poor conditions in order to maximise profit.
But even in organic circumstances, our bodies just aren’t designed for meat and as such, we cannot digest it or break it down without causing sufficient damage.
If you love and respect your body, treat it as a temple and do not consume animals or their by products. It’s just not worth it.