Milk, Does it Really

The Dairy Association’s slogan for milk states, “It does the body good.” But does it really? Let’s take a look at some nutritional science behind consuming dairy in excessive amounts.

The Canada’s Food Guide recommendation for daily dairy consumption is between 2-4 servings. This suggestion does not take into account many factors such as quality, biochemical individuality and other sources of calcium.  Mother’s milk is the perfect food for growing human babies, and cow’s milk is the perfect food for growing baby cows! Human milk has one third of the protein, one third of the minerals and about 60 per cent more carbohydrate (lactose) than what is found in cow’s milk.

Take a look at some of the issues with milk consumption:

Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It functions with other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C & D to build and maintain healthy, strong bones and teeth. This important mineral aids in regulating heartbeat, muscle development & function, protects against blood clotting, nerve transmissions and enzyme functions. You may think milk is the ONLY place to find a good source of calcium.

Actually calcium can be found in EVERY single natural food we eat. Tiny little sesame seeds pack quite a calcium punch…along with nuts and pumpkin seeds, dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens as well as beans and lentils. It is easier for the body to absorb these forms of calcium than the calcium contained in milk. However, excess calcium can interfere with non-heme (plant) iron absorption.

It is unfortunate to note, that the process known as pasteurization which heats the product to high temperatures to kill bacteria also inhibits the enzymes in the milk which diminishes the ability of the body to absorb calcium in milk.

1 cup Calcium Content

Sesame Seeds

Collard Greens

Dried Spices – Savory (100 mg)

Almonds

Milk

2200 mg

360mg

2132 mg

370 mg

280 mg

 

Acid vs. Alkaline

Take a look at the pH Scale? pH stands for potential of hydrogen and is a measure of acidity. A battery contains acid and milk is considered alkaline…on the outside of the body.

Foods and other substances can be measured by their pH value and classed into the above chart; take note that blood values measure at approximately 7.35 – 7.45.

Foods can also be classified as being alkaline-forming or acid-forming – but this is NOT a measure of pH on the outside of the body. This is a measure of the ACTION of that food when we eat it – what happens inside of our bodies upon consumption. Upon digestion food leaves an “ash”; depending on which food is digested, it will leave an alkaline or acidic “ash”.

Many foods which are more “acidic” such as citrus fruits, like lemons actually leave an alkaline residue upon digestion, this means these foods are alkaline-forming or they deposit minerals in the body.

Dairy products, however, are more acid-forming upon consumption. This action in the body requires calcium to neutralize the acidity created by eating foods which may be more acid-forming. So essentially, eating a diet high in dairy products may cause loss of available calcium due to this specific action!

Casein

Casein is the protein found in milk. Cow milk contains much higher protein/casein content than Mothers milk. The human infant’s stomach produces rennin, an enzyme that breaks down casein into paracasein. As the child matures the ability to produce this enzyme is gradually lost.

There are two concerns with this fact:

  • The first concern – only proteins cause allergies. You can only have a true allergic reaction when there is a protein involved.
  • The second concern – all proteins break down in the intestine and become polypeptides and then amino acids – our building blocks. When casein breaks apart during digestion, one polypeptide is formed called casomorphine – which acts as an opiate. Opiates have a drug-like effect on the body and brain.
  • One cup of cow’s milk contains approximately 6 grams of casein.

Therefore, dairy products can be quite habit-forming; especially, cheese which has the highest content of casein than any other dairy products

Lactose

Lactose is the milk sugar or the carbohydrate content of milk. The amount of lactose (milk sugar) in human milk is higher than in any other species. It is needed for the much greater brain development that human beings have over animals. The larger proportion of protein and minerals in cow’s milk is needed for the much larger body of that animal.

Lactase is the enzyme required to break down and digest lactose.  Many people have reactions to consuming milk or dairy products which may include: stomach cramps, bloating, gas or diarrhea. These symptoms would be due to a lack of lactase enzyme.

Today it is called “Lactose Intolerant” and it sounds like a disease, but there is really nothing wrong with this condition.

All mammals in the animal kingdom including humans stop producing the lactase enzyme at the age when they are weaned from their mothers. 70-90% of the world population do not produce lactase. Consequently, lactose cannot be broken down into its monosaccharide components, glucose and galactose. Lactose then stays in the intestinal tract, fermenting and feeding certain bacteria that produce large amount s of methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas causing flatulence and abdominal discomfort.  So if you are “Lactose Intolerant” you are really considered normal!

Raw Milk which is not readily available through conventional grocery stores contains significant amounts of the enzyme lactase necessary to digest lactose. The pasteurization process destroys most enzymes in dairy and creates what is known as a “dead” food (food without enzyme activity).

Allergies & Mucus

If you suffer from chronic runny noses and sore throats, it may be due to a dairy allergy. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, cow’s milk is the number one cause of food allergies & sensitivities. According to the former director of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Frank Oski, there is evidence to indicate that up to half of U.S. children have some allergic reaction to milk. Milk is very mucous-forming and can lead to continual problems like chronic coughs and sinus infections, asthma, ear infections, especially in babies and young children, and even acne.

It has been accepted that removing dairy products from the diet may be a solution to many illnesses such as runny noses, constipation, colic, ear infections, gas, respiratory illnesses, ongoing digestive distress—and the list goes on.

Dairy Replacements

So what are your alternatives? Well, as always, we recommend balance. It is important to remember to eat a variety of foods each day. Most often we find that people eat only 16 different food items on average. Dairy and wheat are the most widely consumed. Try different alternate sources such as almond, rice, hemp, and coconut. Switch them up and give your body some alternatives. These can easily be substitute in recipes and added to your favourite cereals.

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