HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES
Nature's Perfect Food
If you refused to drink milk when you were a kid, you might be better off today. A body of research disputes the idea that humans need animal milk for any reason. Dairy consumption has become a controversial subject. What to eat and not eat is a personal decision for everyone. The more information we have about the food we eat, the better decisions we could make for our health. Use this information to decide if you want to include dairy in your diet.
In addition to concerns about saturated fat and cholesterol found in dairy foods, the potential problems with dairy stem from the type of proteins in dairy (casein and whey) and chemical additives such as growth hormones injected in dairy cows. Furthermore, researchers point out that humans are the only mammals who drink milk of another species and drink milk after infancy. According to this theory, humans do not have the capacity to properly digest the milk of another species, and we have no need for milk beyond infancy.1
The problem with the dairy proteins stems from improper digestion of the proteins.1 If partially undigested food enters the blood stream, the body treats the partially digested food as a foreign invader. The immune system seeks to destroy the foreign invader. It appears that dairy proteins are particularly hard for the body to fully digest. If a person who does not properly digest dairy protein continually consumes dairy, the dairy will trigger chronic stimulation of the immune system. Chronic stimulation of the immune system over time can lead to a break down of immune function and result in virtually any type of disease.
Furthermore, the signs of dairy indigestion may not be obvious. Someone with lactose intolerance, or the inability to digest the dairy sugar lactose, has obvious symptoms of dairy indigestion such as nausea, gas, and bloating. The symptoms of improper protein digestion, however, usually manifest as chronic conditions, such as skin disorders, diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer. Chronic over-stimulation of the immune system triggers chronic inflammation in the body which results in chronic diseases of various types.
Consider the difference between cow’s milk and human milk. Cow’s milk is not nutritionally balanced for humans. Form follows function. Cow’s milk is high in protein and saturated fat with little or none of the essential fatty acids required by humans. By contrast, human breast milk is much lower in protein and contains plenty of essential fatty acids required for brain development. Cows need enormous amounts of protein to support massive muscle growth, however, they have little need for a highly developed brain. Humans, however, need far more brain nourishment and far less muscle nourishment than cows particularly during infancy.
In addition, commercial production of cow’s milk too often leads to mastitis, or infection in the cow’s utters. When a cow has mastitis, its white blood cells get into its milk. In other words, the milk contains pus. We cannot see it because the milk and the pus are both white, but the pus is there.
Aside from problems with the milk proteins, nutrient imbalances, and infections, chemical additives have stirred controversy. To increase milk production, dairy farmers inject cows with recombinant bovine growth hormone, rBGH, an engineered growth hormone. This hormone, in turn, increases levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, in milk from cows injected with rBGH. IGF-1 in cows is chemically identical to IGF-1 in humans. IGF-1 regulates cell growth and cell division particularly in children. Too much IGF-1 can result in too much cell growth and genetically incorrect cell division. As such, IGF-1 from cow’s milk has been associated with increased risk cancer, and breast and colon cancers in particular.2
The theories are logical and worth studying. Among the conditions linked to dairy consumption are the following:
OSTEOPOROSIS: Milk is loaded with calcium, but it might not be a good source of calcium for humans because it also has too much protein. Consuming too much dairy may interfere with calcium absorption, and the large amount of protein in dairy is a major cause of osteoporosis. Excess dietary protein coupled with lack of weight bearing exercise weakens bones. According to Dr. Hegsted’s research on geographical distribution of osteoporosis,1 the countries with the highest dairy and protein consumption have the highest incidences of osteoporosis while the countries with the lowest protein and no dairy consumption have the lowest incidences of osteoporosis. For example, Eskimos eat a primarily protein diet and consume a whopping 2,500 milligrams of calcium per day. Their incidence of osteoporosis is among the worst in the world. By contrast, the Bantus of South Africa consume only 12 percent dietary protein, mostly plant protein, and only 200 to 350 milligrams of calcium per day, about half the amount consumed by American women. The Bantu women have virtually no osteoporosis despite bearing 6 or more children and nursing them for prolonged periods. When African women immigrate to the United States, they develop osteoporosis but not at the same rate as Caucasian women. Therefore, a genetic factor in developing osteoporosis exists but is modified by diet.
DIABETES: The medical community generally considers Type I diabetes, or juvenile, insulin-dependent diabetes, a genetic or possibly viral disorder. However, European studies link dairy consumption to this condition. In particular, a Finnish study shows a strong link between dairy consumption and Type I diabetes in children.1 Finland has the highest rate of dairy consumption in the world. Finland also has the highest rate of Type I diabetes, about 40 children out of every 1,000 contrasted with 6 or 8 children out of every 1,000 in the United States. Researchers believe the antibodies produced against milk proteins during the first year of life attack the pancreas and destroy the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin. The body’s auto-immune reaction to milk protein causes insulin-dependent diabetes in children prone to the condition. In 142 children with newly diagnosed Type I diabetes, the Finnish researchers found that each diabetic child had at least 8 times the amount of antibodies against milk protein as healthy children. They consider this clear evidence of an autoimmune disorder in the diabetic children. This research suggests that genetic predisposition to Type I diabetes is only one factor in the onset of the disease, and dairy consumption may trigger and aggravate the condition.
CANCER: Various studies show “significant positive correlations” between dairy consumption and several types of cancer including lung, ovarian, and prostate cancers. In addition, studies show significant links between leukemia and Crohn’s disease.3 The studies suggest the animal fat in dairy products triggers the growth of cancer cells. If so, any animal could increase the risk of cancer.
Are non-fat dairy products and rBGH free products the answer to cancer prevention? I would not bet my paycheck on that. Remember the problem with antibodies against dairy proteins. Over-stimulation of the immune system and too much cell growth could inhibit the body’s ability to nip cancer cells in the bud.
Regarding leukemia and lymphoma, the bovine leukemia virus too often survives pasteurization. The bovine virus is so prevalent in milk that the pasteurization process must be near 100% perfect to keep the virus levels safe for humans.1
IF NOT FROM DAIRY, WHERE DO I GET MY CALCIUM? Plant sources of calcium from greens appear to be a better source of organic calcium for humans than milk. Green grasses support massive bone development in elephants and horses. Carnivores develop strong bones without consuming any calcium by eating the food God intended them to eat.
In addition, calcium fortified foods, such as juices, soy products, and cereals, are abundant at the grocery store. High quality bone health supplements which include calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and magnesium, are available at health food stores. We have many healthy options for obtaining the vitamin and mineral benefits of dairy products without the risk of developing chronic diseases.
If you have any type of chronic condition, dairy or some other food probably contributed to the onset and progression of the condition. You may want to seek the advice of a qualified nutrition professional to assess the role of your diet as to your particular condition.
I feel sad when I see people suffer from chronic diseases that seem to have developed without explanation or because of “bad genes.” Research suggests that diet may play a larger role than we are willing to accept especially if it means giving up long held beliefs about nutrition. I understand it is frustrating for many people to hear mixed messages about food. It is easy to give up and say we will all die from something someday and life a half-fulfilled life in pain. Instead, keep seeking answers. It is our job as consumers to demand all available information about our food so we could make our own informed choices.
1 Kradjian, Robert M. MD, “The Milk Letter: A Message To My Patients,” Breast Surgery Chief Division of General Surgery, Seton Medical Center, Daly City, CA. Published by AFPA.
2 Davis, Ben, “Think Before You Drink That Glass of Milk,” published by AFPA.
This article was provided by Free Movement Fitness Inc.
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