Now in its fourth week, many New Year-New You bootcamp members will be facing their toughest week so far! Temptation is more present than ever- but they must keep strong and resist the toxins we’ve all eliminated in the last three weeks.
One of the foods we’ve been avoiding is dairy. Want know why? Read on…..
We often hear in the news that research studies have shown that cow’s milk is good for us, providing all our nutritional requirements for the important mineral calcium, and that we should increase our consumption for the benefit of our health.
After all, there’s a good chance you were encouraged to drink the ‘white stuff’ by your parents when you were younger, so that you’d build good strong bones as you were growing up, right?!
But… did you know that there’s a dark side to milk that many people are not aware of…or that there are many health issues that are also increasingly being attributed to the regular consumption of dairy products?
Another little known fact is that our bones are not just made of calcium, but many other minerals as well, such as zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorous to name a few.
For many of us milk is cheap, readily available, and tastes good. But have you ever thought about how milk is treated before it is put into plastic bottles, or the welfare of the dairy herd? I’m guessing not!
When we are weaned off milk as infants, around 70% of us stop producing an enzyme called ‘lactase’ which helps us to digest the milk sugar lactose. The effects of continued consumption of milk and dairy products on the human body can in some people be so severe that they become severely ill…
These negative effects can cause poor absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract, irritable bowel and leaky gut syndrome, allergies and intolerances such as itching, hives, rhinitis, itchy eyes and ears, nausea, bloating, wind, cramps, diarrhoea, aggravation of lung conditions such as asthma, and can also lead to diabetes, and osteoporosis.
So how does all this happen?
During the manufacturing process milk from the cow is treated by two processes: pasteurisation andhomogenisation. The pasteurisation process is supposed to kill off harmful bacteria, but during this process, important enzymes and vitamins are also destroyed, including naturally occurring lactic acid that protects milk from infectious agents.
The homogenisation process means that the fats in milk are passed through a fine filter to make them smaller. This process enables these fats to bypass our digestive system and enter into our blood streams, sensitising our immune system and causing the allergic reactions and intolerances.
And you thought that milk was supposed to be good for you?!
One of the major reasons why we see government health campaigns and the like urging us to drink milk is because it contains the important mineral calcium. At first, that might sound beneficial…right?!
BUT… when you look behind the modern marketing messages and media campaigns, the science shows us that the mineral calcium is actually very concentrated in cow’s milk, with the ratio of calcium being up to 10 times more than magnesium (10:1 ratio). In human breast milk the calcium to magnesium ratio is 2:1! This can lead to major imbalances between these two co-dependent minerals in the body. Too much calcium causes the body to try and gain more magnesium in order to stay in balance. But too little magnesium in proportion to calcium can lead to muscle tension – ever suffered with restless leg syndrome at night?! This is because your body needs magnesium to relax the muscles, but too much calcium stops this from happening.
Magnesium is also important because it helps with the transport of calcium through the body. This is why excessive intakes of calcium can prove counter productive, because without the assistance of magnesium, calcium transport can slow down, allowing it to find its way into our tissues and form plaques. This can cause a build up of cholesterol, and lead on to atherosclerosis.
Cow’s milk is also bound with a sticky protein called ‘casein’, which is present in quantities four times that of human milk. It is also four times bigger than our own cells and forms large gluey clumps which are hard for the human digestive system to break down, and requires a lot of energy to do so.
The casein also coagulates in the acids in your stomach, leading to poor internal function. Casein is an allergen and forms a toxic mucus in the body. Eventually, the prolonged consumption of dairy products can mean that this mucus builds up and coats our intestine walls, leading to problems with nutrient absorption as the mucus becomes hardened and covered with food residues. The consequences of poor absorption can lead to a weakened immune system and resulting illness.
(Here’s a bit of trivia: Did I also mention that casein is actually a key ingredient in the wood glue you can buy from your local hardware store?!)
Next, the fat in cow’s milk contains a protein- splitting enzyme called Xanthine Oxidase. This enables the milk to be broken down by the digestive system. However, when milk is processed through homogenisation, this enzyme is damaged and can instead be passed into our circulation from the intestines. From here it can reach our artery walls and attack the tissues, causing lesions which are then repaired by the body with calcified plaques. Cholesterol can then build up on top of the calcification, and an accumulation can arise leading to blocked vessels. The result could be high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, all of which could contribute to a heart attack.
Recent scientific studies have even suggested a link with the consumption of dairy products to some cancers, such as Ovarian and Prostate cancer. According to researchers, it is the lactose contained in milk that causes the problem.
Once it has been broken down into the sugar ‘galactose’, it may over stimulate hormone production, thus leading to an increase in cell growth and then into ovarian tumour growth. In prostate cancer, researchers suggest the link is to calcium and the way it affects the role of vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D suppresses the growth of cancer cells, thus preventing tumour growth. However, a high intake of calcium prevents vitamin D from doing this, therefore leaving room for cancerous growths to develop.
Another health problem that can be associated with dairy products is Diabetes. According to Canadian researchers who conducted a study on children in Finland, the milk proteins contained in cow’s milk may encourage the immune system to attack the milk. However, because there are similar looking cells residing in our pancreas to produce insulin, these cells also get attacked, and hence insulin production is disturbed, eventually resulting in diabetes.
Because cow’s milk is in so many of the products found on our supermarket shelves, we can extend these disadvantages to products such as cheeses, yoghurt, cream, as well as cow’s milk itself. The exceptions would be natural yoghurt, and dairy products made with other forms of milk, such as goat’s milk, or non GM Soya, nut or seed milks and cheeses.
If you think about it logically, cow’s milk is meant for calves to assist in their development, and provides very specific amounts of calcium and nutrients to aid their development. Human milk, on the other hand has a different chemical composition, specifically for a baby’s development. As it is natural for us to be weaned, continuing to consume milk, especially that of a different species, clearly can and does have negative effects on the human body.
If you think about it, isn’t it odd that we drink the milk of another species in the first place?!
But let’s not forget the cows themselves who are subjected to excessive milking and cramped conditions. Dairy practices now mean that cows can be continually milked even when pregnant. This over milking can lead to an infection called mastitis, which is swelling and infected udders – the pus of which ends up in the milk we drink.
The increased risk of mastitis means that farmers have a greater need for antibiotic use. Cows are also often fed poor quality foods, that can contain high levels of herbicides or pesticides, and cows may also be subjected to up to 2700 drugs in the course of its lifetime – the result – all of these carcinogens are passed onto us through the milk we consume.
It seems apparent that, while government health campaigns lead us to believe milk is a wonder food and encourage us to ‘drink more milk’; the excessive consumption of dairy products in today’s modern diet is actually to the detriment of our own health. Makes you think, doesn’t it?!
About the Author
Laura Russell has recently completed and will soon be one of only a small handful of people in the UK to be have been taught by Dax himself in his Elimination Diet principles, and will be qualified as an E.D 3.0 Coach.
She has also studied various health courses with the Open University, achieving a Diploma in Health and Social Care and a Certificate in Mental Health studies. While finishing off her degree, she is also currently qualifying to be a Nutritional Therapist with the Nutritional Healing Foundation.