The Plant Rx

Your resource for a plant-based diet

6 compelling reasons to AVOID dairy products

Posted by Jenn on February 20, 2011


In an article for the Huffington Post Dr. Mark Hyman gives you 6 reasons, with the scientific evidence to back it up, why you shouldn’t eat dairy products.  The following is an excerpt from that article which is also available in its entirety (as well as in a video format) at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/dairy-free-dairy-6-reason_b_558876.html


The Truth about Dairy

According to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:

1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures.(i) Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!

2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought.(ii) Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent.(iii) Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.

5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.(iv)

6. Not everyone can stomach dairy.(v) About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

Based on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:

• Everybody needs calcium — but probably not as much as our government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) and calcium from diet, including greens and beans is better utilized by the body with less risk than calcium supplements.

• Calcium probably doesn’t prevent broken bones. Few people in this country are likely to reduce their fracture risk by getting more calcium.

• Men may not want to take calcium supplements. Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may be reasonable for women.

• Dairy may be unhealthy. Advocating dairy consumption may have negative effects on health.

If all that isn’t enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth noting.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the “milk mustache” ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly:

• Milk doesn’t benefit sports performance.

• There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!

• Dairy is linked to prostate cancer.

• It’s full of saturated fat and is linked to heart disease.

• Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.

• Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.

Simply put, the FTC asked the dairy industry, “Got Proof?” — and the answer was NO!

Plus, dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:

• Allergies (vi)
• Sinus problems
• Ear infections
Type 1 diabetes (vii)
• Chronic constipation (viii)
• Anemia (in children)

References

(i) Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health. 1997 Jun;87(6):992-7.

(ii) Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption, and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Feb;77(2):504-11.

(iii) Tseng M, Breslow RA, Graubard BI, Ziegler RG. Dairy, calcium, and vitamin D intakes and prostate cancer risk in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Epidemiologic Follow-up Study cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 May;81(5):1147-54.

(iv) Huncharek M, Muscat J, Kupelnick B. Colorectal cancer risk and dietary intake of calcium, vitamin D, and dairy products: a meta-analysis of 26,335 cases from 60 observational studies. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(1):47-69.

(v) Brannon PM, Carpenter TO, Fernandez JR, Gilsanz V, Gould JB, Hall KE, Hui SL, Lupton JR, Mennella J, Miller NJ, Osganian SK, Sellmeyer DE, Suchy FJ, Wolf MA. NIH Consensus Development Conference Statement: Lactose Intolerance and Health. NIH Consens State Sci Statements. 2010 Feb 24;27(2).

(vi) Bartley J, McGlashan SR. Does milk increase mucus production? Med Hypotheses. 2010 Apr;74(4):732-4.

(vii) Luopajärvi K, Savilahti E, Virtanen SM, Ilonen J, Knip M, Akerblom HK, Vaarala O. Enhanced levels of cow’s milk antibodies in infancy in children who develop type 1 diabetes later in childhood. Pediatr Diabetes. 2008 Oct;9(5):434-41.

(viii) El-Hodhod MA, Younis NT, Zaitoun YA, Daoud SD. Cow’s milk allergy related pediatric constipation: Appropriate time of milk tolerance. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2009 Jun 25.

Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center is a pioneer in functional medicine. Dr. Hyman is now sharing the 7 ways to tap into your body’s natural ability to heal itself. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, watch his videos on Youtube and become a fan onFacebook.

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4 Responses to “6 compelling reasons to AVOID dairy products”

  1. kimberly said

    you’re good!

  2. I love this article because I know people don’t think about the ill-effects of dairy. If people would give it up for even a week or two, they will see just how much of a problem is has been for them and didn’t realize it was because of dairy. For those women out there suffering from PCOS and endometriosis, please consider eliminating dairy from your diet. I suffered for too long with endometriosis and after 10 days of no dairy, the pain was gone and hasn’t been back–that was almost 4 years ago!! Dairy aggravates inflammation and will do nothing more than make endo worse. Thanks for the great post!

  3. DizzyJ said

    This was a much better attack on mill than the opiates article I read first. More people need to know the dairy industry is as prone to making false and exaggerated claims as any other. But you still need the conditional “may” in the claim about health problems. Is dairy dangerous in moderation? There’s nothing here that says yes.

    If your alternative is soy-based, you have to wonder what trade offs you’re making: GMO and the biggest, most aggressive players I’m big agro vs whatever health detriments come from your milk. Which probably comes down to whether you buy local, small dairy products or conglomerate dairy. I’d love to see you address not just the vegan argument, but the larger political/environmental issues relates to these choices.

    • Jenn said

      Dizzy-

      I truly appreciate your thoughts and perspective and thank you for sharing them.

      Yes, dairy is dangerous even in moderation. As Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn would say, “Moderation Kills”.

      Regarding the political and environmental issues – while I feel that these are of the utmost importance, it is not the focus of this blog as these topics are not my expertise. My knowledge base and expertise lie in the medical and biochemical aspects of nutrition. Thank you for the suggestion though.

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