Are Dairy Products Bad?

Dairy products have been a staple in western diets for thousands of years. The presence of dairy products in America is especially notable, and many of us know that drinking a glass of milk with a meal is something that is firmly entrenched in the older generation.

There are problems with dairy though. Lactose intolerance is a condition that is suffered to some degree by many. This condition is runs very high in Asian populations who have never really integrated dairy into their diets. Therefore, their systems do not know how to handle dairy products. This results in upset stomachs and possibly diarrhea.

It turns out that dairy may not be so good for us after all. Even mainstream health institutions caution against ingesting too much dairy. Many of us believe that we must consume dairy products to get enough calcium for our bones. There may be better sources than dairy products for calcium though. An article found on the Harvard School of Public Health website states that “…it’s not also clear that dairy products are really the best source of calcium for most people.” It also points out that many dairy products are high in saturated fat and retinol, which can weaken bones at high levels. The article recommends non-dairy sources of calcium like collards, bok choy, fortified soy milk, baked beans or supplements containing calcium and vitamin D.

Through internet research, I have discovered a host of reasons to avoid dairy products. One of the simplest reasons is often stated by those who avoid dairy—cow’s milk is for baby cows. In fact many people say that milk’s function is to turn small mammals into large mammals. After that milk is not necessary.

There are also concerns about the hormones and drugs milk cows are treated with. These can be passed on to us through the cow’s milk. Furthermore, there are concerns about what dairy cows are fed. Commercial feed has ingredients that include genetically-modified corn and soy, along with animal products, chicken poop and pesticides. It is always best to avoid chicken poop in my opinion.

Our bodies’ reaction to dairy in regard to the way we digest it is also a concern. It is said that dairy products form acid when metabolized. Our body strives to maintain a consistent pH level in our blood, and the consumption of dairy causes our body to have to overuse our acid-balancing mechanisms. Constantly doing this to our bodies is not good.

Research has shown that the countries whose people eat the most dairy also have the highest reported incidences of osteoporosis. This goes against the thought that milk, and specifically the calcium in milk, will protect your bones.

Dairy products are also known to cause mucous. Cutting out the dairy can contribute to a decrease in respiratory problems. I have several vegan friends that always feel a difference in regard to mucous when they consume dairy products (not all vegans are super strict; most of my vegan friends will let dairy slide when they are traveling).

Finally, our demand for dairy products has propagated factory farming methods. This type of farming is not friendly at all. In fact it is downright scary and cruel. Unfortunately, until we can consume less dairy, this type of farming is one of the few profitable and efficient ways to satisfy demand for dairy products.

Feel free to continue your own research into the nature of dairy and human digestion. Soy milk is a great alternative to regular milk. You also don’t have to be crazy strict on your diet. Only eating dairy a few times a month is beneficial to your body and the environment. The paleo diet, or Paleolithic diet, excludes dairy products. I have reviewed The Paleo Cookbooks which contain hundreds of recipes that do not include dairy products. Head on over to those pages if you want to learn more about the paleo diet and paleo lifestyle.