Good Morning and Happy Spring Break Everyone!
I hope that you are spending some down time this week and getting a little rest and relaxation. We are off to the beach (my happy place) later this week and I am SO looking forward to it.
So a Refinery client asked me to give her the skinny on DAIRY and asked whether I thought it was HEALTHY or NOT? What a great question.
Dairy sparks controversy! That is for sure.
Some claim that pasteurized, low-fat dairy is healthy and should be consumed two to three times per day1, while others say that raw, full-fat dairy is a health food2. Some, however, insist on no dairy at all3. Below is an overview of some issues to consider when deciding whether or not dairy is right for you and, if so, which type. The health benefits and risks associated with dairy, as well as some ethical and environmental considerations.
I am a FIRM believer in Bio-Individuality.
The concept of bio-individuality is that each person has unique food and lifestyle needs. One person’s food is another person’s poison, and that’s why fad diets tend to fail in the long run. Working on the principle of bio-individuality, it’s important for us to make positive changes that are based on our own unique needs, lifestyle, preferences, and ancestral background.
Thus, some people thrive by including dairy in their diets, while other do better without it and for some a little is just right.
Below is a handout that I give to my clients in which I share some of the Pro’s and Con’s of DAIRY and encourage YOU to experiment and find out if Dairy is right for you.
DAIRY: YOU DECIDE
- may be treated with antibiotics to kill potentially harmful bacteria
- may contain harmful, synthetic contaminants like antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides
- cow’s feed may be genetically modified
- free of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified seeds
- cows cannot be fed GMO feed
- cows must eat some grass and have at least four months of pasture access4
- studies show higher vitamin E, omega-3, antioxidants and beta carotene
- even organic milk still contains naturally-occurring growth hormones
- some organic milk undergoes UHT treatment (heating to 280° F) to kill any bacteria – including those potentially beneficial5
- UHT treatment causes a different flavor due to carmelization of the lactose
* Processed milk may be pasteurized, irradiated or homogenized before sale. Legally, milk in the US must be pasteurized. Raw milk is not pasteurized, irradiated or homogenized.
- pasteurization and irradiation kill pathogens and bacteria that may be harmful6
- homogenization prevents the cream from rising to the top by forcing milk fat (cream) through a tight-screen mesh in order to break down the globules
- fortified with vitamins A & D which may help with the absorption of calcium
- pasteurization and irradiation kill bacteria that may be beneficial and destroys many vitamins, minerals and enzymes
- homogenization causes the fat molecules to rupture, turn rancid and spoil, and it may cause the accumulation of free radicals in the body by increasing the absorption of the enzyme xanthine oxidase into your bloodstream
- high levels of retinol can weaken bones7
- without any methods to kill bacteria, raw milk may still contain beneficial bacteria
- tastes fresher, because it spoils quicker
- contains enzymes such as lipase that may aid in digestion, especially for those who are lactose intolerant
- contains original vitamin and minerals
- without any methods to kill potential pathogens and bacteria, raw milk can cause illness
- must be consumed within 1 week of bottling
- raw milk regulations are determined by each state and many states prohibit its sale
GRAIN AND SOY-FED
- less time and space is needed for grazing so more milk can be produced quickly
- high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids
- cows are more prone to digestive problems while eating grain, which is unnatural to their diet
- lower in vitamin D3
- contains five times as much conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), shown to protect the heart and aid in weight loss
- high in omega-3 fatty acids8
- cows are grazing animals, and grass is their natural diet
- higher in vitamin D3
- requires more space and time for pasture-grazing
LOW-FAT and SKIM MILK**
**Low-fat and skim milk are produced by separating the less-dense milk fat from the watery parts through the process of centrifugation.
- many organizations, including the USDA myPyramid, suggest low-fat or skim rather than full-fat dairy products, because they are lower in calories, fat and especially saturated fat, which contributes to high cholesterol1
- fat increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals present in milk
- some claim low-fat dairy products can deplete the body’s vitamins A and D
- fat may aid in digestion of fat-soluble vitamins
- high in saturated fat, which may contribute to high cholesterol
- high in calories, may promote weight gain
- milk and other dairy products are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health
- high levels of retinol (vitamin A) can weaken bones7
- dairy is not the best or only source of calcium – collards, boy choy, fortified soy milk, baked beans, and supplements with both calcium and vitamin D are also good choices
- processed dairy in the US is fortified with 100 IU vitamin D per glass
- following the USDA recommendation, 3 glasses of fortified milk provides 300 IU of the recommended 800 IU+ per day9
- processed US milk is fortified with vitamin D2, a form that the body does not utilize as well as D3
- dairy alone is not enough to meet daily vitamin D requirements
- dairy is not the best or only source of vitamin D – a 3.5 oz serving of wild salmon contains 360 IU vitamin D; canned tuna and sardines are also good food sources; sun exposure and supplements are great sources as well9
- dairy is high in protein and is therefore very satiating, which may help those trying to control their appetite for weight loss
- lactose, the sugar found in milk, is broken down slowly and does not promote high spikes in blood sugar, which may make it a suitable option for diabetics
- yogurt and kefir are excellent sources of “good” bacteria that have been shown to promote a healthy gut
- consuming animal protein and dairy may promote prostate and ovarian cancer7
- reducing animal products can reverse other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes
- 30 to 50 million American adults are lactose intolerant; 95% of Asians, up to 80% of African Americans, Hispanics, and Ashkenazi Jews, and nearly 100% of American Indians are lactose intolerant10. Continued consumption of lactose in those who are intolerant and have symptoms of diarrhea or loose stools may suffer vitamin and mineral deficiencies or other long term health implications.
Ethical and Environmental Implications
Many consider cow’s milk to be one of the most ideal foods nature provides, particularly when prepared in traditional ways, such as culturing. Others question the idea of drinking the milk of another species. Humans, like other mammals, produce milk for a specific purpose – to feed their own babies until the babies are ready to move on to solid foods. Milk from a cow is designed to make a newborn calf grow rapidly in only a few weeks, causing some to believe that it may not be the ideal food for human children or adults.
Some small farmers treat their cows humanely and allow a more natural relationship between mother cow and calf while still being able to collect milk for human consumption. However, large industrial milk factories often subject their cows to filthy living conditions. Animal mistreatment at factory farms is well documented. Some also question the ethics of impregnating a cow for milk production and taking away her calf shortly after birth (often for slaughter to sell veal) in order to maximize economic profits.
Animal agriculture is a major contributor to global warming and the pollution of our water and air. In addition, vast amounts of land, water and fuel are used for cattle feed, grazing and processing. Globally, agriculture accounts for 60% of nitrous oxide and 50% of methane emissions11. The dairy sector contributes 4% to the total greenhouse gases worldwide12. Some argue that we could feed many more people at lower cost if the land and resources were instead used to grow crops for human consumption. Others believe that in some cases the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, which may be able to be mitigated if the grazing land and animal waste is carefully managed. By researching companies, buying from small, local farms and choosing your suppliers carefully, you can help support the farms that are producing dairy more responsibly.
I hope this helps!
Pop on and let me know what your thoughts are on DAIRY.
In Health and Happiness,
1 MyPyramid.gov – Inside The Pyramid – How much food from the milk group is needed daily? February 3, 2011. Available at: http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/milk_amount.aspx#.
2 FAQ – Dairy. The Weston A. Price Foundation. Available at: http://www.westonaprice.org/faq/784-faq-dairy?qh=YTo5OntpOjA7czozOiJyYXciO2k6MTtzOjc6InJhd25lc3MiO2k6MjtzOjQ6Im1pbGsiO2k6MztzOjc6Im1pbGtpbmciO2k6NDtzOjU6Im1pbGtzIjtpOjU7czo2OiJtaWxrZWQiO2k6NjtzOjg6Im1pbGtpbmdzIjtpOjc7czo2OiInbWlsayciO2k6ODtzOjg6InJhdyBtaWxrIjt9.
3 The New Four Food Groups. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Available at: http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/vsk/4foodgroups.pdf.
4 Release No. 0059.10. United States Department of Agriculture. February 10, 2010. Available at: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2010/02/0059.xml.
5 Why Does Organic Milk Last So Much Longer Than Regular Milk? Scientific American. June 6, 2008. Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=experts-organic-milk-lasts-longer.
6 The Dangers of Raw Milk: Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk US Food and Drug Administration. May 5, 2011. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079516.htm
7 Calcium and Milk – Wha’s Best for Your Bones and Health? The Nutrition Source. Harvard School of Public Health. Available at: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/calcium-full-story/index.html.
8 Dhiman, T. R., G. R. Anand, et al. Conjugated Linoleic Acid Content of Milk from Cows Fed Different Diets. 1999. J Dairy Sci 82(10): 2146-56. Available at: http://www.journalofdairyscience.org/article/S0022-0302%2899%2975458-5/abstract.
9 Vitamin D and Chronic Disease – Your Nutrition Questions Answered. The Nutrition Source. Harvard School of Public Health. Available at: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/questions/vitamin-d-and-chronic-disease/.
10 Lactose Intolerance: Information for Health Care Providers. National Institutes of Health. January 2006. Available at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/upload/NICHD_MM_Lactose_FS.pdf.
11 Mitigating the Greenhouse Gas Balance of Ruminant Production Systems Through Carbon Sequestration in Grasslands. Food and Agriculture Organization. Vol 11-2010; p 121. Available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1880e/i1880e05.pdf.
12 Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Dairy Sector: A Life Cycle Assessment. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2010. Available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/k7930e/k7930e00.pdf.