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Why No Dairy?

For most Americans with our culturally induced perspectives, it is difficult to conceive of eating breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks without a glass of milk, specifically, cow’s milk. After all, we were raised to believe it is healthy and milk was made available to us throughout each day, day after day. Oddly, most of us are unaware of the fact that it is placed in front of us primarily by the dairy industry, a quite powerful lobbying conglomerate that advertises heavily making us believe milk is essential. It is this same group that developed and continues to promote the food pyramid that all children grow up with in school systems and that all parents feel they must adhere to. There is no wonder, then, where milk can be found on this pyramid…at the top, indicating the need for multiple portions throughout the day. Unfortunately, this is based on marketing hype and not medical fact. Current data and state of the art nutritional/medical evidence presents an entirely different picture. Cow’s milk is not necessary for human health and is, in fact, unhealthy for the following reasons:

Health implications:

  • Unable to digest by majority of people (lactose intolerant) (1)
  • Major cause of food allergies
  • High in cholesterol and fat
  • A factor in diabetes (2,3)
  • Increased risk of ovarian, breast, prostate cancer (4,5,6)
  • Contains many known contaminants, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, herbicides

Ecological concerns (to produce milk from cows)2:

  • Inefficient use of land (7)
  • Inefficient use of water (8)
  • Inefficient use of fossil fuels (9)
  • Contributes unnecessarily to pollution 
    (air from methane and water from feces in runoff) (10)

Ninety percent of Asian Americans, seventy percent of African Americans and over fifty percent of Hispanic populations are lactose intolerant. They are unable to digest the sugar lactose found in all cows’ milk. This leads to diarrhea, gas, and general stomach upset and cramping. Sixteen studies have now linked dairy consumption with prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.Harvard researchers studied 75,000 women for 12 years and found NO protective effect of milk for osteoporosis. FDA and independent surveys reported that 86% of random milk samples contained antibiotics and other drugs such as sulfamethazine which is a known human carcinogen.
Alternatives to consuming milk for drinking or cooking would be to use soy or rice milk. There are many wonderful brands currently available to choose from. All are healthier choices for you and our environment.

1. J. Natl Med. Assoc. 1999;91:151-7
2. N ENgl J Med. 1992;327:302-7
3. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990;51:489-91
4. World Cancer Research Fund. American Institute of Cancer Research. Washington D.C. 1997
5. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:1353-1357
6. Science. 1998;279:553-5
7. USDA, Worldwatch Institute
8. Pimental, D., Food and Natural Resources, 1989
9. Hawkin, P., Natural Capitalism
10. EPA Journal, March 1990