This article is the third in a series of articles where I explore the various aspects of the food industry.
In this article, I explore the issue concerning dairy products and as to whether or not milk and dairy products are as healthy as we have been led to believe. For decades we in effect have been bottle-fed (no pun intended), that milk does the body good, builds strong bones, that it is a good source of protein and calcium and so forth. As children we were encouraged by our parents to drink our milk, and if we didn’t care for the taste of milk outright, our parents thought of other ways to get us to drink milk, that is by adding a chocolate syrup such as Bosco or Hershey’s.
In the past twenty years, who can forget the ad campaign “Got Milk?” that began in 1993 where celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Taylor Swift, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Marg Helgenberger, Brooke Shields, Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, just to name a few, posed with a glass of milk and had that milk mustache? In fact, if you wish, do a google search “images of celebrities got milk” and you’ll be amazed as to how many celebrities participated in the “Got Milk?” campaign. Only recently, beginning in February of this year, the “Got Milk?” campaign has been changed to “Milk Life” with a whole new type of message to encourage people to drink more milk.
The big question however, do we really need to drink milk or consume dairy products, and are they really as healthy as we’ve been made to believe?
In a nutshell, to answer the question as to whether we really need to drink milk, the answer would be a flat outright no. The human species seems to be the only species that continues to drink milk after babyhood. You won’t find any other mammals drinking their mother’s milk after they are weaned. We have been in effect programmed that even as adults we need to drink milk and consume dairy products, and that would include cheeses, yogurts, sour cream, cottage cheese, ice cream, and I might add, not limited to cow’s milk, but also the milk and dairy products from other milk producing mammals such as goats and sheep.
We have been in a sense programmed in how beneficial milk is as far as adding more protein in our diets. Well there are of course other sources of protein: meats, fish, beans, nuts, even vegetables have a certain amount of protein in them and of course for those who prefer a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, there is soy milk, and tofu.
Not only have we been programmed that milk and dairy products are a great source of protein, but also for calcium. Guess what though? Milk and dairy are not the sole and only sources for calcium either. Other sources of calcium include: Bok Choy, Kale, Beans, Salmon, Spinach, Oranges, Oatmeal, Soy Milk, and Tofu, just to mention a few. In a pinch, if one feels they aren’t getting their daily intake of calcium, there are of course calcium supplements one can take. A full listing of calcium sources is at this website
The Health Factor Of Milk:
Unless one is getting organic milk and dairy products, that is from cows raised “humanely” and not in a farm factory type environment, one is also consuming a number of less desirable elements. Farm Factory raised dairy cows are pumped up with Bovine Growth Hormones, known as rBGH which encourages the cows to produce more milk. If that isn’t bad enough, dairy cows are also injected antibiotics to decrease infections like mastitis. (1) Also, once again, unless one is drinking organic milk or eating organic dairy products, one is also in effect consuming Monsanto GMOs. How? Humanely raised cows are grass fed, which is a cow’s normal type of diet, while farm factory raised cows are feed GMO grains such as corn, and 90% of all corn grown are GMO corn. What does this mean to us? It means when we drink milk or consume dairy foods, we are also ingesting the rBGH, antibiotics and GMO corn.
Can Milk And Dairy Products Actually Trigger Health Problems?
For decades we were have been told how milk and dairy products helps to build strong bones and helps to avoid medical conditions such as osteoporosis. Sorry but I’m about to shatter that illusion. I’ve read countless articles where actually the opposite is true. Just do a google search, “does milk cause osteoporosis” and you’ll be amazed at what comes up. I list only one source here but take my word, there are a lot of articles out there.
Let me quote a few things directly from the one article I found:
“…although milk makes bones stronger in the short term, in the long term it erodes bone-making cells, increasing the risk of osteoporosis…” and “…women…who drank milk three times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk.” (2)
If that isn’t enough, do you have chronic headaches or even migraines? In another article, I found a list of possible triggers for these health issues as well, and guess what? Yes you can guess, among the list of headache and migraine triggers was cultured dairy products, sour cream, buttermilk, and all types of cheeses. (3)
The Humane Factor of The Dairy Industry:
I wish to add here, that one does have to also consider the humane factor when it comes to the dairy industry. Dairy cows in farm factory type environments live a life that is anything but humane. The female cows are kept in small, crammed stalls where they can barely move and each cow is hooked up to machine to pump out their milk. Also, the female cow is constantly kept pregnant in order to produce milk in the first place. Upon the birth of a calf, that calf is virtually yanked away from it’s mother within hours of being born, and either outrightly killed or sent to be raised as veal, which of course means its eventual slaughter upon reaching around the age of 18 to 20 weeks old. (4)
Lastly, I do need to mention that I’m by no means a vegetarian nor vegan, though I have been cutting down on the eating of meats. As far as the milk factor, I’ve never have been a big milk drinker to begin with, yet ironically I do confess in loving cheeses. However, ever since I became more aware and conscious of the cruelty factor behind farm factory raised dairy cows, I’ve cut down on eating cheeses as well.
Got milk? Don’t think so!
Got Milk Campaign:
Got Milk Campaign
The Truth About Milk:
Facts About Milk (1)
Health Issues With Milk:
Milk Triggers Headaches and Migraines (3)
My earlier articles in this series:
Part i: Introduction
Part 2: Organic Vs. All Natural Vs. Monsanto GMO