Cows milk - Is it really good for us? Or should we eliminate milk from our diets all together?
The dairy industry has been advertising the truth about baby's needs for milk, but it has been twisted out of context to apply it to a completely different product, their product -- cows milk not breast milk. And the sad result is that most Americans still think these statements about our babies needing cow's milk is true.
So, in an effort to undo the damage caused by this manipulation, let us consider the differences in human breast milk versus cow's milk, and further examine the physical problems caused by humans trying to survive on the milk of another species well past the age when no mammal should be drinking any milk.
A good place to start in analyzing the distinction between milk of different species is to begin to understand how nature works. As Dr. Frank A.Oski explains it in the book “Don't Drink Your Milk!” "The milk of each species appears to have been specifically designed to protect the young of that species. Cross-feeding does not work. It is a dietary error to cross species to get milk from another animal. Heating, sterilization, or modification of the milk in any way destroys the protection."
Human infants take about 180 days to double their birth weight, and human milk is 5 to 7 percent protein, while calves require only 45 days doubling their birth weight and cows milk is 15 percent protein. This is much more protein than young human's can absorb.
In addition to the difference in the amount of protein in these two different types of milk, there are also major differences in the composition of this protein. The primary type of protein in cow's milk is casein. Cow's milk has 20 times more casein than human milk, which makes the protein from cows milk difficult or impossible for humans to digest or absorb.
When protein cannot be properly broken down, it weakens the immune system, causing allergies and many other problems. Allergies caused by cow's milk are extremely common.
In fact, when a single food can be isolated as the cause of an allergy, 60 percent of the time, that food is cows milk. Symptoms of this allergic reaction to cow's milk in infants can include asthma, nasal congestion, skin rash, chest infections, irritability and fatigue.
Another reason many people suffer from various digestive symptoms from drinking cow's milk is that they may be "lactose intolerant," meaning they cannot digest lactose, the sugar in milk.
An enzyme known as lactase is required to digest lactose, and between the age of 18 months and 4 years old most children gradually lose the lactase activity in their small intestine. This reflects the fact that nature never intended lactose-containing foods, such as cow’s milk to be consumed after the normal weaning period.
In fact, so many people have bad reactions to drinking cow's milk that in 1974 the Federal Trade Commission felt compelled to take legal action against advertising claims made by the California Milk Producers. The ads claimed "Everybody Needs Milk." The FTC prosecuted the milk producers for "false, misleading and deceptive" advertising. The FTC complaint cited the high incidence of lactose intolerance, allergies caused by cow's milk and the increased risk of heart disease. The FTC won and the milk producers had to come up with a new slogan for their ads: "Milk Has Something for Everybody."
But don't we need to drink milk to get calcium? No. The best way to add calcium to your diet is to eat more fresh green vegetables. BUT, cows milk is high in calcium… YES, but the problem is that it is in a form that cannot be absorbed very well by humans.
The mucus created by dairy products causes other problems as well. It is well-known that dairy products cause excessive mucus in the lungs, sinuses and intestines. This excess mucus in the breathing passages contributes too many respiratory problems. Two very common problems with infants are colic and ear infections, both of which can be caused by cows milk. Medical studies have found cow's milk can contribute to these problems either directly, when the infant drinks cows milk, or indirectly, when the infant breast feeds from a mother who has been consuming dairy products.
Colic, suffered by one out of every five infants in the U.S., is characterized by severe stomach cramps. When a mother eats dairy products, milk proteins pass into her breast milk and end up in the baby's blood; some studies have found that cow's milk proteins (from milk drunk by the mother) might trigger colic-like symptoms in infants fed only human milk and no cow's milk.
Makes sense doesn’t it? If your baby has colic, observe what you are eating. Cut out dairy products and see if you baby’s colic subsides.
Ear infections. You just don't see this painful condition among infants and children who aren't getting cow's milk into their systems.
Removing dairy from the diet has been shown to shrink enlarged tonsils and adenoids, indicating relief for the immune system. Similarly, doctors experimenting with dairy-free diets often report a marked reduction in colds, flu, sinusitis and ear infections."
So, what do we drink instead? For the newborn infant, breast milk from a healthy mother. After a child is weaned, there is no reason to drink any milk. We shouldn't drink any liquid with our meals either because this dilutes our digestive fluids. When we are thirsty, we should drink distilled or filtered water. Or, if you want to drink something nutritional between meals, the best choice is fresh vegetable juice, Coconut water, unsweetened Almond milk, Rice or Hemp milk.
If you are someone who loves dairy, but suffers from dairy related symptoms, remember there are some great dairy alternatives available these days.