Medical Biophysics Graduate Student Association

MBPGSA Blog

Updates, opinion pieces, and news related to the department

Milk? No, thanks!

We really are what we eat: The food that we put in our mouth is used by our body to make new cells, the excess nutrients are stored and the unnatural chemicals (pesticides antibiotics, etc.) harm our tissues. Interestingly, the majority of people take much greater care of their cars than their bodies. No one would even think to put methanol instead of the gasoline into the gas tank, but look at what they are putting into their bodies! Nowadays, people are more educated on how to take care of the artificial tools (cars, computers) but have very little knowledge on how to keep their most important tool – their body- healthy and well functioning. I strongly believe that our diet is responsible for the majority of our health problems.

I always had a mixed feeling about dairy products (I love yogurt and cheese, but milk is making me sick). So, I started wondering: Is it natural for humans to consume milk? No other adult animal on the Earth consumes milk, only us. However, most of human beings that live on our planet do not drink or use cow’s milk, and most of them can’t drink milk because it makes them ill. Recently, I came across the article by Dr. Kradjian The Milk Letter: A message to my patients, which explores the subject of milk and the problems associated with its consumption (http://www.notmilk.com/kradjian.html).

Here are some interesting points:

“Let's look at the scientific literature first. From 1988 to 1993 there were over 2,700 articles dealing with milk recorded in the 'Medicine' archives… none of the authors spoke of cow's milk as an excellent food, free of side effects and the 'perfect food' as we have been led to believe by the industry. The main focus of the published reports seems to be on intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children as well as infections such as salmonella.”

“Is it wise to drink the milk of another species of mammal? … The milk of every species of mammal is unique and specifically tailored to the requirements of that animal. For example, cows' milk is very much richer in protein than human milk. Three to four times as much. It has five to seven times the mineral content… Human mothers' milk has six to ten times as much of the essential fatty acids, especially linoleic acid. It simply is not designed for humans.”

“Well, at least cow’s milk is pure

Or is it? Fifty years ago an average cow produced 2,000 pounds of milk per year. Today the top producers give 50,000 pounds! How was this accomplished? Drugs, antibiotics, hormones, forced feeding plans and specialized breeding; that's how… Any lactating mammal excretes toxins through her milk. This includes antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals and hormones.”

“Well, at least human mothers' milk is pure! Sorry. A huge study showed that human breast milk in over 14,000 women had contamination by pesticides! Further, it seems that the sources of the pesticides are meat and—you guessed it-dairy products. Well, why not? These pesticides are concentrated in fat and that's what's in these products.” (Wow, I never thought of that! AG)

Ovarian cancer--a particularly nasty tumour--was associated with milk consumption by workers at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York. Drinking more than one glass of whole milk or equivalent daily gave a woman a 3.1 times risk over non-milk users. They felt that the reduced fat milk products helped reduce the risk. This association has been made repeatedly by numerous investigators.”

“Persons drinking whole milk 3 or more times daily had a 2-fold increase in lung cancer risk when compared to those never drinking whole milk.”

“Men who reported drinking three or more glasses of whole milk daily had a relative risk of 2.49 compared with men who reported never drinking whole milk. The weight of the evidence appears to favour the hypothesis that animal fat is related to increased risk of prostate cancer.”

“Why are we concerned at all about calcium? Obviously, we intend it to build strong bones and protect us against osteoporosis. And no doubt about it, milk is loaded with calcium. But is it a good calcium source for humans? I think not. These are the reasons. Excessive amounts of dairy products actually interfere with calcium absorption. Secondly, the excess of protein that the milk provides is a major cause of the osteoporosis problem. Dr. Hegsted in England has been writing for years about the geographical distribution of osteoporosis. It seems that the countries with the highest intake of dairy products are invariably the countries with the most osteoporosis. He feels that milk is a cause of osteoporosis.”

“For the key to the osteoporosis riddle, don’t look at calcium, look at protein… Eskimos have an exceptionally high protein intake estimated at 25 percent of total calories. They also have a high calcium intake at 2,500 mg/day. Their osteoporosis is among the worst in the world.”

“To answer the obvious question, "Well, where do you get your calcium?" The answer is: "From exactly the same place the cow gets the calcium, from green things that grow in the ground," mainly from leafy vegetables. After all, elephants and rhinos develop their huge bones by eating green leafy plants, so do horses.”

“As regards protein, milk is indeed a rich source of protein-"liquid meat," remember? However that isn't necessarily what we need. In actual fact it is a source of difficulty. Nearly all Americans eat too much protein… First to be noted is that the recommended protein has been steadily revised downward in successive editions. The current recommendation is 0.75 g/kilo/day for adults 19 through 51 years. This, of course, is only 45 grams per day for the mythical 60 kilogram adult.”

“Therefore virtually all Americans, Canadians, British and European people are in a protein overloaded state. This has serious consequences when maintained over decades. The problems are the already mentioned osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and kidney damage. There is good evidence that certain malignancies, chiefly colon and rectal, are related to excessive meat intake. Barry Brenner, an eminent renal physiologist was the first to fully point out the dangers of excess protein for the kidney tubule. The dangers of the fat and cholesterol are known to all. Finally, you should know that the protein content of human milk is amount the lowest (0.9%) in mammals.”

“Sorry, there's more. Remember lactose? This is the principal carbohydrate of milk. It seems that nature provides newborns with the enzymatic equipment to metabolize lactose, but this ability often extinguishes by age 4 or 5 years… Nature gives us the ability to metabolize lactose for a few years and then shuts off the mechanism. Is Mother Nature trying to tell us something?”

“What if you are lactose-intolerant and lust after dairy products? Is all lost? Not at all. It seems that lactose is largely digested by bacteria and you will be able to enjoy your cheese despite lactose intolerance. Yogurt is similar in this respect.” (Now it makes sense why I can eat cheese and yogurt but not milk! AG).

“To my thinking, there is only one valid reason to drink milk or use milk products. That is just because we simply want to. Because we like it and because it has become a part of our culture. Because we have become accustomed to its taste and texture. Because we like the way it slides down our throat. Because our parents did the very best they could for us and provided milk in our earliest training and conditioning. They taught us to like it. And then probably the very best reason is ice cream! I've heard it described to die for".

Don’t believe everything you see on the TV and everything the Food Industry claims to be good for you – they are interested in the profit not your health…

AnnaG