Welcome back to the second installment of "How Your Diet Is Slowly Killing You (And All of Us)." Isn't it exciting?! If you missed the first installment, you can check it out here.
First of all, I know there is a lot of conflicting information out there and it can be very overwhelming at times. That is why I urge you to check out NutritionFacts.org which is a non-profit organization that aims to unbiasedly deliver the latest in nutrition related research in an easy to understand science-based format. There are so many health myths and misleading information out there mostly from research funded by those industries whom benefit from it, so I urge you to take those with a grain of salt.
Also, recognize these lovely diagrams below? Well, forget about it!
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is full of members with conflicts of interest from the Sugar Association, McDonald's Corp.'s Global Advisory Council on Healthy Lifestyles, Danon Institute, National Dairy Council, Mars Inc., National Dairy Board, Coca-Cola's Beverages Institute for Health and Wellness, American Meat Institute, American Egg Board, etc.
See the issue here?
And to top it all off, here's an excerpt from "Saving U.S. Dietary Advice From Conflicts of Interest" from the Food and Drug Law Journal:
"...[T]here is oddly no discussion at all of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. If the Committee actually discussed this research, it would be unable to justify its recommendation to eat meat, as the research would show that meat increases the risks of chronic diseases, contrary to the purposes of the Guidelines. Thus, by simply ignoring that research, the Committee is able to reach a conclusion that would otherwise look improper."
Case in point:
But I digress, today I want to address dairy. Every day we're sold that we need the calcium in milk for strong bones, however, the acidity of milk lowers our pH levels to the point where our bones actually leach calcium as a buffer to bring our pH levels back up. So in reality, our bones are weaker from consuming milk. This is why we have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world even though we have one of the highest rates of dairy consumption. In addition to this health concern, dairy has been linked to acne, diabetes, heart disease, bovine leukemia virus (a growing concern in today's milk supply), and various cancers including prostate, ovarian, and breast cancer. I won't get in to all of these today, but feel free to do your own research now that I've given you the tools to do so.
Today, I just want to highlight one of the biggest and scariest risks associated with dairy consumption: cancer.
First up, let's look at the study "Milk Intake in Early Life and Risk of Advanced Prostate Cancer" from the American Journal of Epidemiology. This study concluded that drinking milk every day in adolescence was found to increase the risk of prostate cancer by 320%. Additionally, when dairy was introduced in to a population that previously did not consume it, such as in the study "The Experience of Japan as a Clue to the Etiology of Testicular and Prostatic Cancer", as the consumption of dairy consumption rose by 20 times, so did the rate of prostate cancer. That's a pretty high correlation.
In looking at the findings from the study "Milk Stimulates Growth of Prostate Cancer Cells in Culture" from the journal of Nutrition and Cancer, dairy milk increases cancer growth by 30% while almond milk decreases cancer growth by 30%. That is incredible! The alkaline nature of almond milk creates an environment that stifles the growth of cancer cells.
Additionally, dairy is full of hormones--the naturally occurring hormones of a pregnant mammal. This includes very high levels of estrogen, which has been classified by the National Institute of Health to be a carcinogen. This is because of the way it breaks down in the cell and releases free radicals. And unfortunately digestion does not destroy the estrogen in milk. Blood levels of estrogen are increased after the consumption of dairy. These increased levels of estrogen have been linked to an increase in breast cancer and ovarian cancer as found in the study "Milk and lactose intakes and ovarian cancer risk in the Swedish Mammography Cohort" from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and "Indicators of lifetime estrogen exposure: effect on breast cancer incidence and interaction with raloxifine therapy in the multiple outcomes of raloxifine evaluation study participants" from the Journal of Clinical Oncology. That was a mouthful!
Basically, there is no need to consume dairy for calcium when you can get calcium from an abundance of plant-based sources including leafy greens, legumes, fruits, whole wheat bread, fortified cereals, tofu, broccoli, and almonds. This is not an exhaustive list even, so why are we even bothering with dairy?
Tiptoe to Health Tip #2
I am back again with another easy tip to help transition to a healthier lifestyle. This should be an obvious one after the discussion today, but skip the dairy milk! I've said this before and I'll say it again—there is a substitute for everything meat and dairy! Switch to almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk, etc. Find your fave!
I cook and bake with unsweetened soy milk so don't forget to use it in place of dairy milk in your favorite recipes! It's a one-to-one ratio, so there's no need to measure a different amount than what the recipe calls for. Easy as pie (see what I did there?).
Fun Fact: Did you know we are the only species that drinks another species milk after weaning?