Have you ever noticed that it’s only humans who consume dairy? No other animal continues to drink milk into adulthood, much less the milk of an entirely different species. Numerous studies state that milk shows little to no effect on bone health. And there are reports linking milk to gastric issues, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acne and even bone breakage. Commercially produced milk contains hormones and antibiotics. So is drinking milk actually healthy for us?
Did you know that milk by itself only has trace amounts of Vitamin D? Nearly all commercially produced, pasteurized milk in the U.S is fortified. This is especially the case with ‘skimmed milk’ and ‘low-fat’ milk, because Vitamin D is fat soluble. This means that the small amount of the vitamin is mostly lost when the milk fat is removed.
Does milk protect your bones? A study by the Channing Laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts says otherwise. Researchers compared women who drank two or more glasses of milk a day to women who consumed one glass or less per week. The report concluded that they found no evidence that higher intakes of milk reduce bone fractures. Another study found that drinking milk may even increase osteoporosis in women!
‘The China Study’ is an interesting book that elaborates the possible ill-effects of milk and other animal-derived foods. It examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bowel cancer. The study concluded that individuals who maintained diets with a high amount of animal-foods were likely to have higher death rates from these diseases.
The same author analysed the relationship between milk consumption in China and the rate of osteoporosis within Chinese families. Osteoporosis is uncommon in China as the milk consumption in China is less. In India milk consumption is high yet we have more cases of osteoporosis than the Chinese do. And though USA is one of the highest consumers of milk and dairy products in the world, they have the most cases of osteoporosis in the world! It’s estimated that 1 in 4 American men are expected to encounter osteoporosis in their lives.
Amy Lanou, the nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, states here that, “The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium and bone health is very weak and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost non-existent.”
Image Source: John McDougall, M.D
Nearly 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. This means they do not have the necessary enzymes required to digest the sugar in milk called lactose. Researchers at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences conducted a study on lactose intolerance in India and found out that 74% were lactose malabsorbers.
The modern dairy farmer repeatedly impregnates a female cow throughout her life to maximize his profits. Did you know that more than 75% of the commercially produced milk in India comes from pregnant cows? Pregnancy is a time when the oestrogen levels of cows increase significantly and these hormones can be traced to cow’s milk. The milk, along with its high oestrogen content intended for the growth of the baby in the womb and the baby calf. But this milk gets diverted to us humans instead. This has adverse effects on both men and women.
Calves are separated from their mothers so that humans can drink her milk.
Excessive oestrogen is problematic for both young girls and older women. It can bring about early puberty, as well as prolong the start of menopause. Both these situations reportedly lead to the growth of cancer cells in the reproductive organs.
So it seems that nutritionally, dairy products may not be useful, or even healthy, for the average Indian. To make matters worse, there are also an alarming number of bad practices that plague the dairy industry.
“Two out of three Indians drink milk laced with detergent, caustic soda, urea, and paint. Over 68% of the milk sold did not conform to standards laid down by India’s food regulator FSSAI, quoting figures from a nationwide survey conducted by the agency in 2011.”
– Union minister Harsh Vardhan
Dairy farmer preparing a dose of antibiotics.
The National Dairy Research Institute in Haryana conducted a study in which they found antibiotic residues in milk. Animal Equality’s comprehensive study on Indian dairies indicates that antibiotic use in Indian dairies is widespread, specifically. The consumption of such milk can lead to antibiotic resistance, allergic reactions, toxicity, etc.
Animal Equality’s study also documented the widespread use of the illegal hormone, ‘oxytocin’. This is done despite the prohibition on the use of oxytocin for dairy animals. Considering the cruelty and harmful effects of it on humans, the government prohibited oxytocin under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and it allows the sale of it to registered veterinary practitioners only.
Cheap oxytocin shots sold in disguise as sweets.
Oxytocin is known to disturb the reproductive cycle of female animals thereby reducing their life expectancy. The consumption of oxytocin laden milk is known to cause severe hormonal imbalances among its consumers.
Did you know that animal milk can actively reduce the health benefits of tea? Several studies show that the casein present in cow’s milk drastically reduces tea’s antioxidant properties. This is why green tea and black tea are considered far healthier. Ardent milk-tea lovers who want to avoid casein can find a wide variety of non-dairy milks available today. These milks are made from cashews, almonds, rice, peanuts and other foods that are casein free.
Dairy farms are one of the filthiest farms in India. The floors of the dairies are perpetually filled with dung and urine. The stench from the dairies is usually unbearable. Dead bodies of animals, some of which are diseased are left to rot next to the living animals. The milk is derived and stored in this unhygienic atmosphere.
“Basing your diet on plant foods is a great first step to eating well and reducing your cancer risk.” – The World Cancer Research Fund
“Three out of four Indians have no milk tolerance.” – Dr. Uday C. Ghoshal
Research shows that we do not need animal milk or dairy products to be healthy. A well balanced vegan diet can provide the sufficient amounts of calcium vitamins and other important nutrients. Additionally, there are many tasty vegan milks, cheeses, butters and spreads available in the market.
Vegan milk is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. It’s created from coconuts, cashew nuts, peanuts, almonds, soya beans, etc. Vegan milk doesn’t have any of the harmful hormones and antibiotics present in animal milk. It’s also suitable for the lactose intolerant. Plus, they are very easy to make at home.
There is an ever-growing list of vegan athletes, such as Mac Danzig, Patrik Baboumian and the record-breaking KJ Joseph. Many healthcare professionals are also becoming increasingly vocal about the benefits of a vegan diet.