Is Dairy Good For You?
- Sep 05, 2017
Many customers sit on the sideline where they cannot decide if regular intake of dairy products will be beneficial to them. There are an extensive list of pros and cons as there are studies to back either positions. In this article, we will crack down myths that are associated with dairy’s benefits and risks. After, we will discuss if humans can and should naturally consume milk.
The first thing that pops up when someone mentions dairy is usually calcium and bone strength. Conversely, studies reveal that elders who drink a lot of milk during their teenage years have an increased risk for hip fractures. Researches claim that milk can cause bones to lose calcium due to the acidic residues that will cause the body to pull alkaline minerals from the bones.  Even though this theory is not scientifically proven, countries with lowest consumption of dairy and calcium (like Africa and Asia) have the lowest rate of osteoporosis. The results and statistics reveal that calcium may not be as bone-protective as we thought, which diminishes the main reason to drink dairy. Some potential harms for high intake of dairy include the greater risk of prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. Dairy can stimulate the release of insulin and IGF-1 which are hormones that inhibit cell death and stimulate cell proliferation.  This may fuel cancer cell growth. Furthermore, most acne victims understand that hormones are usually the main culprits in severe breakouts. The testosterone like hormones in dairy do stimulate oil glands as oil gets trapped inside the pores and the clogging cause inflammation. To make matters worse, ingesting milk like products can promote inflammation, furthering the problem of clogged bacteria. [3,4] There is no doubt that dairy/milk contains valuable nutrition; however, when considering the potential uncertainty and downside effect, the trade-off becomes less enticing.
Another common discussion for dairy products is if humans can naturally consume them. Humans are the only species that still drinks milk into adulthood as 75% of the world’s population lose their ability to produce lactase, which is a digestive enzyme to break down lactose from milk. Dairy products can contribute to bloating, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and vomiting to consumers who are lactose intolerant.  There are further harm or negative impact to the body when those symptoms arise. Severity of symptoms may differ based on the individual. With evolution naturally fading out humans’ ability to digest lactose, maybe the compound is only beneficial within calves and other animals. The debate for the unnecessity of dairy is further supported by the Healthy Eating Plate created by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Within the plan, one major adjustments from USDA’s MyPlate Nutrition Guide is the substitution of a glass of water for a glass of dairy. The substitution is to limit the intake on milk and to address the concern for greater risk of cancer.  Maybe dairy consumption is not the most natural process for humans to obtain those nutrients.
With supporting evidence demonstrating that dairy may not be essential on top of being potentially harmful, more consumers should reconsider on their level of dairy intake, or if they should intake any at all. For the majority of the population who does not tolerate dairy well, there should not be any debate there. All the factors like hormonal imbalances, discomforts for intolerant people, and potential cancer risk should be alarming. Once again, there are extensive studies that support either position; however, one should consider the risk and reward when consuming dairy.
Cumming, Robert., Klingberg, Robin. (1994). Case-Control Study of Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in the Elderly. American Journal of Epidemiology. https://academic.oup.com/aje/article-abstract/139/5/493/82678
Hyman, Mark. (2016). Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It At All Costs. Hyman Digital. http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/06/24/dairy-6-reasons-you-should-avoid-it-at-all-costs-2/
Ulvestad, M., Bjertness, E., Dalgard, F., Halvorsen, JA. Acne and dairy products in adolescence: results from a Norwegian longitudinal study. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27422392
Schaumburg, Ill. (2013). Growing Evidence suggests possible link between diet and acne. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/growing-evidence-suggests-possible-link-between-diet-and-acne
What is Lactose Intolerance? Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/what-is-lactose-intolerance
Nichols, Hannah. (2017). Dairy: Is it good or bad for you? Medical News Today. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317993.php
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