Dairy – is it really good for you?

Dairy

Growing up, we are taught that milk and dairy products are good for us, because after all, where would we get calcium from if we didn’t drink milk? In the United States, dairy products have traditionally been Americans’ main source of calcium, and the fear of not getting enough calcium has long been instilled in our culture. However, there are many other healthy ways to get your daily requirement of calcium than from milk and other dairy products.

 

Milk and dairy products contain a lot of saturated fat – something that the Dairy Board doesn’t want you to know about. For example, three glasses of whole milk contains as much saturated fat as 13 strips of bacon. Imagine that! That’s definitely not something that the Dairy Board and the “Got Milk?” campaigns want you to know about. So if you love your milk and cheese, and can’t bare to give it up, stick with no-fat or low-fat varieties. If you don’t like dairy products, or are lactose intolerant, and don’t know where you will get your calcium without drinking milk, calcium supplements can be a great way of meeting your daily needs. Calcium supplements are also largely inexpensive.

Calcium also comes naturally in just about every food that we eat. In fact, there are some foods that are actually higher in calcium than milk. For example, a cup of sesame seeds contains 2,200 mg. of calcium, compared with just the 280 mg. found in a cup of milk. All green leafy vegetables, cabbage, collards, dulse, figs, soy products, cabbage, black strop molasses, oats, and many other foods, contain lots of calcium. All life on earth contains some calcium, but some things do contain more calcium than others.

Most milk found in stores is not a very healthy choice because it comes from cows who are fed growth hormones and high-protein soybean meal to increase milk production, which also increases a cow’s chances of developing liver problems, mastitis, and pituitar gland problems. Contracting these problems is common, and leads to frequent doses of of antibiotics. Exposure to antibiotics and synthetic growth hormore is not recommended. As well, most milk in stores is pasteurized, which destroys enzymes; vitamins B12, B6, and C; friendly bacteria; and leads to the denaturing of milk proteins.

Some milk found in stores is homogenized. Homogenization is a process that forces healthy fat in milk through a fine straining device. This process allows homogenized milk to have consistent texture and taste, rather than contain globules of fat that float to the surface. In other words, it makes it look more appetizing to consumers. The downside to this process is that it can alter healthy fat and cholesterol, making it more susceptible to forming free radicals.

What science and medicine teaches us is that dairy is not as good for you as the dairy industry would like you to believe.

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