Don't Drink Your Milk

The following information is from the new issue of Natural Health, July/Aug 1994, "Don't Drink Your Milk". Dairy products cause or contribute to asthma, hives, allergies, arthritis, appendicitis, inflammatory bowel disease [see note], and other problems.

Asked what single change in the American diet would produce the greatest health benefit, Washington, D.C.-based Pediatrician Russell Bunai, says "Eliminating dairy products."

Now some material on specific health problems (p. 70):

Galactose. Ovarian cancer rates parallel dairy-eating patterns around the world. The culprit seems to be galactose, the simple sugar broken down from the milk sugar lactose. Animals fed galactose go on to develop ovarian cancer. According to Boston gynecologist Daniel Cramer, women with this cancer often have trouble breaking down galactose. About 10% of the US population lacks the enzymes to metabolize galactose. Says Cramer, "Since you can't tell whether you lack these enzymes (unlike lactose intolerance, in which there are clear signs of digestive upset), I just tell my patients they don't need dairy." Yogurt, cheese and other fermented dairy products, as well as those containing Lactaid, are the richest sources of galactose.

Pesticides. Pesticides concentrate in milk of both farm animals and humans. A study by the Environmental Defense Fund found widespread pesticide contamination of human breast milk among 1400 women in forty six states. The levels of contamination were twice as high among the meat-and-dairy-eating women as among vegetarians.

Perhaps the biggest health problem with cow's milk arises from the proteins in it: Cow's milk protein damages the human immune system. Amino acids, the units that make up proteins, are building blocks for all living cells. When protein in our food is properly broken down by the digestive system into amino acids, it does no harm to the immune system. Some food proteins, however, are absorbed into the blood fully undigested, provoking an immune response. Repeated exposure to these proteins disrupts normal immune function and may eventually lead to disease.

Cow's milk contains many proteins that are poorly digested and harmful to the immune system. "Dairy is a tremendous mucus producer and a burden on the respiratory, digestive, and immune systems," says Christiane Northrup, a gynecologist based in Yarmouth, Maine. "If women eliminate dairy foods for an extended period and eat a balanced diet, they suffer less from colds and sinus infections."

The emphasis on women is probably an artifact of the journal's readership. The cited article contains much more information.

[ARRS Administrator Note: Alex Doktorovich writes to inform us that there is no evidence that Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is caused by or related to the drinking of milk. He claims that the truth is that there is no known cause, and he cites the FAQ for support. The FAQ states that milk drinking is tolerated less well when active IBD symptoms are present.]


Contributed by: Barbara Zimmerman