Well Being

The Great Milk Debate: Is Dairy The Next Evil Food Group?

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Why are so many more people suddenly lactose-intolerant or sensitive to dairy?

Most people have heard of lactose intolerance, which affects 10% of adults. Another less-known problem is difficulty digesting casein from cow's milk. When casein is not properly digested, it gets into your blood and the immune system reacts, causing inflammation which can then lead to problems such as acne.

The other problem is that the process of pasteurization eliminates many of the beneficial components of milk, and homogenization creates fats that are foreign to most human digestive systems.

One rumor I’ve heard is that milk somehow binds to the other nutrients in your system and renders them unable to be absorbed. It sounds crazy. Is it?

I’m not sure that it actually happens with dairy.

Skeptics are prone to saying that people have been eating dairy for centuries, and we’ve always been ok. So why the sudden backlash against dairy?

As I said above, problems occur because of what we do to the dairy. When people drink raw milk products, they seem to have much fewer problems. The way our milk is processed has become a huge problem – the hormones, antibiotics, pasteurization and homogenization have made cow's milk hard to digest for humans. I see so many patients whose symptoms clear up when they eliminate dairy along with other inflammatory foods.

Another thing that adds to our confusion is all the weight loss advice out there. Some say you should avoid dairy for weight loss; others recommend whey protein shakes for weight loss. So what are we supposed to do to control weight?

Instead of “controlling” weight, I like to think in terms of maintaining a healthy weight. You should eat a whole foods plant-based diet of fruits, veggies, protein and gluten-free grains such as brown rice and quinoa. Stay away from dairy, sugar, wheat, processed foods and refined carbs.

I'm actually a big fan of whey protein from grass-fed cows, which is easy to digest, has all of the essential amino acids, and is good for boosting immunity. Although whey protein comes from dairy, it doesn't have the lactose and many of the other components of milk that we probably should not be consuming, so most people tolerate it well. Make sure that the whey you choose comes from grass-fed cows that are raised organically, like the whey in my Recharge shakes.

 

Still have more questions? We do, too. So we'll be posting all week about everything from raw milk to dairy alternatives, and even whether your favorite yogurt is making you fat. Check out our running roster of posts about The Great Milk Debate, and tell us what you want to hear more about in the comments section, below.

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