THE DEAL WITH DAIRY
I get a LOT of questions from clients regarding dairy. Most grew up being told that it is a must for strong bones and an important part of a healthy diet. Nowadays, many are turning away from dairy, especially those following the paleo and plant-based lifestyles. So what exactly is the deal?
Q U A L I T Y ... The dairy we drink today is not the dairy consumed by our ancestors. It is highly pasteurized (heated) to kill bacteria, and many nutrients along with it. This process also denatures the dairy molecules, and studies have shown that some with lactose intolerance actually only have problems with pasteurized dairy. Raw dairy is easier to digest because the enzymes and nutrients are in their whole state (And raw dairy is not as scary as the FDA makes it appear... check out sources here). In addition to the pasteurization, the dairy industry impregnates their dairy cows to maximize their time and production, but this results in excessive hormones coming through in the milk. Some believe that this hormonal excess has a role in cancer development.
A N C E S T R Y ... Whether dairy is right for you or not has a lot to do with your ancestry. If you come from a Dutch heritage, you may be able to digest diary better than others because your ancestors evolved with a large amount of dairy in their diet. If you are from Japan, chances are your body is not well suited for the digestion of dairy.
C H I N A S T U D Y ... This is a point of contention for many nutrition practitioners and researchers, but I feel it is worth bringing up. In the China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Campbell's research found that cancer development in mice was directly related to the percentage of their diet consisting of casein, or the protein in dairy. In fact, he found that he was able to turn on and turn off cancer growth in the mice by adjusting their diets. When dairy was less than 10% of their diet, there was no cancer, and as soon as it was increased, the cancer grew. His research also showed that this 10% limit should contain within it dairy and all other animal products. Sadly no studies can be perfect, so take this with a grain of salt. HOWEVER, it is my opinion that animal protein, including dairy, should be more of an accent to the diet and not a centerpiece. Plants should always be center stage.