Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
18 Dec

10 Common Arguments Against Dairy Consumption Explored

MilkI’ve celebrated the goodness of dairy fat quite enthusiastically in recent weeks. If you were just joining us, you might have gotten the wrong impression that you’d stumbled into a PR wing of the dairy industry, and that the streets of Mark’s Dairy Apple run whitish-yellow with grass-fed milk fat. No, children aren’t busting open fire hydrants on warm days to dance around in the effervescent spray of kefir, and on winter days it doesn’t rain milk and snow globs of thick Greek yogurt in these parts.

I’m well aware of the darker side to dairy, and today I’ll be exploring the common arguments against dairy consumption. Let’s jump right in:

Grok didn’t drink milk.

True, but the evolutionary argument cannot prove the suitability or unsuitability of a food – it can only generate hypotheses that we can then test or research. The same goes for grain consumption, nighttime artificial light exposure, sedentary living, or any other evolutionary novel activity. It has to be tested.

Takeaway? The relative newness of dairy in the human diet definitely raises concerns about its healthfulness, but it’s not a resounding argument in and of itself.

We’re the only species that drinks the milk of other mammals.

It does seem a bit weird. That’s mankind, though: we do weird things that no other animal could ever conceive of doing. That’s what makes us the top of the food chain. We’re smart and dominant enough to impose our will on nature. It gets us into trouble – see industrial agriculture and artificial trans-fats – but it also improves our station – see the decision of hominids three million years ago to “see how this dead herbivore flesh tastes.” Like the previous argument, this one can only raise hypotheses.

Takeaway? Our species’ departure from, or modification of mammalian norms isn’t always bad. Or good. The specifics matter.

Dairy raises insulin.

It’s true, it does. Both the lactose and dairy proteins exert an insulinogenic effect that when taken in concert rival that of many carbohydrate sources. I actually covered this topic in a post several years ago and found that acute dairy-induced spikes of insulin don’t seem to be related to body fat gain or insulin resistance in healthy people, and that the studies showing a connection between dairy and insulin resistance used skim or low-fat milk, rather than whole. And in athletes trying to recover from training, these insulin spikes may actually promote recovery. Hyperinsulinemia, where insulin is chronically elevated, is another story. If you’re already insulin-resistant, dairy could be problematic.

Takeaway? Dairy’s insulinogenic effect is good for some groups (lean, insulin-sensitive, athletes or trainees looking for muscle recovery), bad for others (insulin-resistant). Context is important.

The betacellulin in dairy can increase cancer.

Betacellulin is a growth factor found in whey that plays an important role in infant growth. In some in vitro studies, isolated betacellulin has been shown to contribute toward the growth of cancer cells. Chris Masterjohn takes apart this argument fairly well, explaining how similar in vitro studies that incorporate conjugated linoleic acid (a trans-fatty acid especially abundant in pastured dairy fat) show that CLA has an inhibitory effect on the promotion of cancer by betacellulin; how most epidemiological studies show no relationship between commercial milk and cancer; how some only support a relationship between low-fat dairy and ovarian and prostate cancer, but not high-fat dairy; and how whole fat milk is actually associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Takeaway? If betacellulin has cancer-promoting tendencies, it’s probably only when isolated from protective dairy compounds such as CLA and saturated fat. Stick to full-fat, pastured dairy.

Dairy is a general growth promoter and can increase cancer.

Loren Cordain and Pedro Bastos (with a couple other collaborators) released a very interesting paper in which they suggest that rather than being just food, milk is an “endocrine signaling system” whose various components – particularly the proteins – are meant to stimulate hormonally-driven growth in a “species-specific” manner. So human breast milk is perfect for how human babies are supposed to grow and tissue differentiate, cow milk is ideal for calf growth, goat milk for kid growth, and so on. Milk proteins stimulate growth by activating the mTOR pathway and stimulating IGF-1 release. Cordain and Bastos link dairy-induced mTOR activation and IGF-1 release with prostate cancer, citing in vitro and epidemiological evidence that milk consumption during certain developmental phases (prenatal, immediately postnatal, and adolescence) can predispose developing prostates to cancer later in life.

More generally, IGF-1 is a growth promoter which is elevated in childhood – because that’s when people are growing at a fairly steady rate – and in certain types of cancer – because that’s another kind of growth, only unwanted. Since dairy protein consumption is pretty consistently linked to increased IGF-1, it’s easy to assume that dairy can increase cancer risk. Good for growing bodies, bad for growing cancer cells.

So, people with cancer or at risk of cancer should avoid dairy, right? I’m not sure. This study found that a whey protein supplement actually increased the vulnerability of cancer cells to chemotherapy among patients with carcinoma. Another study identified several potential roles for milk proteins in cancer prevention. And there’s the classic tale of Campbell’s rats, where high-casein diets were protective against the development of aflatoxin-induced cancer but increased cancer progression once initiated.

Plus, the mTOR pathway is also where muscle growth happens, which may be why GOMAD (gallon of milk a day) is a popular tactic for strength trainees.

Takeaway? Dairy is a growth promoter, which can be good (muscle) or potentially bad (cancer, particularly prostate when consumed at certain developmental stages). It’s unclear if dairy actually promotes tumorigenesis or promotes growth only once the cancer has been established – or neither.

Dairy increases intestinal permeability, thus allowing proteins and other bioactive compounds entrance into the bloodstream. This can precipitate or exacerbate autoimmune diseases.

For years, I’ve heard that “dairy is designed to increase intestinal permeability.” After all, infants need a bit of a leaky gut to allow absorption of large things like colostrum. It would make sense for milk to increase permeability so this could happen. But it turns out that infant guts are innately permeable, not permeable because of dairy. If anything, it looks like dairy might actually make guts less permeable. I didn’t find any human research to this effect, but I did find some interesting studies with surprising results:

Hydrolyzed casein restored intestinal barrier function and prevented diabetes in a diabetes-prone rat. A later study confirmed these results. A specific casein peptide was also shown to reduce intestinal permeability in another study, and beta-lactoglobulin (another protein component of dairy) had similar effects on intestinal tight junction function. And finally, a component of whey has also been shown to reinforce tight junction integrity.

Yeah, I was surprised too.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t connections, even causal, between dairy consumption and autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, but the presence of leaky gut may be a prerequisite. This would jibe with the observations that people with type 1 diabetesmultiple sclerosisrheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases sometimes linked to dairy intake have higher intestinal permeability.

Takeaway? Although these were either rodent or in vitro studies using isolated components of dairy, it seems like the evidence points toward dairy upholding intestinal integrity, if anything. Given existing permeability, dairy proteins can slip through and obviously cause problems, but I’m unaware of evidence showing they increase leaky gut or autoimmune disease on their own absent intestinal permeability.

Dairy has a high acid load, which can lead to bone calcium loss.

I’ve always been skeptical of this one because using the same criteria, meat also has a high acid load on the body. Should we forgo eating meat, which has been shown to improve bone mineral density? Plus, one recent study found that dairy doesn’t actually make the body acidic. Milk and dairy products “neither produce acid upon metabolism nor cause metabolic acidosis.” Further, dairy is a good source of calcium and – particularly in the case of gouda cheese – vitamin K2, both important co-factors in bone metabolism.

Takeaway? Dairy consumption may not ensure or be necessary for good bone health, but it doesn’t seem to negatively impact it.

Dairy contains ample amounts of bioactive hormones which can have negative health effects.

Since a common practice nowadays is the milking of pregnant cows in order to maximize production and estrogen goes up during pregnancy, it seems reasonable to expect elevated levels of estrogen in dairy. Most studies I came across found that some estrogen is present in dairy, with skim milk containing the most bioavailable form of estrogen (conjugated estrogen, the same kind used in oral hormone replacement therapy). For the most part, the amount of active estrogen found in dairy seems too low for physiological relevance. We have too much already in circulation for it to be impacted by dietary sources, some of which will be nullified by digestion.

Dairy proteins can certainly increase IGF-1 (as shown previously) in people, but it’s unclear whether the actual IGF-1 found in dairy has an effect on serum levels. If you’re worried about IGF-1, fermentation takes care of most of it. Stick to fermented dairy like yogurt, kefir, or cheese (which already has health benefits over regular unfermented dairy).

Takeaway? Hormone levels in dairy vary according to production method, pregnancy status of the animal being milked, and chance. For the most part, the amount of hormones in dairy pales in comparison to the endogenous amounts circulating in our bodies at any given time, so even if we had the leakiest gut in the world and everything we ate was absorbed directly into our blood, it would likely have minimal impact on our hormone levels.

Dairy causes acne.

Among food-sensitive acne sufferers, dairy is probably the most commonly reported offender. Indeed, recent studies suggest a connection between skim milk consumption and acne in teenage boys (less so for whole milk) and in girls. Researcher Bodo Melnik points the finger at the mTOR/IGF-1 activating qualities of dairy (and the Western diet at large) as the culprit. It’s a compelling line of argument.

However, one recent study found that fermented dairy enhanced with lactoferrin reduced the incidence of acne, suggesting that dairy isn’t always antithetical to skin health. Raw dairy might work better than pasteurized dairy, since pasteurization destroys the natural lactoferrin content of milk.

Takeaway? Dairy is a common aggravator of acne and is worth removing or avoiding if you have it.

That bovine serum albumin in dairy resembles human collagen type 1 and can increase rheumatoid arthritis through molecular mimicry.

Rheumatoid arthritis patients do seem to produce antibodies to bovine serum albumin, and one case study found that an RA patient achieved relief with cessation of milk consumption and saw symptoms return with resumption. Still, another more recent paper found that BSA antibodies weren’t associated with disease progression or activity (flare-ups) in rheumatoid arthritis, so it’s still theoretical. I would imagine that the problem (if extant) is exacerbated by the presence of leaky gut.

Takeaway? Seems worrisome enough that people with RA might try avoiding dairy, at least as a trial to see how it affects their symptoms. One confounder is that bovine serum albumin is also found in beef muscle meat. RA patients who are reading this: do you notice problems with beef?

Overall, it appears that dairy has both benefits and risks, and that where you fall depends on several factors, like gut health, insulin sensitivity, activity level, age, as well as the quality and form of the dairy (which though I didn’t really get into are implicit when discussing dairy). In other words, it’s extremely variable and personal.

What do you think, folks? Any other anti-dairy arguments out there? Let me know in the comment section!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. If an animal in the wild was to kill another animal (which happened to be lactating) wouldn’t they eat the entire animal, including the milk?

    Emery Agria wrote on December 18th, 2013
  2. Thank you! I am a wanna be vegan! But, the only way I get or stay at a healthy weight is lo carb. I really appreciate primal. I really don’t like meat that much and I’m on the go a lot, so my cheese and fage are so important to me! I also love cream in my coffee. I don’t seem to have adverse affects, but I really worry about all that you took apart! Thank you for the reassuance that my diet isn’t evil!!

    klpupmom wrote on December 18th, 2013
  3. I can also vouch for some immediate negative effects if I consume the whey portion of dairy, namely stomach ache and constipation. If I continue, skin deteriorates as well. Butter or heavy cream does not seem to be a problem. Having read paleo stuff for years, it now seems to me that a resilient healthy body can take quite a hammering and bounce back quickly, in the short term. The more recent the historical introduction of foodstuffs , the more careful we need to be, and unwind those things first. I cannot find a better yardstick to evaluate dietary tolerances than the historical record of the species as far as we can know it. Otherwise, you might as well just follow the latest according to the checkout line magazines.

    Bruce Berry wrote on December 18th, 2013
  4. The one thing I’ve learned here, is that everyone reacts to food in a different way.
    I’m able to buy raw milk and have been drinking it two or three times a week for over five years now.
    I like it and don’t have any negative reactions to it….so I drink it with my morning smoothie.
    On the other hand I’m sensitive to almonds, peanuts and eggs….which most here seem to swear by and eat everyday.
    Everyone is different and must go by what their body…and blood tests…show.

    Larry wrote on December 18th, 2013
  5. Has it occurred to anyone that the reason that we’re the only animal that drinks other species’ milks is because we’re the only one with the empathy required to bond closely enough to another species so that it lets us get near its udders AND the only one with opposable enough thumbs to milk (or the smarts to operate a milking machine???)

    A previous commenter noted that predators certainly WILL preferentially eat udders and pigs fatten really well on whey, too. We aren’t the only ones who consume dairy, we’re just really, really good at it.

    Sarah wrote on December 18th, 2013
  6. I suffer from GERD and reflux.
    Dairy agravates adverse symptoms,so I removed dairy totally from my diet,and this works well for me.
    As I am on PPIs,I do worry a bit about bone weakness,but so be it.
    I am constantly searching for a natural alternative to PPIs,but without any success so far.
    Any research in this area would be most welcome.

    paleo wrote on December 18th, 2013
  7. It’s not a totally ‘either or’ proposition. There are some people who can’t drink milk or eat butter on account of lactose, but who can consume yoghurt and cheese with out ill effects as the lactose is destroyed by the fermentation process.

    Paul in Australia wrote on December 18th, 2013
  8. The arguments for moderation or elimination make sense. All I know is that I’ve had an insatiable relationship with dairy since I can remember. My mom use to limit me to a glass if milk a day and boy did I get into trouble more times than I can count.
    Due to reasons unbeknown to me I didn’t nurse when I was born. I’ve always wondered if that had something to do with it?
    Milk, cheese, yoghurt…. you name it. And obviously ice cream is my treat of choice.
    I live an active, healthy lifestyle. I get the flu maybe once every four years or so. The few unwanted pounds is in all likelihood due to my diary addiction.
    I’m trying to cut back and stick to raw when I can’t resist.
    Letting go of sugar and grains felt easy compared to this. :-)

    Michelle wrote on December 18th, 2013
  9. My dairy is veal or suckling pig.

    Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on December 18th, 2013
  10. Surprised you didn’t mention glucagon when you talked about dairy and insulin.

    http://cogitoergoedo.com/?s=Dairy

    Sondra Rose wrote on December 18th, 2013
  11. I have mild R.A. and I definitely have an issue with dairy. Butter or cream leads to inflammation, pain, stiffness, congestion, and sometimes a migraine with goat/sheep cheese pretty much the same. Probiotics seem to make these reactions a bit less severe. Cow’s milk and cheese are a total no-go still.

    Ghee is barely tolerated and creates a little inflammation and congestion (at least Purity Farms, Ancient Organics, one from a farmer’s market in Chico, CA, haven’t tried Pure Indian Foods or OMGhee). I’ve known I had an intolerance to dairy for many years although I was just recently diagnosed with the R.A.

    I would be really curious to hear from others who have R.A. I am severely sensitive to dairy and gluten and pretty sensitive to many other foods that I pretty much avoid (nuts, soy, eggs, histamine, coconut). I am hoping to some day stop taking NSAIDs and I may be willing to go further to get there.

    Ms. Zing wrote on December 18th, 2013
  12. My husband also gave up dairy because of sinus problems and it definitely helped. I don’t have dairy because it gives me dreadful skin breakouts – I LOVE dairy so have been very reluctant but have recently given it up for a second time after a definite downward slide when butter, yogurt and cheese started creeping their way back in!!

    Justine wrote on December 18th, 2013
  13. There are always consequences. I agree that since the industrialization of our food sources, we have pretty much lost our informed right to choose what we eat/drink. The issue of milk in and of itself could be a health issue for some; however, milk and its production in this day and age has been so altered, I am not sure we can even call it milk. So, you have the issue of the added growth hormone, which most cartons of milk will state explicitly that there is no definitive difference between r-BST treated milk and non-treated milk. However, there was a scientific study back in 2006 that proved otherwise, and this information was not made public because of pressure from the producer of the hormone who has a lot of clout/money. There are now many major milk companies who have eliminated the r-BST hormone and boasting about it. Imagine that. On another note, you need to be aware of carrageenan, found to cause inflammation (and many reactions related to this inflammation throughout multiple body systems), that is included in many dairy products. Let’s not forget the role GMO plays into this, feeding genetically modified corn to cows that do not tolerate eating corn, and the horrible conditions of the milking facilities CAFOs. All things considered, I choose not to drink the milk we have available to us today. And, while I am sure raw milk is a better choice-as it is proven that pasteurization of milk and some are even ultra-pasteurized, makes the milk less healthy-and many people who are lactose intolerant can stomach raw milk, because it contains the enzymes you need to break it down, I am skeptical to try it (unless I knew the farmer). Eliminate all GMO and you will see how much better you feel. Follow some sort of exercise routine – anything, just get up. And rally for our right to choose what we eat by having GMO labels on food. Buy organic and get back to basics and support your local farmer. If you want to learn more read Michael Pollan’s, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” Good read. It will change the way you look at food. Also, there is a video on YouTube “Seeds of Death” that spells things out quite nicely as well. To your health,

    Denise wrote on December 18th, 2013
  14. So, does the information about dairy and prostate apply to all dairy products? I tend to use raw milk cheeses, butter and heavy cream, and very little other dairy. I was also recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and I’m still trying to decide if or how to treat it. If the limited dairy I am eating would make a difference, it is easy for me to get rid of it.

    DML wrote on December 18th, 2013
  15. “the evolutionary argument cannot prove the suitability or unsuitability of a food – it can only generate hypotheses that we can then test or research. The same goes for grain consumption, nighttime artificial light exposure, sedentary living, or any other evolutionary novel activity. It has to be tested.”

    That’s why I love this blog, critical analysis.

    Mick wrote on December 18th, 2013
  16. I don’t really believe that we’re the only mammals that drink the milk of other animals. Hasn’t everybody seen the news stories about a squirrel who nursed kittens, or a puppies nursed by a cat, or any number of other odd combinations of adopted tiny animals nursing from a different species who, for whatever reason, decided to let it? Seems not-so-weird that we would do it, too.

    Hallations wrote on December 18th, 2013
  17. Removing dairy stopped the symptoms of lymphocytic colitis that I was experiencing. It concidentally reduced rhinitis and sinus issues as well. A few years later I removed gluten, and now after a few years GF I can tolerate small amounts of butter and cheese. I haven’t been brave to try larger amounts! If you’d ever had colitis, you’d understand that.

    I would have liked to see this post of Marks further explore the impact of dairy for those with a leaky gut. Maybe another time.

    Lyn wrote on December 18th, 2013
  18. I love dairy products, but they make me fat. I was eating it freely for the first year I went Primal, but on a hunch I stopped my yogurt smoothies and cheese consumption et Voila! – lost that stubborn last few pounds.

    I eat it sparingly now – usually a few slivers of pecorino romano on a big-ass salad, a tiny serving of Haagen Daz, a dollop of heavy whipping cream in tea or coffee.

    Pure Hapa wrote on December 18th, 2013
  19. Posts like these are why I love MDA and the primal approach, as opposed to the general paleo diet. It challenges both conventional wisdom and paleo intuition, e.g., the grain spectrum vs dismissing all grains as toxic.

    I really enjoyed this post and its rigorous exploration of so many specific points. Thanks for providing such a great resource for everyone, Mark.

    Ben wrote on December 18th, 2013
  20. Thank you for the research, Mark! Years ago I read that the main problem with whole milk is homogenization as the tremendous pressure used “straightens out” the naturally “bent” fat molecules, making it easier to pass undigested into the blood thus wreaking cardio havoc. Does anyone want to share some knowledge on that? I pretty much have not consumed liquid whole milk for 40 years because I read that…my experience with cheese is pretty much the same as with meat: in limited quantities, consumed with sufficient veggies (like a salad) it is no problemo. By itself, or in massive quantities (more than a few ounces at a sitting) it plugs up my colon, resulting in constipation and occasionally initiating a flare-up of my chronic diverticulitis. BTW reading Primal Connection now, Fascinating.

    Corey B. (Long Beach, CA) wrote on December 18th, 2013
  21. This may very well have been brought up in one of the previous posts, but after skimming through them I don’t see mention of it so I will add my 2 cents here. There was a time, back in the good ole days when I was drinking gallons of store-bought pasteurized milk from my local grocery store. A few years ago, before I even knew of MDA and Paleo, I gave up drinking milk because of the sugar content.

    I haven’t seem this issue addressed here, but as I said,I may have missed the previous post. Cow’s milk bought from your local grocery store, the stuff most of us and our kids drink/drank contains loads of sugar. The stuff I was buying had 12 grams of sugar per 8 oz. cup. When I cut waaaaayyyy back on my sugar consumption, milk was the first thing to go. And, boy, did I miss it. I literally went through milk withdrawal. It was by far the hardest thing for me to give up – even more so than pasta, bread, etc.

    I currently have been on a low-sugar regimen – as well as low-carb – for several years now, but am always in awe as to how much sugar some dairy products contain. Cottage cheese (another of my all time favorites) — the lo-fat stuff actually has more sugar per serving than the full fat variety has — who’d a thunk it?? Check the labels, people.

    The amount of sugar that store-bought yogurt and kefir contain is pretty well known, but I think that somehow plain ole cow’s milk doesn’t always seem as offensive sugar-wise. Also, half n’ half has sugar in it but heavy cream does not
    — go figure—-

    PrimalGrandma wrote on December 18th, 2013
  22. Hey I just remembered back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, when Los Angeles was home to huge dairy farms, I drank–and loved–fresh churned buttermilk. Ah, but places like Bellflower, Norwalk, and Santa Fe Springs were paved over long ago and fresh buttermilk cannot be had at any price.

    Corey B. (Long Beach, CA) wrote on December 18th, 2013
    • What a coincidence that I saw your post about Los Angeles dairy farms. My friends and I, who are from the area, were just pondering the question, “Which smelled the worst, the dairy farm, the duck farm, or the pickle factory?”

      Sorry for the non sequitur, just got a little excited about the long gone dairies of LA.

      Barb Crocker wrote on December 19th, 2013
  23. I’m not sure it’s relevant what an animal “will” eat. My cat’s favorite food is split pea soup! Humans are animals too and we will eat twinkies etc. It only shows we are opportunistic and versatile when it comes to survival…us and our pets.

    Danielle Thalman wrote on December 18th, 2013
  24. This is interesting, and it seems Mark is tempering his position on dairy. What I think would be more interesting is a detailed discussion of the way milk is processed. The process of “ultra-pasteurization” is something I’ve just recently found to be problematic. I always thought our organic, ultra-pasteurized milk was superior…both because it was “organic” and because it was “ultra-pasteurized”. Organic I get. But I just learned that ultra-pasteurization alters milk proteins in a way that makes the body view it as something requiring an immune response, which is what my body did.

    As for the benefits of whey…I’m becoming less sure about this one, too. I believe there are benefits to it, but I now believe there are hidden costs to its consumption.

    Bear wrote on December 18th, 2013
  25. I have RA, and the only two things that flare me up are wheat and stress. If I add back in even a small amount of wheat I have symptoms within a day. Milk products are fine with me, although I did show a mild allergy to dairy on a skin-scratch test at the allergist’s office. (Strangely, I don’t have any allergic reaction to consuming dairy products, though I have an asthma attack any time I eat corn – which I was told I was not allergic to by the allergist. I think those tests aren’t really that accurate. Luckily since I went Primal my asthma has almost disappeared, so I don’t have to worry about it much any more.)

    slb wrote on December 18th, 2013
  26. Claiming that we are the only animals that drink the milk of another species, so that must be weird, is like saying that we are the only species that eats cooked food, so that must be weird. Animals can’t cook because they don’t have hands. They can’t milk cows for the same reason. If they did, they might.

    Anna wrote on December 18th, 2013
  27. This is pretty cool. I wish everyone who does well with dairy and everyone who does badly with dairy would go back and say:

    “I’m Northern European and I do well with dairy”

    Maybe we could see a trend.

    Vanessa wrote on December 18th, 2013
  28. I used to have migraines on at least a weekly basis…. for years. Then, after stopping dairy completely, my migraines stopped….completely. One morning three months later, I woke up with a wicked migraine, wondering why…. it occurred to me that the pasta sauce I had eaten then night before had cream in it, which I confirmed when I called up the woman who made it the night before. In the 20 years since, without dairy in my diet all of this time,I have only had a handful of migraines, associated with other things–congestion, dehydration, too much sun. And I haven’t had a single one in now more than 10 years, and that associates with a fairly reliably dairy free diet. I can’t see myself going back to dairy products for the migraine risk any time soon. My kids still eat dairy, and they have migraines regularly…. one day they will suffer enough to consider the dairy free experiment!

    Oh, and yes, I lost 25 lbs in 6 weeks of starting my dairy free diet, most of which I have kept off for 20 years!

    Mark Fromberg wrote on December 18th, 2013
  29. I wasn’t aware that milk can be associated with cancer risk, though there is no clear evidence about it. But still I think it would ideal to not consume milk or dairy products on daily basis, instead include it in your meal occassionaly.

    Bharat wrote on December 18th, 2013
  30. I live in Switzerland, and you would be shocked to find out what a dairy based culture it is. People consume all sorts of dairy – yogurt, quark, cream, butter, cheese (mostly raw and fermented). And this is one of the healthiest nations in the world. (They eat loads of bread and potatoes too).

    I think it all depends on the dairy quality. You can easily find raw sour cream, raw butter and raw milk in organic shops here. But even the dairy in the supermarkets is superb quality. Cows are not given antibiotics and all that kind of stuff, and most of the time they eat grass (all regulated by law).

    I personally think that dairy should not be blames for all the health problems, it is also a question of personal intolerance.

    Kamola wrote on December 19th, 2013
    • I compeletly agree that it is all about the quality of the dairy as I expanded upon in my earlier comment.

      Melina wrote on December 19th, 2013
  31. I never really thought into milk that much… I’ve generally always been healthy without many health issues or anything so I didn’t think too much into it. Just thought milk was good for calcium like everyone always tells me!

    Having second thoughts now… better look into it more!

    Chloe Baker wrote on December 19th, 2013
  32. Too many comments to read them all, but I was suprised that I didnt see anyone talking about allergies/intolerances that are specific to each individual or even ethnic groups. I have recently been reading about how in different areas of the world different intolerances are more common due to traditional diets and genetic variances specific to a given area. Anyone know anyhting about this?

    Trey wrote on December 19th, 2013
  33. We’re the only species that drinks the milk of other mammals???

    So a lion kills a zebra that’s lactating, you think the lion would just avoid the part of the animal with milk because, what, it’s gross?

    Or a wolf kills a baby buffalo that’s just been nursing from its mother, and therefore has a stomach full of milk. Would a wolf not eat the stomach because it has milk in it?

    No, I’m pretty certain that predators in general eat most all of their prey, including the mammary tissue of a lactating animal, or a stomach that is filled with milk from nursing. And therefore they are consuming the milk of other animals.

    Greyson wrote on December 19th, 2013
  34. The Maasai are about as Grok as Grok gets, and to this day they subsist almost entirely on cow’s blood and milk. Just some milk-food for thought.

    Kramer wrote on December 19th, 2013
  35. All my favourite foods are dairy, couldn’t live wihout it.

    Lisa Being wrote on December 19th, 2013
  36. I don’t eat dairy simply because I have a fairly serious allergy to Casein… But I do MISS cheese!

    salixisme wrote on December 19th, 2013
  37. In the 70’s I had a chiropractor who was anti dairy.
    He said that, when we are weaned as infants our bodies cease to produce digestive enzymes necessary for milk.
    Also we lack four stomachs.
    I cannot keep the cheese away, but how I love SweetRiot 85 %
    Chocolate melted in almond milk and Stevia.

    Marjorie wrote on December 20th, 2013
  38. After 50 years of loving milk I have gotten lactose intolerant and have fecal incontinence with consumption of dairy or dairy based things. I didn’t realise that was the cause until I went on a diet and started buying the milkshake type diet drinks to substitute for meals. Then I went dairy free for a while and the fecal incontinence stopped. Every time I add in cow’s milk products _ except occasionally cheese _ I have it. So dairy free _ cow milk anyways _ now.. I like my goat cheese and yogurt now.

    Jessi wrote on December 21st, 2013
  39. Talk about a biased hack-job blogger. This blog just sinks to new lows. Ok, you’re vested in the diary industry, and will only see it one way. Stick to selling supplements, and stop pretending your some sort of science guy. You’re a cheap poser, borderline fraud.,

    Jack wrote on December 21st, 2013
    • Jack – I’d love to know what you’re basing this on. I’ve found his research to be sound and if new evidence comes to the fore, he’s adds it. As someone who avoided dairy forevah and now enjoys a bit of whole milk, homemade kefir, I’m curious what you’re pointing out as the “new low” here.

      Jess wrote on December 21st, 2013
  40. i do suffer from Rheumatoid arthritis as it runs in our family, and I used to notice my hips (my main suffering point) get much worse when eating a lot of beef. However, it was (for me at least) only really noticeable when I was also eating fair amounts of sugar, when I was younger. If I only eat beef and haven’t been also eating sugar, the hips seem just fine. (Sugar alone wasn’t as bad either, although still noticeable.)

    Jaren wrote on December 22nd, 2013

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