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

The Definitive Guide to Dairy

I knew going in this was going to be a tricky one, because dairy, especially raw and/or fermented full-fat dairy, resides in a Primal gray area. The literature, the evolutionary reasoning, and the anecdotal reports all unanimously point to sugar, cereal grains and legumes, processed foods, and industrial vegetable oils as being net negatives on the human metabolic spectrum, but dairy is somewhat different. The other Neolithic foodstuffs we can rule out because the science condemning them is fairly concrete and they weren’t on the menu 20,000 years ago. Heck, they weren’t just off the menu; they were basically unrecognizable as food in the raw state. Dairy, on the other hand, is a relatively recent food chronologically, but it is most assuredly and obviously a viable nutritive source in its raw form. It’s full of highly bioavailable saturated fat, protein, and carbs – in equal portions. You could conceivably survive on milk alone (I wouldn’t recommend it, but you could technically do it; try doing the same with honey or raw millet). Milk is baby fuel. It’s literally meant to spur growth and enable a growing body. Our bodies definitely recognize dairy as food, even foreign bovine dairy. But is it good nutrition?

I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone really does, in fact, which is why I place dairy firmly in Primal limbo. And so, this Definitive Guide to Dairy may come across as being a bit less than definitive, but that’s only because I’m being honest: we simply don’t know whether dairy is suitable for regular human consumption. Whether you include or exclude it from your diet, the decision must be borne from a review of the available literature (Cordain v. Weston Price, for example) with an assessment of the potential risks and benefits, followed by a personal assessment of dairy’s effect on your body (try it, then strictly eliminate it, and note the differences). If you’ve been eating dairy your entire life, your body doesn’t know anything else. In that case, you’ll want to fully drop it for at least a month to get an accurate assessment. Remember – pre-Primal, you probably “felt fine” eating grains and sugar every day. You may have to take the same approach if you really want to figure out what dairy does to you.

You could listen to Dr. Loren Cordain and other strict paleos who adamantly oppose all forms of it. They offer a number of reasons why dairy doesn’t belong in the human diet – mainly lactose intolerance and casein intolerance. Yet, the truth is,  lactose (a form of sugar) and casein (a form of protein) are both found in human breast milk, so each of us – and certainly every one of our ancestors – was not only able to tolerate but to thrive for some time during infancy depending on both of these “questionable” molecules. That’s the main thing that makes eliminating dairy a little less clear cut than eliminating grains and legumes. But let’s look a little closer at the intolerance issue.

Lactose Intolerance

The widespread presence of lactose intolerants, who still make up a majority of the world’s inhabitants, is somewhat compelling evidence that maybe dairy isn’t the ideal food many assume it to be. Worldwide, we see that most people aren’t adapted to lactose consumption after age four, when many of us lose the ability to properly digest lactose (actually gene expression for the enzymes involved in lactose digestion are down-regulated). Nevertheless, it would appear that among many people, most of whom can trace ancestry back to herding cultures, some adaptation has taken place that allows them to continue to effectively digest lactose throughout their lives. I would never argue that a lactose intolerant person should drink milk; if it makes you feel like crap, don’t eat it! At the same time, though, if that same person were to complain about getting enough fat in his or her diet, and olive oil and coconut oil weren’t cutting it, I would suggest incorporating some cream, butter, or ghee. Little to (in the case of ghee) no lactose to speak of, and you’d be hard pressed to come up with a better all-purpose cooking fat. Lactose intolerance won’t kill you if you ignore it. It’s actually pretty impossible to ignore rumbling guts, explosive diarrhea, cramps, and bloating, so I doubt the truly lactose intolerant will miss it.

Casein Intolerance

Casein is the primary protein in dairy. It shares structural similarities with gluten, a highly problematic grain protein that can shred the intestinal lining and lead to severe auto-immune issues. Bad, bad stuff, and a big reason why grains are so unhealthy. (And if you’re still not convinced that grains are unhealthy read this (PDF).) Now, paleo opponents of dairy say casein wreaks similar havoc on our guts, and it’s true that gluten intolerance goes hand-in-hand with casein intolerance. But is casein a primary cause of leaky gut, or does it slip in only after gluten has opened the floodgates? Once a floodgate is opened, any protein can enter and cause issues. And after all, casein is the primary protein in human breast milk…

Cancer

Cordain thinks milk leads to cancer, citing a fairly impressive array of studies that seem to suggest a link between milk consumption and various types of the disease. He fingers betacellulin, one of milk’s epidermal growth factors, as the causal agent. In the fetus and suckling newborn, betacellulin helps with growth and tissue differentiation. It’s completely essential for growing infants. In adults, Cordain says it passes cleanly into the gut, completely intact and free to enter circulation, where it can bind to receptors and enhance cancer cell growth. What Cordain doesn’t mention is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is also found in milk fat (especially raw, grass-fed milk, which is never included in any study) and has been shown to possess anti-cancer effects by inhibiting breast cancer cell growth and reducing the activation of insulin-like growth factor receptors (the same receptors Cordain identifies as sensitive to betacellulin). The studies Cordain cites as support of the milk-cancer connection are interesting, but their messages are muddled. As Chris Masterjohn points out, milk proteins mostly appear harmful only when separated from their natural fat. Low fat and skim milk appear to have associations with certain cancers (like prostate), while whole milk appears protective (of colorectal cancer) or neutral. It would be nice to see researchers take a good, long look at full-fat, pastured dairy’s effects on cancer rates. Conventional milk consumption probably isn’t advisable, but the jury’s still out on whether raw, pastured, whole milk is also problematic. We need more data.

Insulin Response

Milk is highly insulinogenic, more than most carbohydrate sources. We’re all aware of the dangers of chronically elevated insulin levels, but that’s also what makes milk such a popular post-workout recovery drink. If you’re insulin sensitive following a tough strength training session, milk’s insulin response can be an effective way to shuttle in protein and glycogen. I don’t do it myself, because I like to fast post-workout (and I don’t like the taste of regular milk) but some people swear by it. This is just speculation, but perhaps the potentially negative effects of milk are negated by the post-workout internal environment (starved muscles, depleted glycogen, insulin-sensitive tissue). Or perhaps those powerlifters are slowly but surely eroding their gut lining. To be on the safe side, maybe limit your milk drinking to immediately post-workout if you’re going to drink it at all.

There isn’t a whole lot of consensus on the subject. People with whom I normally agree on everything regarding nutrition have completely different takes on dairy. Some MDA forum goers report no ill effects, while others complain of joint pain and clogged sinuses from consuming even a single ounce of dairy. More than any other food, dairy seems to be entirely subjective. There is no “one size fits all” approach to it. To be on the safe side and to go “full Primal,” you would technically eliminate it completely, but that may be unnecessary for a relatively large number of people.

In a strange way, this entire blog is just a detailed, science-based map of my own personal journey augmented with anecdotes and experiments from others on similar, but slightly divergent, paths. Much of what I write is founded in science but based on my experiences, and this particular post is no different. When things are gray and murky and the science is unclear and far from definitive, I generally go with anecdote and personal, n=1 experimentation. Personally (and, in a way, this entire blog is just a detailed map of my own personal journey), regular dairy doesn’t generally agree with me. I don’t buy or drink milk. Having said that, I’m a big fan of heavy cream in my coffee and butter in my eggs (and on my steaks and vegetables). I like a nice thick yogurt sauce on lamb, and occasionally either Greek yogurt or fresh whipped cream with berries for dessert. I even have a bit of artisan cheese once in a while. It works for me. I don’t get cramps or gas, and I don’t get leaky gut symptoms from casein alone (gluten is another thing altogether). I’d say, on average, I consume at least one dairy item each day (usually butter), but that’s not a hard and fast rule.

As I mentioned in my book, I think there’s a continuum, a cascading scale of suitability when it comes to dairy. It’s not all created equal.

Raw, fermented, full-fat dairy is probably best.

Tons of traditional, fairly disease-free groups lived with dairy (just as tons of traditional, fairly disease-free groups lived without it), and they all included some form of fermented or cultured product. Cultured butter, yogurt, kefir, clotted milk, cheese – these are traditional ways of increasing shelf life, improving digestibility, and incorporating beneficial probiotics into the gut. Fermentation takes care of most of the lactose, and some posit that it may even positively alter the structure, function, and safety of casein.

Raw, high-fat dairy is next.

Raw butter and cream are minimally processed sources of good saturated fat. They’re free of most lactose and casein, and let’s face it: butter and cream just make everything taste better. If it’s essentially just pure, raw animal fat from grass-fed animals, without offensive levels of milk proteins and sugars, what’s not to enjoy? Ghee is another good choice, and though it technically isn’t raw, it is pure animal fat without a trace of lactose or casein.

Then raw milk.

I don’t advise regular consumption of raw milk, mind you, but if you can tolerate it (no stomach upset, no bloating, no gas, no intestinal issues) an occasional glass is probably OK as a sensible vice. Some farms will even supplement their raw milk with colostrum (the extra rich, “first run” milk that provides even more vitamins and nutrients), resulting in a lower-carb, higher-fat, higher-protein product. Look for that stuff if you’re thinking of buying raw milk.

Organic, hormone and antibiotic-free dairy (full fat, of course).

Bottom line: don’t consume non-organic dairy if you can help it. Avoid homogenized milk if you can, and try not to purchase pasteurized milk (organic or not) on a regular basis. If you’re out getting coffee or something, the regular half and half or heavy cream are fine, and Kerrygold makes a great pastured, pasteurized butter that’s available nationwide.

Other things to consider:

A2 Milk versus A1 Milk

Milk proteins are made up of different beta-caseins, which vary between cow breeds. There are two main categories of beta-casein: A1 and A2, each with different effects. A1 cows (Holsteins and Friesians) produce A1 beta-caseins, which release an opioid-like chemical upon digestion. This chemical, called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM7), is a protein fragment that figures into the joint pains, digestive issues, and leaky gut symptoms that detractors typically blame on just casein. A2 cows (Jerseys and Gurnseys), on the other hand, produce A2 beta-casein, which has been vindicated. Raw, pastured milk tends to come from Jersey and Gurnsey cows; Holsteins and Friesians produce far more milk and so are used by conventional, factory dairy farmers. The Masai, for example, have A2 cattle.

Goat

Goat dairy is another option, with more fat (that’s never homogenized, even when pasteurized), less casein, less lactose, and fewer digestive issues. Structurally and nutritionally, goat milk is one of the closer corollaries to human breast milk, making it arguably more suitable for human consumption than cow’s milk.

In the end, is there a definitive stamp of Primal approval, or Primal disapproval? I just can’t go either way. Sometimes, the correct path is to admit that you simply don’t know. You can read all the blogs you want, pour over every comment, follow every link, and pontificate about every hunter-gatherer group on the planet, but if you don’t try things out for yourself – either by trying certain dairy products or by eliminating them and noting the effects – it’s all just speculation and hearsay. In the murky, milky world of dairy, it’s up to you to decide your ideal path.

Tell me about your experiences. Is dairy part of your Primal eating strategy? If so, what (butter, milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.) and how much?

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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. Hi Erin, glad to help. Could not find where your post was in the maze so I have just added it to the bottom. Hope that you will get it :)

    I had exactly the same problem as you! My husband is also dairy intolerant and was drinking copious amounts of soy milk. I finally managed to change him to organic coconut milk. This may be a bit rich on it’s own but I water it down a little when I am going to use it for my protein shakes and my husband now loves it in his organic coffee and hot raw cocoa. Because it is thick and rich you do not need as much when using it this way. He is now almost addicted to it :) and so am I. It took us a week or two to get used to it but now we feel absolutely decadent each time we sit down to our rich drinks containing coconut milk. They are so much more satisfying and delicious.
    Hope this helps. I have tried all sorts of other alternatives and this is the only one we were not only happy with in the end, but are now actually enjoying more than what we were having before.

    Angelina wrote on July 26th, 2010
    • Ha, look at that, it added it under your post anyway :)
      Organic coconut cream is also good in a hot cuppa :)

      Angelina wrote on July 26th, 2010
      • Oo, thanks Angelina! Coconut milk sounds like a great idea. I’ll definitely pick some up when I go to the store. Some for me too, probably!

        Erin wrote on July 27th, 2010
  2. I use low fat cottage cheese and Faye Yogurt (a Greek brand very low in carbs and high in protein) as great sources of protein. I’ve read that it is probably better to consume them in the evening before sleeping because of the slow breakdown properties of the casein, but I often use them at breakfast. As for milk, I love it, but have to LIMIT it significantly because of the high sugar content. I’ve reached the point where I’ll only drink milk during my carb refeeding periods. Other times, I drink UNsweetened Organic Soy Milk. Not the same, I know, but it works for me.

    Bob Mass wrote on August 11th, 2010
  3. @ Icarus: hahahahahaha

    @ Angelina: can you tell me what brand of coconut milk and coconut cream you use? I have been using the “So Delicious” brand (unsweetened). It’s sold in the refrigerated case but only in select stores and only in half gallon size, which I sometimes can’t use before it goes south. It is also pricey. I wonder if I can use canned coconut milk (I like the smaller size) or if there are other brands. I know there are some asceptic coconut milks but every one I’ve seen has other ingredients. I only want pure coconut milk, with maybe just a little water in it.

    darc wrote on August 26th, 2010
  4. I’ve been drinking homemade kefir for months now, and I plan on sticking with it indefinitely. The kefir grains are cute little things; I haven’t named them yet, but I’m definitely attached to them X)

    I make 1 cup of raw milk kefir every day. When I don’t feel like paying for raw milk, or driving out to get it, I get store-bought pasteurized and homogenized milk, and usually get some heavy cream to add to the culturing process. I actually prefer the texture and possibly even the taste of pasteurized-homogenized milk kefir; I’m aware of the many possible health consequences, with the lack of enzymes to help digest the milk, and the xanthine oxidase and arterial scarring issue, but I’m obsessing a lot less about it lately. And I think that kefir-grain cultured store-bought milk is infinitely superior to fresh store-bought milk — maybe it isn’t a cure-all, but I absolutely believe that the kefir grains make the milk much more digestible and probably compensate for a lot of the problems with store-bought milk.

    *Note: I went down to 1 cup of kefir daily from 2 cups, because 2 cups a day of raw milk kefir is too expensive for me. In a lot of ways I think this works out: less carbs, keeping any potential issues with dairy consumption to a minimum, and also REALLY enjoying that daily glass of kefir — having less makes it feel a lot more special, very much like a delicacy.

    As for other dairy products: I occasionally have butter, cheese, and yogurt. I always get plain yogurt, and one benefit of eating plain yogurt that I’ve found is really finding an appreciation for the sour flavor. Sweetening it takes away from the refreshing, cooling sour flavor, and since I’ve been eating plain yogurt on an occasional basis, I’ve really come to appreciate its flavor. Kind of like how I eat unsweetened baking chocolate squares, and no longer have any urges to eat sweetened chocolate. The bitter, earthy flavor is just amazing to me, and the sweetened stuff doesn’t even compare since I’ve stopped going for sugared stuff.

    I’ll have two or four pieces of dried fruit, e.g. two prunes and two figs, or just two prunes, and some berries in plain yogurt. That allows the natural, refreshing sour flavor of yogurt to come through, and the natural sweet flavor of fruit to kind of mesh with it without running over or diminishing it.

    And I LOVE it!

    I also make “kefir cream” by culturing pasteurized heavy cream (1 cup) with spare kefir grains for 24-36 hours, then removing the grains (I usually eat them after that) and refrigerating it. It’s got an amazing texture, and I also love mashing it up with canned tuna and mixing in some kelp or dulse granules. It’s fantastic. I also love having hard cheese with that tuna mash; throw in a salad or some cooked spinach and it’s one of my favorite meals.

    I also enjoy, for an occasional higher-carb dessert, sweet potato mashed with 1/2 to 1 banana, 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw honey, and 2 – 3 tablespoons of hot, melted butter with a generous helping of cinnamon, all mashed up. Coconut oil is very good with this, but I prefer the butter.

    And every once in a while I just have a banana with butter. Bananas are fantastic with a heaping spoonful of coconut oil, but the butter has a unique flavor too that’s worth trying out.

    So really, I love dairy. I think it’s best appreciated in smaller doses, like many other things in life — I appreciate it more, and it’s much easier to keep a balance going. Barring every other aspect of dairy, fresh milk does have a pretty good amount of carbohydrates, and downing a quart a day would make it incredibly difficult to eat a primal diet that stayed within the low-carb boundaries. 1 cup of kefir does it for me, or a bowl of yogurt with fruit — I’d be more willing to use butter and cheese more liberally if I was just looking at carbs, but they’re very unique flavors and textures that I think work best in moderation.

    As a last note, the price for quality dairy is also pretty prohibitive, whether it’s grass-fed butter or cheese or yogurt, or raw Jersey or goat milk. For me, 1 cup daily of raw milk is about my limit for what I can afford. I think it works out best for my health as well as my wallet, and I’m all for that ;D (that’s saying nothing of my mood and tastebuds, too…)

    Matt wrote on September 23rd, 2010
  5. I eat dairy because I’m on welfare (I’m disabled) and it’s cheap. Meat isn’t, so I’ve got to get my fats and protein somehow, and dairy’s the only way. Shame I’m in the UK and raw/unpasturised’s difficult to come by, but there you go. Nowt I can do about that!

    Sarah wrote on October 6th, 2010
    • I get whole chicken at the local farm, $5/lb, and whole milk there $10/gal. I get a carton of unrefrigerated eggs there, $5/doz. There are various fruit or veges too, $3/bag. I’m not sure how that works out for price as to protein/fat comparison, one food to the other. I don’t know the dole in the UK. Do they give you cash, check, stamps, coupons, tokens or a card? I doubt the farm I go to could accept anything but cash, they’re always busy working with the animals and land, I can’t imagine them at a bank. What’s your diet like?

      RawZi wrote on October 7th, 2010
  6. What about lactose free milk? Sorry if it was covered, but way too many posts before bedtime! thanks!

    Dave wrote on October 25th, 2010
  7. what your opinion about lactose free milk? sorry if it was already covered…looked over, but couldn’t find anything. thanks!

    Dave wrote on October 25th, 2010
  8. My wife is purebred Norwegian and absolutely loves milk, she drinks an organic lightly pasteurized un-homogenized glass bottled milk; about half a liter+ a day especially at dinner time.

    I think being un-homogenized is most important besides being organic. Before I married I dated several black women from Haiti and Kenya and all of them boiled their milk before they drank it, both in preparing it with tea and at night mixed with wild honey. They thought it was strange to drink “cold” milk.

    I myself prefer Kefir. My wife and I have been living in Europe since 2006, I don’t really drink “cold” milk but when I lived in the States I couldn’t tolerate the milk there at all, over here dairy is a different story as far as quality and while the lactose doesn’t bother me the least bit I can always feel the insulin spike which is why I usually only drink organic Kefir and warm milk w/ no problems.

    I would like to clear one thing up though, there is a rumor that EU countries have great access to raw milk, that’s not the case it’s just like in the States; you have to goto a certified farmer or the private store the farmer owns. You can definitely get un-homogenized milk though and also cheeses and butters made from raw unpasteurized milk but not actual milk. Every single person I’ve asked about unpasteurized milk here has given me your an idiot look.

    My great grandmother from Okinawa is 104 and her daughter (my grandma) is 81 or 2 and they drink warm milk.

    Motobu Samurai wrote on October 26th, 2010
  9. I’ve been drawn to Paleo and reading health info since my celiac dx in 2006 (Hashimoto’s dx 1996 & fibro self-dx 2006). I read something new (well, lots is new to me) I want to share, and Mark has an intelligent blog entry soon after, scooping my gem of a find. Now when I want to share info with the family (or anyone who’ll listen), I share blog links from here instead of bothering to write something up. Keep up the great work, Mark (I first “met” you on Doug Kauffman’s show).

    My experience with dairy:

    I went 100% gluten free but using gf substitute processed products for my old mainstream diet (heavy on the grains & legumes, not-so-much on the protein. I don’t “like” meat, plus daily salads and fruit). Gained 22 lbs because I had to learn about blood glucose.

    Went to pretty-much Paleo, but with dairy, sometimes legumes because when I’m doing errands in town I need quick food, and I’d eat Wendy’s chili – it always hit the spot. Yes, I carry gf bars, apples, and nuts, but wanted something warm.

    Have had heart palpitations for 20+ yrs. Kept thinking it was the calcium in my daily Greek or organic plain full-fat yogurt- ask the cardiologist, who said, “Nope.” It feels like my heart’s doing summersaults when I go to bed. (Wore the holter monitor, etc.) – doc only wanted to put me on beta-blockers. I said, “Nope.”

    I eat butter (sometimes organic, sometimes not) – never had opportunity for raw. Sometimes I’ll have organic coconut oil. No milk for years, gave up pasteurized half & half in coffee around April (difficult!). Gave up coffee because w/out half & half it’s too acidic/gross. Coconut milk doesn’t cut it for me. It’s a morning ritual I miss.

    All this time I’m reading on how to help my fibro pain. GF diet and vitamin supplements (Bs and D, omega-3s for sure) helped 80%. I still can’t sleep well (though better), which produces more pain. I keep reading, and what I keep seeing is to give up dairy. I read Campbell’s The China Study in 2007 and tried asking him about gluten and gut health in Jimmy Moore’s Amazon thread, but he conveniently ignored my questions. I chose to not believe him about his dairy studies. I LOVE my yogurt and butter. Oh, and parmesan – hmm.

    I went to a naturopathic doc’s seminar about gluten, and he said for gut health: no gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugars .. and more. That dairy thing is nagging me.

    I took a Genova leaky gut test after 4 yrs gluten-free and I’m STILL a bit leaky! Dang.

    I took a urinary neurotransmitter test this summer, and what stuck out is that I have high glutamates (low serotonin & a mixture of other stuff). The naturopathic doc told me to not have MSG. I don’t usually (‘cept on some salad dressing at Panera once in a blue moon). So, I starting reading. We know of glutamates because of people with MSG sensitivity. However, there are “free glutamates” in our favorite foods: hello dairy (esp parmesan)! hello wheat! hello tomatoes (my second name – lol).

    I had a heart attack in May. I researched like crazy why this’d be. I caught a podcast interview (J. Moore) w/Ron Rosedale. He said saturated fat prevents energy from getting into the cell (my interpretation). I’d been omega-3 free for 6 weeks cause I’d done a serum allergy test (was in the middle of ‘challenging’ that I was allergic to “sardines.” I was not allergic to gluten or caseine, btw. I should have tried krill, but I was depressed and never got around to it).

    The day before my heart attack I’d eaten double my usual 1400 calories. I ate a stick of butter (on popcorn) – being honest here. 😛 I’d kept reading how fat was used for energy or something, and I’m trying to lose weight. I ran a 5K with little or no energy and next day had classic symptoms: chest pressure and left arm band pain. Btw, no heart damage and clean heart cath. $26k billed, ins pd $13k, I pd $650 and got a big wake-up for my food errors. My TC: 206, HDL 49, LDL 142, Tri’s 75, fwiw.

    Interestingly, my CK level was up (creatinine kinase is a muscle breakdown marker – my interpretation. I had it tested when my legs were not worked out and in recovery/pain in the past, and it was in range). I knew it would be elevated because my “fibro” legs were killing me (that’s the other 20% of my fibro pain: in my hams and quads after heavier exercise).

    So, I read ANOTHER fibro article telling me to give up gluten (& yeast which I don’t have anyway), DAIRY, additives, caffeine!, yada.

    In four days after giving up dairy (HARD!), my depression lifted (didn’t realize it was that bad, I wasn’t moping), I had more energy, my HEART palpitations were MUCH MUCH better (still have a niggle once in a while, but I’m a bit hyper w/my thyroid meds right now), and I’m sleeping better.

    I think I’m a canary of some sort. No dairy for me, but I still miss yogurt like crazy. Addict?! Likely yes. High glutamates and opioids are addictive and neurotoxic. My father has Alzheimer’s and is a big bread and milk man (also alcoholic). He won’t listen, but I am. I’m not going down his road without a fight.

    Also, I was osteopenic in 2006. With Paleo, yogurt & butter dairy, and walking I gained almost 9% in bone back in 4 yrs. I think the walking did it, as the gain was in my spine (which didn’t hurt). My other bones remained the same. My hips would hurt me (so I expected my results to indicate something, which they didn’t), and when I gave up dairy, they don’t anymore.

    I read “The Vitamin D Cure” in 2008 I think, he suggests a more alkaline diet, too. Dairy is acidic. Just eat more alkaline than acid foods (meat, dairy, legumes, grains).

    I just retested my neurotransmitters and will get results in a few weeks. I will retest leaky gut soon. I will start working out my other muscles now that my fibro pain is better, too (now only my quads hurt after jogging, not hams AND quads – and that pain has lessened). I have lost 75 lbs and have another 60 to go. I lost 25 after the heart attack and giving up dairy.

    SOrrY this is so long. I always appreciate reading other people’s experiences.

    dotslady wrote on November 7th, 2010
    • Hi dotslady
      Please do not apologize for the long post. I found it very interesting. I have had very similar experiences (especially with the heart attack) and I am also very interested in hearing how those test results turn out in a few weeks time.
      Please continue your story :)

      Kitty wrote on November 7th, 2010
      • Followup on my progress:
        The neurotransmitter test after giving up dairy: increased seretonin (still “just” under normal range) – encouraging, as serotonin will help my fibro pain.

        Lactulose-mannitol urine Leaky Gut retest after giving up all dairy except butter: better, but still leaky.

        Months later I took Cyrex Labs’ new intestinal permeability test while still on butter: LEAKY and getting GLUTEN somewhere *shock*.

        Did Cyrex Labs’ cross-reactive foods test: was positive for barley, quinoa (never eat it, so maybe it’s from cross-contamination w/other gf grains such as gf oats, buckwheat or corn – gf Bakery on Main granola has corn), buckwheat was equivocal (I eat it occasionally, again in granola), and “MILK BUTRYOPHILIN”. MILK BUTRYOPHILIN is a protein associated with dairy fat (ie my BUTTER!). If I’d eaten any other dairy my guess it’d have been positive, too.

        What’s “milk butryophilin?” It’s implicated in demyelination of the myelin sheath in Multiple Sclerosis (you can google).

        The barley source was from a “gf” “20ppm” probiotic from Garden of Life (Primal Defense!). I’m off that probiotic, butter, buckwheat for sure. I hope w/out the buckwheat I can overcome the quinoa cause I don’t know where it’s coming from.

        I still have quad/ham pain, but am trying to increase alkaline foods and do an elimination diet to figure out other offending foods til my gut’s healed.

        I’ve only lost another 10 lbs so far, but my head’s still in the game.

        dotslady wrote on July 7th, 2011
  10. Two things that made giving up dairy much more tolerable for me were Hempmilk (but be sure to get the unsweetened kind) and almond cheese (again, read the label carefully, some brands include rice as a filler). Basically, I learned to always bring my reading glasses to the market.

    Robin Beers wrote on November 22nd, 2010
  11. Ok, I HAVE to say this, because I keep reading people’s posts saying “I drink dairy all the time and never had an issue/I grew up on dairy/dairy is good”

    Honestly, so did I. I grew up on skim, big glass for lunch and dinner every day because mom didn’t want us to get fat and because we “want strong bones”! No one wants osteoporosis right? Especially women.

    Without a huge post, here’s what I can tell you. I’ve always been pretty sick, and two years ago, found out I had celiac disease (gluten free diet needed). After taking out gluten, I started feeling much better, but progressively fell ill again. I started looking at other foods and after I battled it out one night with a little cup of chocolate pudding, I realized it was worse. Tried lactose free diet with the pills in questionable foods, and still sick. Found out it was a reaction to casein.

    Since then, I’ve learned an extensive amount about how BAD dairy is for you. For all above who say “it’s good because I like it”/don’t have problems with it/”because I can”/ or better yet, my favorite “I drink it because I don’t care what you say” who told you it was good? Milk commercials? Who funded those? “because you can”? Who said that was good? Our bodies can (well, mine can’t… anymore… but bodies without gi stress can) TOLERATE dairy. Doesn’t mean they should. [ex. our bodies can tolerate smoking.. doesn’t mean we should be doing it!] You’re still putting substances into your body it would rather not have. All of the “good” things found in milk/dairy can be found in other products. I take a calcium pill daily. Vuala! Strong bones, no milk!

    Since I am no scientist though, it’s just my word, so here’s another general overview on milk: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/why-you-should-avoid-milk

    a website with MANY articles on specific points and arguments against milk (the ones I’ve read are all from creditable sources as well)

    And there are a TON of books on the dangers of milk/dairy. Please, I really ask that everyone who even believes milk to be “great” to really look into the topic more.
    Ps. Soy milk should generally be avoided, as there is soy in SO much we already eat, that adding too much to your diet can have negative consequences and also could lead to an intolerance… which would cut out a LOT of foods you’d be able to eat. Try Coconut milk for a fattier option, or rice or almond milks, depending on your diet.

    Christie wrote on December 27th, 2010
    • Hi Christie, totally agree with you. I had the same problems. Giving up milk also got rid of my constant migraines. Soy was also bad for me. I wish I had known sooner about soy because it caused my thyroid to become sluggish and now I have been battling with hypothyroidism for the last two years. It’s a lot harder to recover from. I now drink coconut milk and cream.

      Kitty wrote on December 27th, 2010
  12. oops forgot that second link.

    Here’s the one with many articles on specific points on milk, arguing that milk is in fact bad.

    http://www.notmilk.com/

    I should also mention, this is not the ONLY sources I used to come to this conclusion, that milk is bad… but just ones with broad sources and types of information

    Christie wrote on December 27th, 2010
  13. I’m lactose intolerant to a certain extent but I’ve found it depends on what kind of milk products I eat, and how much of it.

    I’ve found I can eat 3/4 of a pound of low fat cottage cheese per day with no problem but if I eat 1 1/2 pounds of it, whoa nelly …

    Sensitivity varies greatly among individuals, you just have to figure out where to draw the line. Some milk products effect me much more than others. If I cross the line it’s like Hiroshima in my intestines.

    Greek yogurt seems like the new tofu to me, I remember when tofu became popular I used to make sandwiches out of it, tofu was the new hotness, now it’s old and busted and Greek yogurt is the new hotness .. with the benefit of hindsight I should have given tofu a pass and I’m giving Greek yogurt a pass now, in a couple of years people will have moved on to something else, maybe Yak’s milk.

    rob wrote on December 27th, 2010
  14. Hmmmn… as to the casein in breast milk, if the mother does not have casein in her diet, the breast milk will not contain casein.

    Divesha Essa wrote on January 13th, 2011
    • This is not actually true. Mothers’ milk always contains some casein, but not the specific casein in cows’ milk unless she’s drinking it. Human milk is also lower in casein and higher in whey protein than cows’ milk.

      Sheila wrote on January 31st, 2011
  15. Nice post. Last Month I found this site and wanted to let you know that I have been gratified, going through your site’s pages. I shall be signing up to your RSS feed and will wait for your next post. Cheers, Carol

    Ling Poudrier wrote on January 25th, 2011
  16. When you mean “scrutinize” it’s “pore,” not “pour.”

    This is one of the articles of yours that I agree with the most.

    On the subject of milk substitutes, I enjoy the taste of soy milk, but learned several months ago that consuming a large amount of soy that has NOT been fermented inhibits the body’s ability to digest certain proteins.

    Coconut milk I can see as being available and utilized, but I wonder if almond or rice milk can be considered paleo?

    Jess wrote on January 30th, 2011
  17. Calcium is a potent down-regulator of Vitamin D production in the human body. This is one of the reasons to be carefull with raw milk from the cow. You will hurt yourself drinking it in the long run.

    alchemist wrote on February 4th, 2011
  18. I see the ‘dairy causes a disproportionate insulin response’ argument pretty frequently, but have never seen a citation. Does anybody have a link to the study(s) showing this? I’m very curious about the procedures used and dairy items tested. I don’t see how the Masai could be the shining examples of health that they are purported to be since they should all be hyperinsulemic given the amount of milk they consume.

    Tim wrote on February 14th, 2011
  19. Thanks for doing the research on this tricky topic.

    I’m of the same mind to use myself as a guinea pig when it comes to food, and have been doing so for decades.

    When it comes to dairy, it does give me some congestion in big doses, but far less than when I consuming grain.

    I have been imbibing in moderation up til a recent discovery of a peanut allergy, which was giving me heart palpitations and shortness of breath,usually kicked off by workouts.

    Eating cheese, cottage cheese, and some yogurt has replaced some of my nut consumption, since all nuts are suspect now. I plan to re-introduce seeds in their place.

    I am concerned about the potential cancer causing aspect, and raw milk is not readily available. I may have to do some extra legwork to source out raw dairy products.

    They are a bit of a comfort in a dietary world where I don’t eat half of what everyone around me eats, and I sometimes feel deprived. 😉

    Mark Cool wrote on March 4th, 2011
    • 1. peanuts are legumes; not nuts. Perhaps it is your dairy intake that caused your peanut allergy through inducing a leaky gut.
      2. cancer risk may be tied to the opioids found in dairy products
      3. if most humans are lactose intolerant after age 5, then maybe we should be weaned before that time

      Ron wrote on March 4th, 2011
  20. Interesting approach! I have been 100% gluten free for 3+ years and I am still completely casein intolerant. If the “floodgates” are opened with gluten, do you think there is a way to “close” them?

    Cort Caldwell wrote on March 6th, 2011
    • Larazotide is currently an experimental drug that should be on the market sometime soon. It might do the trick. Otherwise, I suspect that your reaction to casein is here to stay. In addition to the increased intestinal permeability it causes, casein contains 8 separate opioid sequences that are both comforting and addictive. Only 5 opioid sequences have been found in gluten proteins. Unlike Mark’s depiction of Dr. Cordain, I suspect that the opioids in dairy are what aid the development of cancers. Opioids and opiates down-regulate natural killer cells which are the body’s first line of defense against most cancer cell lines.

      Ron wrote on March 7th, 2011
  21. What is the connection between leaky gut and an allergic reaction that includes heart racing, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and being hot?

    I’m having it this morning after laying off nuts for a week or two, then having some almonds this morning.

    The woman @ Whole Foods said that the almonds were not processed in a facility that precesses peanuts. Blue Diamond she said. Isn’t that a big company?

    Mark Cool wrote on March 7th, 2011
  22. Please help is A2 good for you? I read somewhere it is good for those who have loads of mucous and sinus issues but is it better than raw milk? Does anyone have an answer?

    Tracy wrote on April 6th, 2011

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