We’ve been hearing for years that milk does your body good, but does it really? With all of the different information available, it’s hard to know what to believe. So, we’ve complied some information about cow’s milk, its components and the effects that it may be having on your body. Every kind of milk, whether it is human, cow, dog, elephant, or camel, etc is formulated to meet the specific growth needs of its young. For example there is a big difference between human babies and calves. Cow’s milk is 15% protein while human milk is 5-7% protein. Additionally, it takes about 45 days for a calf to double its birth weight and about 180 days for a human infant to double its birth weight. Humans are the only mammals that consume milk after infancy AND from a different species!
Cow’s milk’s main draw is that it contains calcium and will keep you and your bones strong and healthy. Well, there are many other calcium rich sources such as leafy greens that can keep you and your bones strong and healthy without consuming dairy products. Other draws for consuming cow’s milk are fortified Vitamin D, B, vitamins and water. The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D, this combined with a balanced diet with all of the essential nutrients that are said to be found in milk. Taking a multi vitamin is another wonderful way of ensuring that your body is receiving all of the essential nutrients. Additionally, cow’s milk contains large amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, which many doctors recommend cutting out of your diet.
What’s in your milk? In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (also known as rBGH, BGH, BST and rBST). This hormone is a genetically engineered copy of a naturally occurring hormone produced by cows. It is injected into cows in order to increase their milk production, by up to 10 to 30%.
Cows injected with rBGH produce milk that contains high levels of IGF-1. IGF-1 is a powerful naturally occurring growth hormone found in the blood of humans and cows. The IGF-1 in cow’s milk is chemically identical to that of humans, and can pass into the human bloodstream. Usually, when IGF-1 is consumed, it is broken down in the stomach, however the presence of casein in cow’s milk prevents the breakdown. Studies have shown that humans with elevated levels of IGF-1 may be prone to cancer. rGBH is manufactured as Posilac by Monsanto and is quite controversial. Possible side effects in humans include production of elevated levels of insulin growth, premature growth stimulation in infants, breast growth in young children, increased risk of breast and colon cancer and other health issues. Additionally, the FDA requires that a warning insert be in every package of this artificial hormone. Based on pre-approval testing, this insert lists serious dairy cow maladies that can result from its use such as virulent mastitis infections (udder infections), which commonly require stronger and increased treatments with antibiotics, severe reproductive problems, digestive disorders, foot and leg ailments, and persistent sores and lacerations. Additionally, due to the increased amount of milk produced, this hormone places a great deal of stress on the animal and can shorten its life span. The FDA also admits that milk produced with the growth hormone can contain increased amounts of pus and bacteria.
Milk may also contain the antibiotics that are given to the cow (increased amounts due to rGBH’s side effects), which can be absorbed by humans when consumed. This potentially allows bacteria that may be harmful to humans to be more resistant to these antibiotics. This means that when antibiotics are prescribed for an illness, they may not be as effective as they should be.
This hormone has NOT been approved in any other country besides the United States, although applications have been made in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. All of these countries have turned down the applications and have banned rGBH in their countries. Additionally, studies have claimed that nearly 80% of milk comes from pregnant cows, which means that the milk being consumed contains elevated amounts of hormones produced by the pregnant cow.
Cow’s Milk Components:
Water – Cow’s milk is made up of approximately 88% water. This is easily replaced in a human diet by just consuming more water.
Protein – Cow’s milk contains about 3 or 4% protein, which is made up of casein and whey. Casein and whey are the two leading milk allergy sources.
Fat – The fat content listed on the packaging for cow’s milk is by weight, not calories. So, that means that 2% milk actually gets 35% of its calories from fat. Also, the fat found in milk is mostly saturated fat. Saturated fat is not the heart healthy fat and consumption should be reduced.
Carbohydrates (Lactose) – Approximately 5% of milk is sugar, which is lactose. Millions of people worldwide have difficulties digesting lactose. Some studies have even found that a glass of milk contains half the sugar found in a soda.
Vitamins – There are two types of vitamins found in cow’s milk, water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. The water-soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and B. Most of the Vitamin C and B is weakened or destroyed in pasteurization, so milk is not considered a very good source of either. Cow’s milk also contains Vitamins A, D and E. These vitamins are removed with fat to make reduced fat, low fat and non-fat milks. Dairy farmers are then required to fortify these milks with Vitamin A and Vitamin D. The problem with this is these moderate to high intakes of Vitamin A are believed to interfere with Vitamin D’s positive effects. Minerals – Minerals found in cow’s milk are phosphorous and calcium. These two minerals need to maintain a balance in the human body, because when there is an abundance of one, it depletes the other. Carbonated drinks and processed foods contain a lot of phosphorus, which make up a lot of Western diets and is problematic. Additionally, some of the soluble calcium found in milk is reduced during the pasteurization process. Since phosphorous and calcium are supposed to be balanced in the human body in order to be most effective, increased rates of phosphorous deplete the already decreased amounts of calcium. Fortunately, there are many other sources abundant in calcium such as soy milk, leafy greens, beans, grains, nuts and seeds and various vegetables.
Diseases and Problems Linked to Cow’s Milk
Milk contains 25 different molecules with potential to cause an allergic reaction, placing it among the top eight food allergies. The two parts of milk that most commonly lead to an allergic reaction are casein and whey. Casein is the curd that forms when milk is left to sour. It is the principal protein in milk, which coagulates with the addition of rennin and is the foundation for cheese. Whey is the watery part that is left after the curd is removed. Studies have estimated that up to 2 to 7.5% of infants are allergic to cow’s milk. Although many children will outgrow this allergy, it still leaves approximately 4.5 million people in the US with a milk allergy. Additionally, adults can develop an allergy to milk without any previous problems. Learn more.
Studies have claimed that approximately 1 in 6 Americans are lactose intolerant! Lactose is the primary carbohydrate in milk products and is also known as milk sugar. Lactose breaks down into glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream with the assistance of lactase. Many people have a shortage of lactase, which makes them unable to properly digest the lactose that they consume. It has been estimated that 70% of the world’s population is lactase deficient and at risk for the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Learn more.
The American Cancer Society points out that “about one-third of the 500,000 cancer deaths that occur in the United States each year is due to dietary factors.” Although they recognize that no diet can guarantee full protection against any disease, “we believe that our recommendations offer the best nutrition information currently available to help Americans reduce their risk of cancer.” The Society’s top two recommendations are: “1. Choose most of the foods you eat from plant sources”; and “2. Limit your intake of high-fat foods, particularly from animal sources.” Learn more.
The US has the highest rate of Crohn’s Disease as well as an epidemic of a similar disease, Johne’s disease, which is found in cattle. Johne’s disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (MAP). There is growing evidence that this bacteria causes Crohn’s disease in humans who drink milk from the infected cows. This bacteria is found free-floating in milk, however the transmission may be due to the bacteria’s presence inside pus cells. This is especially troubling in the United States. The US has the highest permitted upper limit of milk pus cell concentration in the world! The permitted amount is nearly twice the international standard of allowable pus cells. Learn more.
Both childhood and adult diabetes are rare in parts of the world that consume mostly plant based diets, unlike that of most of the Western world. The primary cause of diabetes in adults is a high fat, rich western diet, consisting of animal fats in both milk and meat products. Childhood diabetes has been studied and in some cases has shown a correlation between consuming cows milk and developing diabetes. Researchers speculate that the early introduction of cow’s milk may cause an immune reaction in the body. The protein in the milk (bovin serum albumin) is similar to the natural proteins found in the pancreas, the organ that manufactures insulin. Learn more.
Heart Disease is America’s #1 killer. Everyday, approximately 3000 Americans suffer heart attacks and 1/3 of those die. The others usually experience another heart attack later on in life. Luckily, reducing the amount of cholesterol and saturated fats in your diet can prevent heart disease and heart attacks. Studies have shown there is a correlation between the consumption of saturated fats (found in dairy fats and meat fats) and mortality from heart disease. Learn more.
If drinking dairy products all the time is so healthy for you, why is osteoporosis so prevalent in North America? If the vitamins and calcium in dairy are sufficient to prevent osteoporosis why is the disease so rampant here? In Asian cultures that consume low amounts of dairy products and instead rely on a more varied diet that includes soyfoods, osteoporosis is virtually unknown. Learn more.
If your child is experiencing ear infections, dairy milk may be the cause. Most children have an allergic reaction to cow’s milk, including nasal congestion, where passages become blocked and irritated, causing ear infections. Learn more.
Studies have stated that gluten and casein fee diets result in an improvement in behavior, and in some cases a reversal of autistic symptoms. It has been theororized that some children with autism break down casein (milk protein) into peptides. These peptides, which have a similar effect as that of hallucinogenic drugs, are somehow leaked into the bloodstream before they can be digested. Learn more.
Milk and dairy foods are high calorie foods, packed with saturated fat and cholesterol. They also contain growth hormones such as those naturally found in cow’s milk and rGBH. Dairy products contain no fiber or complex-carbohydrates and are more high fat then we know. Learn more.
Some doctors suspect that the fat, protein, sugar and hormones in milk irritate the skin, causing breakouts and acne. Many of the milk-producing cows are pregnant, causing a surge of hormones to be released into the milk and later consumed by teenagers. These hormones break down into androgen when they are consumed, which then stimulates production of sebum. Sebum is a waxy substance that clogs pores and in turn creates acne when the pores become infected. Learn more.
Eliminate milk and milk products from your diet! Instead, try delicious soy, rice, almond or oat milk. You can also make tofu, soy yogurt and soy yogurt cheese! Start a plant-based diet today by making your own fresh milks at home with the Soymilk Maker