I often get asked what my thoughts are on dairy. Much information points towards the benefits of milk: protein, calcium and probiotics in yogurt. But while milk has benefits, the bad heavily outweighs the good! I will systematically break down the down-sides of dairy and explain components of dairy and substitutes for dairy that you can benefit from.
- Milk contains a protein called Caseinate A2 – This protein molecule looks very similar to gluten. Because many people are becoming gluten sensitive or have digestive trouble (whether they know it or not) with gluten, this protein can result in the same inflammatory, bloated, low-energy response.
- A part of this Caseinate A2 is a peptide called BCM7, that has been studied for its unique activity in the body.
- Firstly, BCM7 is an opioid peptide, meaning it stimulates opioid receptors in the brain, the same receptors for morpheine, opium and heroin. Though obviously not as acute, this can still lead to addiction – so if you feel you are addicted to dairy, this could be why!
- The BCM7 peptide has been found to cause gastrointestinal inflammation (swelling, pain in the stomach and intestines) even if you don’t notice any bloating or indigestion. This can lead to conditions such as malabsorption of nutrients and leaky gut, which is the cause of many autoimmune disorders today.
- This hard on humans peptide also kills off good bacteria making you more susceptible to toxin-producing candida . Click here to read our blog about Candida and Dysbiosis!
- Lactose. You may have heard someone say “I’m lactose intolerant”. Lactose is milk carbohydrate, and it is a sugar. As other mammals, human babies start with the lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose, and then at the age of 2-5, stop producing it. It is actually a genetic phenomenon that some Caucasians of European origin still produce lactase into adulthood and this is likely due to the centuries of milk production for food in those countries. When lactose can’t be broken down by our bodies, it ends up in the colon, where the bacteria have a field day fermenting it and producing methane and other gasses, as well as some undigestable fatty acids that bring water into the bowels. Many people are so used to drinking milk that they have gotten used to the general bloating, inflammation and gas this intolerance causes!
- Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) is a hormone that the body normally produces and controls. Elevated levels of IGF are strongly related to increased risk of prostate, breast and lunch cancers. The peptides and amino acids in milk have been shown to increase IGF levels in humans, and people who consume more dairy have higher blood IGF levels. Doctors screen IGF to determine if you are at high risk of these cancers.
- Casein, the primary milk protein, is considered by many scientists to be a cancer-causing carcinogen. Both observational and experimental studies have shown casein to be related to increased cancer rates, and, in the lab, to promote certain cancers.
If after reading all this you still want to consume milk in order to get your calcium…
it is important to note that digestion of milk protein actually takes calcium away from the body. In fact, in a 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who drank milk three times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk. Another study in Australia showed the same findings in men.My Challenge to you is to eliminate ALL dairy for the next 30 days.
- You may notice improved energy, digestion – reduced inflammation, brain fog, and even reduced seasonal or dust and food allergies!
- After 30 days, re-introduce dairy and notice the effect. Then you can decide for yourself whether to keep it or not!
- After the 30 days, you can try to include a couple of healthy dairy products which I have listed below…
What to have:
- You can replace milk with unsweetened organic almond milk, but avoid almond milks with carageenan in the ingredients because it’s inflammatory, a carcinogen (cancer-causing) and can cause problems with blood sugar regulation. Try this homemade Almond Milk Recipe and check out our Video Tutorial on how to make a simple and delicious, dairy alternative.
- Whey protein Isolate – This comes from milk that has been filtered thoroughly to isolate only the whey protein. It does not have the Casein and damaging peptides we talked about. Whey protein isolate is very easily and quickly absorbed and is great to add to shakes and fruit smoothies or as a post-workout. It contains branched chain amino acids which help your muscles recover from hard training, and contains lots of L-Glutamine, which is good for digestive and immune health. Choose a quality, unflavored whey isolate with no added carbohydrates and no sweeteners. Ideally a grass-fed whey (or New Zealand Whey), although these are more expensive. Watch that that the whole ingredient is isolate from grassfed milk, not just some. Avoid whey concentrates. In Canada, I am a fan of Alete Whey Isolate. They also have a healthy chocolate alternative with quality cocoa and lightly sweetened with coconut/palm sugar
- Grassfed Butter or Grassfed Ghee – With almost all the lactose and protein removed, grassfed butter, or better yet, clarified grassfed butter (ghee) as some amazing health benefits. It is very high in vitamin K2, which helps your body to absorb and utilize calcium properly. It is also high in CLA, which has been shown in scientific studies to aid in fat loss, and has been shown to have strong anti-cancer activity in animals, as well as lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels, meaning it could be beneficial against atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of blood vessels in heart disease. A good grassfed butter will naturally by quite yellow, and conventional grain fed and white butters do not have the same benefits listed above.
If you have questions, or would like to share your experience, please write in the comments section below.!