As part of my going more or less vegan over a year ago, I’m not now generally consuming milk or dairy products. I’m not obsessive, so don’t get worried if I see that a prepared food contains a tiny proportion of butter or other dairy product. But I don’t use liquid milk, and I don’t eat cheese or yoghurt in any measurable quantity.
As it happens, I found this the hardest part of going vegan, much harder than forgoing meat and fish. Sadly, although many restaurants try their best to have “vegetarian” options, they often use cheese as an ingredient, ruling out anyone trying to go vegan.
So why deprive ourselves of dairy?
In “How Not to Die”, these are some of the facts and findings reported on from scientific trials and studies:
• Milk drinkers have more heart disease and cancer.
• In a laboratory study: cow’s milk stimulated growth of prostate cancer cells by 30%.
• Regarding cancer, the problem could be growth hormones (the natural ones that are in organic milk also)(Not counting, in the US, that cows are also injected with bovine growth hormone to produce more milk).
• With Parkinson’s disease, the risk increases by 17% for each daily cup of milk. Also cheese may be a long-term factor. This may be caused by the presence of pesticides/neurotoxins/PCBs.
• An article in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging: “Vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains should replace meats and dairy products as primary staples of the diet.”
In “The End of Alzheimer’s”, Doctor Bredesen recommends minimising dairy consumption, as it’s linked to some of the 36 ways that the brain can be stressed, leading to Alzheimer’s Disease.
In “The Telomere Effect”, Elizabeth Blackburn advises to eat less animal and dairy fat, as part of your strategy to avoid destroying “telomeres”. These are the DNA components at the ends of each chromosome, components that are vital in preventing aging and premature death of the cell.
A study (of 70,000 people) was reported in October 2019 by the US Mayo Clinic in “How plant-based food helps fight cancer”. Researchers found that vegans had the lowest rates of cancer of any diet.
So, there’s plenty of evidence of the potentially harmful effects of dairy, especially related to cancer.
What about fat-reduced dairy?
Some of the less desirable components of milk, like certain pesticides, will be in the fat content, so any use of reduced-fat milk, cheese or whatever, will no doubt be better than doing nothing.
To back this up, a study published in October 2019 in the journal “Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity” indicated that drinking skimmed milk instead of semi-skimmed milk may slow DNA ageing.
The study (of nearly 6,000 people) compared the age of their DNA with their diets and the type of milk they drank. (Data was from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey)(Age of DNA was measured by the shortening of length of telomeres)
For every one per cent increase in the fat content of the milk, the DNA aged the equivalent of more than four years.
But what about the benefits of dairy?
Milk from cows (and similarly other animals) is designed for the rapid growth of baby cows. So it’s packed with protein and other nutrients. These can’t be disregarded, and it’s not recommended by any authority to give up on dairy unless you ensure that you get these good food components some other way.
Unfortunately, to make baby cows grow fast, the mother cow also provides growth hormones, insulin-like growth factors (IGF) and chemicals that stimulate the baby cow to produce IGF. In a human adult, the only cells that can really benefit from these ingredients are those that wish to grow fast, and that means cancer cells.
So, it’s a balance. The risks of hormones, IGFs and pollutants in dairy, versus the proteins and nutrients.
Personally, I love milk, and I love cheese even more, but I’ve given up both and learned to like (not love!) soya milk, and cheese substitutes made from soya or coconut oil.
Article on skimmed milk: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2019/1574021/
Link to my post “How Not to Die”
Link to my post “Alzheimer’s Disease”
Link to my post “Telomeres”