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From: Brenda W. (
Subject: Re: This may sound dumb, but
Date: June 19, 2005 at 10:36 am PST

In Reply to: This may sound dumb, but posted by Roadrunner on June 18, 2005 at 5:13 pm:

Hi Roadrunner,

Not a dumb question AT ALL!! I think all of us who have chosen to eliminate dairy have crossed this question in our own minds.

There are 3 main areas where milk is problematic:


You mention milk as a source of calcium, often toted as needed to stave off osteoporosis. But if you examine the data, you will see that osteoporosis rates are highest where milk consumption is highest (US and the Scandinavian countries). Osteoporosis is lowest where milk consumption is lowest (China, Japan).

Protein metabolism requires calcium as part of the physiologic process to turn edible protein into useable molecules. As protein intake increases, so does calcium requirements. As long as we're eating only the amount of protein we need, this does not present a problem. But most Americans (as well as other first world countries) eat far more protein than is needed to maintain health, sometimes as much as 3-4 times more than we need. These excessive protein intakes drastically increase calcium requirements. Milk IS high in calcium, but also high in protein, simply adding to (most) people's already high intake.

There are plenty of other foods which supply calcium and do not increase one's protein intake, both fortified, as well as "naturally" occuring calcium. Almonds, tofu, molasses, dry roasted soybeans are some foods naturally high in calcium. Foods fortified w/ calcium include OJ, cereal, and soymilk.

Most people (60-90% by some accounts) are allergic to dairy. Symptoms range from excess mucus, to diarrhea, to irritable bowel syndrome.

Milk is a major source of calories and saturated fat, something our US diet hardly needs more of.

1)Animal Welfare.

Milk is sometimes mistakenly thought of as OK since "the animal doesn't have to be killed to get it." If anything, milk production may almost be MORE cruel than meat .... to have milk produced a cow (obviously) has to become pregnant. For commercial dairies, cows are kept constantly in the cycle of pregnant/lactating/pregnant/lactating in order to maximize milk production.

Obviously every pregnancy produces a calf. Roughly half of calves born are male (no good for milk production). Enter the veal industry. Veal is one of the cruelest meats ... produced by removing a calf at birth from the mother and "crating" him for about 3 weeks .... he is kept in a small dark crate so he cannot move about, and fed only milk. This makes for the very tender, pale meat that is so prized in veal, but few know HOW it gets that way.


Probably most irritating to me is that much of the "milk propaganda" is generated by the extremely well financed dairy industry, whose sole purpose is to increase demand for milk to increase sales. The dairy lobby has successfully gotten milk "educational" materials into schools, affected the format of the food pyramid. Milk is the ONLY food which has its own category in the food pyramid thanks to this lobby ... all the other categories are nutrient based---protein, fats, minerals, etc. The original pyramid format had been a "calcium" category, but the dairy industry with their influential lobby money got that changed to a "dairy" category.

Even in supposed unbiased health promotions, the dairy industry is working behind the scenes to make sure milk is front and center ... With my employer, I am elegible for reduced health insurance premiums if I meet a certain score on a health and fitness profile. My score is actually reduced since I do not "include 3 servings of low fat dairy" in my daily food intake!!!

Hope I haven't gone too overboard in answering your question .... Below are some other resources to puruse!

John McDougall Newsletter on Dairy
Protein/Calcium Connection
Check out the section on "Non Dairy Sources of Calcium at this link.
One of many resources for Dairy Replacements/Substitutions

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