In my last post in this mini series of looking at how healthy certain foods are in our diet, The Health of Our Meat, I took the meat industry by the horns and spoke a few home truths! Well, now its the turn of the dairy industry, as if you aren’t still reeling from all this stunning knowledge!

Most of us in the West have grown up on cow’s milk and its derivatives such as yoghurt, cream, butter and cheese, but is it as good for you as the so-called experts keep telling us? Well, not to deflate you any more after learning that meat and vegetables are not up to scratch, but there are one or two thing you need to know about cow’s milk and what use it is in our daily diet. After reading this, you might change your own views on the need to even continue consuming dairy produce in adulthood.

First out of the gate is the well documented fact that we humans, as adults actually can’t metabolize cow’s milk and the lactose it contains very well. In fact many of us are actually lactose intolerant, meaning those people can’t metabolize it at all and when they consume it, they suffer with quite debilitating symptoms. This causes a variety of health problems in people who often have no idea why they are getting sick.

But we hear from the industry that promotes it that drinking milk is necessary to enrich our diet with much needed calcium. Is this true, or is the industry just trying to keep us buying their product?

The fact that we need calcium for strong healthy teeth and bones is true, but we don’t get it from cow’s milk, because we can’t metabolize it very well, remember? The truth is that we derive most of our calcium from green leafy vegetables. We can metabolize them perfectly well and get all the nutrients we need easily, because that’s the way our bodies are designed to work.

It gets worse. If you’re squeamish, look away now…

The cows that provide the milk are pumped full of steroids, growth hormones and antibiotics, as you will have gleaned from my last post. Well, those nasties find their way into the cow’s milk, and are not destroyed during the pasteurization process. So we get to consume these hormones and antibiotics which of course reduce the effectiveness of our own natural immune system’s defenses.

So there are just a few reasons not to consume dairy products, or at least cut down on them drastically. A glimmer of hope lies in the organic food industry as organically reared dairy cows are not fed all these antibiotics and hormones, but access to organic dairy produce is still not as widespread as it could be, but it is improving.

Even so, omitting cows milk from the diet altogether is not such a bad thing. There are way too many reasons for doing it against a very few. mostly habit-based reason for continuing to consume it. Remember, one billion Chinese have practically no dairy produce in their diets and they’re pretty healthy despite its absence!

Terry Didcott