Today I was reading a good article in the latest ICON magazine (Integrative Cancer and Oncology News) about the pros and cons of dairy, and it appears to be based on solid research. It turns out there are very few pros but a considerable number of cons, certainly enough to seriously consider ditching the dairy.
In summary it says:
1) The cows may be grazing on land that still contains residual pesticides from last years crops, and as the fat is a wonderful solvent, so the fat will bring the pesticides into your body.
2) Milk contains lactose, which is a sugar and so, like glucose, it can be used as fuel by cancer cells.
3) Milk contains the milk protein casein, which has been convincingly shown to have links to cancer, see The China Study, by Prof Colin T Campbell.
4) 80% of mass market milk is from pregnant cows – thus increasing our hormone load even further, and since most cancers are hormone driven this is not good news.
5) A recent study, (Nature, Dec 13th 2013) shows that milk products can adversely affect the gut flora, leading to inflammation, and inflammation can be a precursor to cancer and can encourage metastases.
6) A European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPICN, 2008) in the UK concluded that both protein and calcium from cow’s milk were linked to prostate cancer, whereas cancer from plant sources was not.
So does milk have anything good going for it?
There’s some evidence that calcium in milk can reduce the risk of inflammatory polys in the gut, but you could gain more than enough calcium by eating a good portion of green vegetables.
There is some supportive evidence for drinking raw unpasteurized milk, as it contains good sources of probiotics, and can encourage healthy gut flora. Compared to pasteurized milk raw milk contains more healthy bacteria that can suppress the immune responses that underlie autoimmune and allergic conditions.
Furthermore contrary to popular belief there is little if any convincing evidence that raw milk is harmful. In states such as California there has not been a death from drinking raw milk in over 35 years. In Europe, despite laws to prevent the sale of raw milk the French carried on as usual. Although raw milk is hard to come by the the UK the government is now looking at bringing in raw milk dispensers across the country. It is known that children raised on farms and people drinking raw milk have stronger immune systems. and a strong immune system and healthy gut flora is what you need to fight off cancer.
Having said all that, considering all the negatives I would rather still stay off the milk even if it is raw, and I will stick to having regular helpings of sauerkraut as my recommended source of probiotics (see Budwig diet). And as my favourite milk substitutes, I’d go for and oat milk and coconut milk – yummie!
If you are still going to drink milk the key recommendation would be to know the source of the milk.