Is Milk/ Dairy Bad For You?
Now, more than ever, a ton of foods are being labeled “good” and “bad” for you. Now, if you’ve read any of my blogs before, you know I don’t believe in “good” or “bad” foods…there are foods that are more nutritious than others, but no foods are bad, that type of verbiage and thinking leads to a bad relationship with food. You should be able to enjoy food…..that means, even the less nutritious kind. So let’s cut out the “bad” for you slogan, because as I’ve mentioned no foods are bad (I mean, unless you’re eating some poisonous food or something but chances are, you’re not). Instead, let’s start asking “should milk/ dairy be a staple in my diet? Or should it be only consumed in moderation?” (BTW, use this same format for all foods from now on).
So, milk being “bad for you” is a very new thing. Milk and dairy used to be a staple in the American diet (still is really). The first argument I hear most prevalently is that humans are the only animals that drink the milk of other animals, so milk can’t be good for us because it’s unnatural. While this is probably the weakest argument, I had to address it because it is also wrong on a couple levels….. first, we are not the only animals, without even doing research on the subject, cats come to mind, and although I’m a dog person, I have to admit, cats are pretty smart. BUT why are we basing our dietary needs and practices based off other animals? We don’t do that with other things? And if we did start basing our diet around other animals practices, we would get some very unhealthy and weird practices. Lastly, just because it’s “unnatural” doesn’t mean it’s not good for you. Apple seeds and cyanide are both natural, and can both kill you. Man made (unnatural) probiotics save lives every day (I think that’s pretty good for you).
Let’s talk about argument number two, which is one I’ve honestly never heard, but when doing research on the subject, I came across a lot, and that is that milk has an acidic effect on the body. This is the same argument that these alkaline waters have, that it will make your body more alkaline and bring you back to homeostasis. 🥴🥴 There have been numerous studies done, and all of them prove that milk and diary do not produce an acidic effect on your body. The NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) actually has done an amazing study that proves that pH is not influenced by diet at all (which has also been proven many times over again, I don’t know why people believe that either, maybe I should do a blog about that too). So, let’s put that to bed, and also stop buying those Alkaline waters because if anything, dairy’s bone protective effect is ACTUALLY SUPPORTED by observational research, not just rumored to do so like this pH stuff.
Before we go any further, I’d like to add that there are A LOT of people with some sort of lactose intolerance. Actually, it’s about 65-75% of the world. This isn’t a strike against it though, this is more of a reason to highlight that nutrition is very independent upon the person, and everyone is different. Not to mention, lactose intolerance seems to be dependent upon ancestry…. It’s much more common among people with an Asian ancestry vs European ancestry. When you look at the geographic statistics, you’ll see that about 80-95% of Asia has a lactose intolerance while only about 15-25% of European countries have it. My suggestion, if milk and dairy give you problems, eliminate it from your diet completely, then see if you can slowly reintroduce it back. Everyone is different, not all of us like seafood, some have peanut allergies, some are more insulin resistant than others….all this to say, just because someone is lactose intolerant, doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone.
Let’s actually talk about if it has harmful effects on the body though. Let’s see if this is something we can actually be taking in daily, or if it needs to be consumed cake (only in moderation). In my research, I came across 29 studies, totaling over 780,000 participants (milk and dairy is one of the most researched foods). Out of these studies (most were all independently funded by the way), all of them found no link between daily milk consumption with all cause morality, increased cancer risks, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. I’m just going to leave that there…..
Lastly, and probably the most overused argument, is that it supposedly makes you fat….. because ya know, it’s dairy…… We’ve discussed the lactose intolerance issue, so we can move past that to the millions of people who don’t have it. Let’s talk about the facts, the fact is, some people (me) believe that fat is stored through a caloric surplus (eating too many calories), after all, this is what’s supported by science. While some believe that it is calories AND the person’s insulin sensitivity (also kinda me). Either way, milk is very rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals…and whole milk has a lower glycemic load than most other foods people deem healthy because it’s so rich in healthy fat too. Not to mention, many athletes drink it post workout because it’s so rich in carbs. So we’ve got a complete drink here, full of vitamins, minerals, high in protein, carbs, and fat, not to mention it’s proven effect on muscle building and the feeling of satiety.….. yet some think it’s bad because of “sugar” and because some have a lactose intolerance. Well, sugar doesn’t directly cause you to gain weight, and since it has a low glycemic load, you shouldn’t be worried too much about insulin sensitivity.
To sum it all up, milk and dairy CAN be included in your diet AND you can STILL lose weight while consuming it. Personally, Laurie and I drink a gallon of milk probably every 3 days! It’s an easy way to get some quality calories and helps us feel satiated! I mostly drink it in a shake post workout with my protein (I take this protein). If you don’t consume milk and diary because of ethical reasons, I defiantly respect that a lot! It’s something I personally enjoy and I just don’t want any false negative accusations brought against any food, because the more we do that, the more we limit others, and the more it becomes overwhelming for most. So, since there’s no negative side effects from the direct consumption of milk (unless you have a lactose intolerance), this statement is defiantly CRAP!