Dairy contains no necessary nutrient that cannot be found in adequate supply within the context of a balanced vegan diet. Furthermore, all dairy products contain high levels of fat and cholesterol. One 250 ml / 8 oz glass of whole milk contains nearly 10 grams of fat and 34 mg of cholesterol. Even so-called ‘skim’ milk gets over 25% of its calories from fat, most of this saturated. In short, dairy contains high levels of fat and cholesterol – two of the principal nutrients most national health authorities recommend reducing in the typical Western diet.
Cow’s milk is a topical food at the moment, mainly due to intensive ‘advertising campaignsThe logic is thus:
“Milk is high in calcium. We need calcium for strong, healthy bones. The antithesis of strong, healthy bones is osteoporosis. Therefore, milk consumption prevents osteoporosis.”
This argument is clearly flawed. Firstly, there is absolutely no link between high calcium intake and the prevention of osteoporosis [PCRM]. Osteoporosis is a disease of calcium loss, and is not due to a lack of calcium in the diet. Furthermore, because milk is also has a high protein content, the calcium content of this food is negated. There is significant evidence that milk, like other animal products, actually throws the body into negative calcium balance due to its high protein content. In other words, rather than being the solution, milk is actually part of the problem.
Put simply, drinking milk will not prevent osteoporosis. This is supported by the consistently-found link in worldwide populations between dairy intake and high levels of osteoporosis.
Furthermore, milk as a food, may have other unwanted side effects including the following:
- Cow’s milk lacks essential fatty acids human infants need for neurological development. Babies drinking whole milk in their first two years develop allergies, colic, diabetes; milk causes internal bleeding in children, which contributes to anemia.
- Milk protein attacks the immune system. Cow’s milk contains antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals, hormones, blood, white cells (pus), and bacteria from mastitis (udder infection) which the USDA and FDA either do not test for, or which they allow to be present in unacceptably high levels.
- Various studies found significant positive correlations between milk intake and lung and ovarian cancers, leukemia, and Crohn’s disease. And the weight of evidence suggests it’s the animal fat in milk which triggers the growth of cancer cells. This also implies that meat may be equally damaging.
- Cow’s milk is the perfect food for calves, but was never intended for human consumption. This is evidenced by the fact that at least half of human adults are lactose intolerant.
Milk consumption does not protect women from osteoporosis; in fact, it may be a factor in the development of osteoporosis. The body draws calcium from the bones to neutralize the proteins and lactic acids in milk.
Meeting the calcium RDI
How, then, can one possibly be expected to reach the seemingly impossibly high Recommended Daily Allowances of calcium, set by such bodies as the American National Research Council?
The truth of the matter, according to the Council itself, is that they “recommended the 800 mg/day because of the excessively HIGH PROTEIN diet of most Americans” (see NRC, RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCES, 9TH ed., 1990, p. 120-29). On a plant-based, lower-protein diet, the calcium RDI set by most Western Countries is simply unnecessary.
In other words, the RDIs in such countries as the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom are set incredibly high due to the overly proteinized diet of the typical inhabitant of those countries. Political lobbying by the powerful dairy industries in these countries also plays a significant role in the RDIs set.
Simply put, increase your protein intake, and it becomes necessary to dramatically increase your calcium intake. Unfortunately, such foods as dairy products are also very high in protein, negating the positive effects of their own calcium content. Because of this, the westernized world is trapped in a downward spiral of ever increasing incidence of such diseases as osteoporosis.
Milk is not the answer to the problem. To get to the crux of the issue, one must tackle the causal root – the high protein, animal-product-based, typical Western diet.
Milk is not the solution – it is part of the problem.
However, if you’re still concerned about calcium intake, try consuming plenty of leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli (94 mg per cup), turnip greens (103 mg per cup), and bok choy (85 mg per cup). Other great vegan sources of calcium include sesame seeds (58 mg per oz) and firm tofu (set with calcium 160 mg per cup) [SOURCE : http://www.veggiepower.ca/caltable.htm]. Most soy milks are also calcium-enriched, as are many orange juice brands. All of these foods are great ways to supplement your body with calcium