Casein: The Disturbing Connection Between This Dairy Protein and Your Health

Milk, cheese, and butter are some of the top three foods many people have a hard time giving up when transitioning to a healthy, plant-based diet. Even though the plant-based milk industry is now booming, thanks to all the varieties of options that we have, many people still do use dairy milk, cheese, and butter without abandon. But is this a coincidence? Is cheese pizza really something magical or is it addictive for so many people because of something else?

Considering cheese actually has a horrible smell and is rather gross when you consider how it’s made, there aren’t any magical properties behind cheese (or other dairy products) that make them anything special. The reason why they’re so addicting is largely due to a certain type of protein dairy products contain.

Meet Milk Protein: Whey and Casein

There are two types of protein found in dairy products: casein and whey protein. 38 percent of the solid matter in milk is made of protein. Of that total protein, 80 percent is casein and 20 percent is whey. Cheese is mostly made of casein, where most of the liquid whey has been filtered or strained out, but all dairy products contain casein, not just cheese. The difference between whey and casein is how they’re digested and how they react in the body. Whey protein is digested quickly and absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream, which causes an increase in insulin quickly. This process stimulates IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) which has been found to create new cancer cells and proliferate cancer cell growth. Yikes!

Casein: Your Brain and Body’s Worst Nightmare

Casein is very different from whey, though just as detrimental to your health. Casein breaks down more slowly and in the process, also wreaks havoc on your health. Casein is made of 70 percent fat and is packed with cholesterol. It’s  even been found to be a leading cause of cancer.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, says through his studies he has found casein to be the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered.  Because casein digests so slowly, natural morphine-like substances in casein known as casomorphins, act like opiates in the body as they enter the bloodstream. Just minutes after you eat a dairy-based food, the casein protein begins to break down.  This releases the drug-like casomorphins, which attach to opiate receptors in the brain, and cause severe addictions to dairy products (hence the reason they keep people coming back for more.) Casomorphins trigger such an addictive response that they’ve been compared to heroine in terms of their strength to cause food addictions and mood disorders.

Casein’s slow digestion rate also puts great strain on the digestive system. Dr. Frank Lipman (an Integrative and Functional Medical expert), explains that the body has an extremely difficult timebreaking down the proteins in casein. Dr. Lipman says that common symptoms of dairy sensitivity due to casein are: excess mucus production, respiratory problems and digestive problems like constipation, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea. It’s also known to cause skin issues like acne, rashes, and redness or irritation. Skip the casein and try eating more of these Inexpensive Vegan Foods That Brighten Your Skin instead!

Morphine in Milk- What the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Advertise on Their Products

If you still think a harmless glass of milk, a cup of yogurt, or a small serving of cheese isn’t potentially dangerous, think again. Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. (founder of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, a.k.a PCRM) found that in various studies, when dairy products were removed from the diet, cheese was the hardest food for people to give up. Dr. Barnard credits this finding to cheese being the most concentrated source of all dairy products. PCRM has also discovered that milk actually contains morphine, which can clearly be seen when milk is inspected under a microscope. Morphine is not added to cow’s milk; cows actually produce these opiate-like chemicals on their own.

Beware of the Sneaky Place Casein Lurks (Hint, It’s Not Just Dairy!)

The Trouble With Casein  is that it’s not just found in dairy products. In fact, this dangerous ingredient is often used in other foods, even those that are marketed as a vegan food. Casein is used in food for it’s scientific properties to thicken and congeal foods and likely for it’s addictive properties to sell more products.  Some brands of veggie cheeses, non-dairy yogurts, non-dairy, and non-dairy creamers contain casein for these very reasons. Casein is also found in some other non-food items such as: paint, adhesives, glues, fabrics, textiles, and plastics. Can you believe that? Items in your home and your clothes could even contain this toxic protein naturally found in dairy!

How to Spot Casein on a Label:

You’ll find casein listed as either of the following: casein, caseinates, calcium caseinate, potassium caseinate and sodium caseinate. Read labels thoroughly and buy products that are 100 percent vegan to be sure you’re not consuming this ingredient. If you have a question about the ingredients in your food or household product, you may also want to contact the manufacturer to inquire about it more thoroughly.

Other Problems With Dairy and Your Health

As you can see, it’s no wonder that gooey cheese pizza or bowl of dairy milk ice cream is so hard for many people to give up, but addiction isn’t the only problem dairy causes. Dairy has also been linked to brain fog and depression, which creates even more havoc to the brain and body. Lactose, a milk sugar found in dairy, is also one of the number one allergies people have in the United States.

You Don’t Need Casein or Dairy to be Healthy or Happy

Believe it or not, life does go on without dairy milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, and butter. In fact, it gets better! Plant-based foods come with just as many satisfying properties as dairy foods do, yet they contain no morphine or other nasty chemicals found in dairy foods. Check out these 10 Reasons to Ditch Dairy if you’re still on the fence.

Here are some healthy options to buy instead of dairy products:

As you can see, there are plenty of dairy replacements to choose from, but again, when choosing processed foods, make sure they are 100 percent vegan. You can use these delicious plant-based options to recreate fabulous dishes in your recipes and change your health in the process.

Need recipes? We’ve got plenty of dairy-free options to choose from!

 Image Source: Carly Lesser & Art Drauglis/Flickr

This content provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

What Are Phytosterols?

What Are Phytosterols?

Phytosterols can help keep your heart and brain young. Find out which foods contain them and how much you need.

By

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,

November 19, 2013
 http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating/know-your-nutrients/what-are-phytosterols?page=all

Episode #260

The word “phytosterol” may be unfamiliar but you’ve probably been eating them your whole life.

At least I hope you have!

Because a diet rich in phytosterols is a great way to reduce your risk of heart disease. And now, researchers suspect that phytosterols also play a role in prevention of Alzheimer’s disease as well.

Read on to learn more.

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What Are Sterols?

The word “phyto” means plant, of course. But what does “sterol” mean? Sterols are a family of molecules with a specific shape and structure. Phytosterols are sterols found in plants. The sterols you find in animals are called zoosterols and the best-known of these is cholesterol. And here’s where the link between phytosterols and heart disease comes into play.

How Do Phytosterols Protect Your Heart and Brain?

Stimagsterol appears to inhibit the formation of the beta-amyloid protein that builds up in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s.

Phytosterols and cholesterol are similar enough in structure that they are absorbed through the same mechanisms—and only so many molecules are going to get through the gate. When your diet is high in phytosterols, you absorb less cholesterol. This can lead to lower LDL (or, “bad”) cholesterol levels and and a reduced risk of heart disease.

See also: Eat More of These Foods to Lower Your Cholesterol

Even better, new research suggests that phytosterols may also help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. One phytosterol in particular, called stimagsterol, appears to inhibit the formation of the beta-amyloid protein that builds up in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s. The research is still preliminary; we have to see if it works as well in people as it does in animals. But if stigmasterol can help protect our brains as well as our hearts, that will be a welcome bonus!

Where Do You Get Phytosterols?

Pistachios, peanuts, sunflower and sesame seeds, split peas, wheat germ, and canola oil are all particularly good sources, but virtually all nuts, seeds, and legumes contain decent amounts of phytosterols. Some fruits and vegetables, including berries, broccoli, Brusells sprouts, and avocado are also good sources. You can also buy foods, such as butter spreadspeanut butter, mayonnaise, and even orange juice, that have been fortified with extra phytosterols.

Vegetarians tend to have higher intake of phytosterols than meat-eaters, probably because they tend to eat more vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.  That could be part of the reason that heart disease rates are lower in vegetarians.

See also: Should You Be a Vegetarian?

 

Of course, you could just go to the vitamin store and pick up a bottle of phytosterol supplements but I would much prefer that you get these nutrients from foods rather than pills. Why? Because foods that are high in phytosterols tend to be high in other nutrients that also protect your health, such as fiber and antioxidants. Eating nuts and legumes is also linked with a healthy body weight, which further protects you from disease. Finally, when you get your phytosterols from whole foods, it’s pretty hard to overdo it. Not so with supplements.

The Case Against Supplements

Extracting individual nutrients from foods and putting them into pills makes it easy to ensure consistently high intakes, no matter what you eat. But isolated nutrients don’t always have the same benefits as they do in a whole food context. Often, some critical co-nutrient is inadvertently left behind. Sometimes taking concentrated amounts of single nutrients leads to imbalances or overloads. Most importantly, when we rely on supplements to supply our nutrients, we rob ourselves of all the collateral benefits of a whole foods diet.

See also: Can You Get Too Many Vitamins?

A high intake of phytosterols can lower your cholesterol, for example, but it can also lower your beta-carotene levels. In the context of a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, this is unlikely to cause a problem. But adding a phytosterol supplement to a diet that’s deficient in fruits and vegetables might. Very high levels of phytosterols have even been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. So let’s not assume that if a little is good, a whole lot more will be a whole lot better!

How Much Phytosterol Do You Need?

The cholesterol-lowering benefits of phytosterols appear to peak about about 2,000 mg per day. That’s probably more than you’ll be able to get from diet alone. (Typical intakes max out around 500mg per day.) I still recommend eating phytosterol-rich foods on a regular basis, but if you’re trying to maximize the cholesterol-lowering effect, you might want to add a phytosterol-fortified food to the mix. Check with your doctor to see what target range she recommends. And don’t forget to load up on the fruits and vegetables for extra beta-carotene.

See also: How to Get More Vegetables Into Your Diet

For those who aren’t worried about their cholesterol, enjoying nuts, seeds, legumes, wheat germ, and avocado is a great (and delicious) way to get the protective benefits of phytosterols, along with the many other benefits of these nutritious, whole foods.

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Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?

IS COCONUT OIL BAD FOR YOU? YES, ASSERT THE PHYSICIANS, REGISTERED DIETITIANS, AND SCIENTISTS AT THE PRITIKIN LONGEVITY CENTER IN MIAMI, FLORIDA.

Many in the coconut oil business promote it as the “good” saturated fat. But “this is a case where facts have been twisted into fiction,” states Dr. Jay Kenney, Educator and Nutrition Research Specialist at Pritikin.

Coconut Oil is Bad For You

Here are the facts:

All oils are a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, though each oil is usually called by the name of the fatty acid that is most abundant. The artery-clogging – and therefore most damaging – fatty acid is saturated fat. The fat in coconut oil is 92% saturated fat.

What gets tricky is that there are different kinds of saturated fats. Some are long-chain (they have 12 or more carbon atoms), and some are medium-chain (fewer than 12 carbon atoms). These various saturated fats do not have the same impact on LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood. One long-chain saturated fat, stearic acid, has little impact on LDL cholesterol. Stearic acid is the most common saturated fat in chocolate, which is why chocolate or cocoa butter raises LDL only about one-quarter as much as butter, even though both are about 60% saturated fat.

Coconut Oil Is Bad for LDL Cholesterol

 

Coconut oil – bad for LDL cholesterol

But other long-chain saturated fatty acids, like the ones that make up most of the saturated fat in coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils (known as tropical oils), do in fact raise LDL cholesterol considerably. These saturated fats are called palmitic, myristic, and lauric acids. They also make up most of the saturated fatty acids in meat, poultry, and dairy fats like milk, butter, and cheese.

Other saturated fats that have little impact on LDL cholesterol levels include medium-chain varieties like caproic, caprylic, and capric acids. A small percentage of the saturated fat in coconut oil, about 10%, is made up of these less harmful saturated fatty acids, but virtually all the rest of coconut oil’s saturated fat is made up of the long-chain varieties that send LDL soaring.

And coconut oil is full of these artery-busting long-chain varieties by the sheer fact that there’s such a huge percentage of saturated fat, 92%, packed into coconut oil to begin with.

Ounce for ounce, coconut oil has more saturated fat than butter, beef tallow, or lard. “So coconut oil raises LDL cholesterol as much – or more – than animal fats,” cautions Dr. Kenney.

Coconut Oil Bad For Your Heart

Coconut oil – bad for the heart

For the health of your heart, lowering your LDL cholesterol is the single most important thing to do. How low should you go? Federal guidelines from the National Cholesterol Education Program state that a desirable LDL cholesterol is less than 100 mg/dL.

For individuals who already have atherosclerosis (they have suffered a heart attack, they require heart surgery or angioplasty, they have diabetes, or testing has identified plaque formation), LDL levels below 70 mg/dL are advised.

“It would probably be very difficult to get your LDL into these healthy ranges if you were eating a lot of coconut oil,” cautions Dr. Jay Kenney.

Polynesia

The coconut oil industry likes to point out that the traditional Polynesian diet – high in tropical oils like coconut – is linked with relatively low rates of heart disease.

“It’s important to remember, however, that heart disease involves several variables,” counters Dr. Kenney.

Even Virgin Coconut Oil Is Bad For You“Yes, studies of people on traditional Polynesian diets have found that they have relatively low rates from heart disease despite high LDL cholesterol levels, but other aspects of their native lifestyle are very healthful, and probably help counteract the cholesterol-raising effect of the coconut fat. Their traditional diet, for example, is very high in dietary fiber and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids from fish, and very low in sodium. Historically, native Polynesians also tended to be nonsmokers, and were physically very active. All these factors would certainly promote heart health.”

Is Virgin Coconut Oil Bad For You?

Lately, virgin coconut oil has been heavily promoted. Marketers claim that any bad data on coconut oil are due to hydrogenation, and virgin coconut oil is not hydrogenated. (Hydrogenation is an industrial process in which unsaturated fats take on the physical properties of saturated fats.)

But only a small percentage, 8%, of coconut oil is unsaturated fat, which means only 8% of coconut oil gets hydrogenated. And the yield is mostly stearic acid, the one common long-chain saturated fatty acid that has minimal impact on LDL cholesterol levels. “So completely hydrogenated coconut oil has about the same impact on LDL cholesterol as does virgin oil,” points out Dr. Kenney.

“Sometimes the coconut oil’s unsaturated fatty acids are partially hydrogenated, which will lead to the production of small amounts of trans fatty acids, although not nearly as many as there are in other vegetable oils because there are so few unsaturated fatty acids in coconut oil to begin with.”

“All in all,” observes Dr. Kenney, “you pay a premium price for the virgin coconut oil, but from a health perspective, it is hardly much better than the hydrogenated coconut oils used commercially.”

Bottom Line:

Don’t believe claims on the Internet and elsewhere that coconut oil is good for you. Coconut oil is bad news for your LDL cholesterol, heart, and overall health.

Herb Crusted Halibut

Herb Crusted Halibut Recipehttp://allrecipes.com/recipe/herb-crusted-halibut/

  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

     

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Combine panko bread crumbs, parsley, dill, chives, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, sea salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Taste and adjust with more salt if desired.
  3. Rinse halibut fillets and pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Place halibut fillets onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Generously spoon the herbed crumbs over the fish, and lightly press crumb mixture onto each fillet.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until crumb topping is lightly browned and fish flakes easily with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.