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5 Health Claims About Cow’s Milk That You Need to Quit Believing

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Let’s get to the low down and dirty on dairy in a few words: it’s a bad choice! But don’t let us be the one to tell you that. How about Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Neal Barnard, T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Mercola,Dr. Joel Kahn, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman?

Forbes magazine even detailed a study conducted in Britain at the end of last month that proves dairy milk is a bad choice. The milk drinkers in the study were not only more likely to die of cancer and heart disease, but also at a higher risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Then there’s the issue of vitality and wellness. Dr. Joel Kahn, a vegan cardiologist, explains that a life without dairy (and meat, fish, and eggs) is full of vitality, choices, and heart healthy nutrition.

Milk Myths From Mass Media Marketing 

But the mass amount of marketing from the media would like you to believe otherwise. The “Got Milk?” campaign slogan is still booming with popularity as The National Dairy Council uses celebrities to promote the use of milk in our culture. Children are told they need at least three servings a day to grow up big and strong, and trendy fitness foods like Muscle Milk and Power Bars are promoted to athletes looking to pump up their muscles with some protein. But let’s get real here: we don’t need milk to be strong, healthy, or fit. 

1. It’s Natural

Since more people are aware of dairy milk’s dangers these days, milk marketers are attacking non-dairy milk choices as unnatural or inferior sources. But let’s think about this for a minute: how is processing some almonds into milk any less natural than mechanically milking a pregnant cow that’s been impregnated multiple times a day (via artificial insemination, aka raped) who has udders that are likely infected and filled with bacteria? Keep in mind that that same cow’s children she gives birth to are stripped away from her at the moment of birth. That milk has to be extensively cleaned and heated (pasteurized), which destroys some the nutrients actually found in milk, so some nutrients are added back into the milk after processing. Hmm..doesn’t sound too natural to us!

2. It’s a Good Source of Biological Protein

Everyone knows plants contain protein by now, so the new health claim regarding milk and protein is that it’s higher in its BV (biological value.) What a stretch! Don’t believe the myth that you need mammary liquid from another animal to get enough protein. If you don’t need milk from your mother after a certain age, why would use need breast milk from an animal? Plenty of plants are packed with protein and offer plenty of beneficial protein with none of the harmful side effects of dairy. You don’t even have to combine foods (like rice and beans) as we once thought to get enough. Try some of our favorite sources.

3. It Prevents Osteoporosis

Cow’s milk has been found to promote osteoporosis, not prevent it. Because dairy is so acidic and inflammatory, it’s been found to cause excessive bone loss, debunking the myth that calcium from dairy is the best option. What builds your bones? Greens, nuts, seeds, seaweed, beans, and legumes- all of our favorite foods!

4. It Keeps You Strong

Athletes often believe they need whey protein, milk, yogurt, or dairy-based fitness foods to keep them strong and build lean muscle. Again, wrong! Thanks to plants that encourage muscle strength, decrease inflammation, and promote greater satiety than dairy-based products, not one bit of dairy is needed to keep you strong. Learn How to Get Stronger on a Plant-Based Diet and how this vegan bodybuilder gets fit and buff without one bit of dairy in his diet.

5. It Keeps You Thin

The newest trendy health claim about dairy is that it promotes weight loss and a smaller waistline. You don’t need dairy to maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight. In fact, weight loss is one of the first benefits most people notice when they approach a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. While small amounts of dairy may not lead to weight gain, it isn’t a ‘must-have’ for weight loss, to say the least. And while a junk-food plant-based diet isn’t the answer to a healthy weight either, no one can argue that a balanced, whole foods, plant-based diet will help you reach a healthy weight naturally.

How To Go Dairy-Free:

Though dairy is one of the hardest foods for people to give up, it’s completely doable. Pick up some non-dairy milk, coconut or almond yogurt in place of dairy yogurt, try a vegan cheese or make your own, and go for coconut butter or non-dairy butter in place of regular butter.

Here are some helpful resources to ease you into the transition away from dairy easily and deliciously:

So while the popular endorsed saying might not be “Got Kale?”, we can change that when we continue to ignore the media hype surrounding the ridiculous health claims given to cow’s milk. Check out our entire dairy-free living section to read up on our best tips and get some food tips for working dairy-free calcium into your diet and join us in a dairy-free, delicious lifestyle!

Image Source: bluewaikiki.com/Flickr

A Prescription for a Plant-Based Diet Can Help Reverse Diabetes

Neal Barnard, M.D. Headshot

A Prescription for a Plant-Based Diet Can Help Reverse Diabetes

Posted: 11/19/2014 10:08 pm EST Updated: 11/19/2014 10:59 pm EST
DIABETES FOOD

Chances are good that you have diabetes or know someone who does. Even if you don’t, you’re paying for the care of millions of people with diabetes through your taxes. It’s a disease that affects people of all backgrounds, income levels, and, increasingly, ages, and it costs our country nearly a quarter trillion dollars every year — that’s well over the total yearly revenue of electronics giant Apple.

New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 29 million Americans have diabetes and another 86 million have prediabetes. Hardest hit are Native Americans, followed by African Americans and Latinos. They are at far greater risk for heart attacks, blindness, amputations, kidney failure, painful nerve symptoms, and loss of a decade of life compared with those who do not have the disease.

But a recent report has found that one simple prescription could help reverse diabetes, improve blood sugar, and lower weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It could allow the 115 million Americans with diabetes or prediabetes to dramatically reduce their medications or get off them entirely. And all this is possible, the analysis found, not with a new magic pill, but with tried-and-true, simple changes to diet.

A team of researchers from the United States and Japan, including the Physicians Committee’s Susan Levin, MS, RD and myself, published a new meta-analysis showing that a plant-based diet significantly improves diabetes management.

Combining the results of six prior studies, we found that a plant-based diet boosts blood sugar control considerably. Among the studies analyzed was our 2006 NIH-funded trial, which found that plant-based diets could improve a key indicator of blood sugar control called hemoglobin A1c as much as 1.2 points in 22 weeks. No drug comes close to offering those with diabetes this kind of relief.

The new meta-analysis focused on longer-term effects and combined the results of all available studies. The benefit of leaving meat out of the diet was as much as 0.7 points in some studies and averaged about 0.4 points overall. These numbers may seem small to those unfamiliar with the disease, but anyone with diabetes knows that such an improvement is truly profound.

If diet changes are so effective, why aren’t more doctors prescribing plants before pills?

Some wonder whether patients will stick to a plant-based diet. Well, studies show that patients are actually eager to make the switch. Why? Unlike conventional “diabetes diets,” vegan diets do not require counting calories or limiting carbohydrates. There’s no portion control or strenuous exercise routines. We tell our diabetes class and study participants that they can eat as much as they want — and as much whole wheat pasta, whole grains, and brown rice as they want — as long as they’re not eating animal products or lots of added oils. The diet is simple and clear, and it’s easier than ever to follow.

Plus, the “side effects” are all good. Weight comes down, blood pressure improves, and blood pressure and cholesterol drop. Best of all, low-fat, vegan diets provide freedom from the tedious routines of taking medications and injecting insulin.

That’s why doctors at Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the United States, recently recommended that every patient receive information on plant-based diets. Doctors who lack the time or knowledge to prescribe a vegan diet can refer patients to registered dietitians and to plentiful online resources.

We can tackle diabetes at a policy level, too. Existing frameworks for improving nutrition in America, such as the National School Lunch Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), could be better used to promote the consumption of disease-fighting foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Taxes could help curb consumption of unhealthful foods — the precedent has just been set by Berkeley’s soda tax and the Navajo Nation’s junk food tax.

As worrisome as the new statistics are, the solutions to the diabetes epidemic are at hand. With a plant-based diet, we could help tackle the disease once and for all.

“If All You Ate Were Potatoes, You’d Get All Your Amino Acids” aka Protein

The sentence above is haunting me.

Doug asked:

“I still don’t understand why more care isn’t necessary to avoid deficiencies of the essential amino acids. Is it the case that these amino acids are present in all fruits and vegetables? (I didn’t think this was so, but you mentioned on that other thread that thinking has changed in this regard.) Or is it simply that easy to avoid a deficiency of an essential amino acid by consuming any mixture of fruits and vegetables?”

Doug, I would answer “Yes.” to your last question. I thought it summed up the facts well.

Plants are capable of manufacturing all 20 amino acids, which include the essential amino acids (EAAs), although amounts vary. I checked a number of foods (potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, corn, rice, oatmeal, beans, and others) and found all EAAs in each of these foods. Even an apple which is listed as having 0 grams of protein has all the EAAs, albeit it small amounts.

Since I said in an earlier comment, “No mixing of foods is necessary. If all you ate were potatoes, you’d get all your amino acids,” I felt obliged to back it up. Below is my back-up.

  • The first column lists all 8 EAAs for adults.
  • The second column lists the World Health Organization’s recommended intake per body weight.
  • The third column lists the specific RDI for a 120 lb adult.
  • The fourth column lists the amount of each AA in a medium potato, with skin.
  • The fifth column lists the amount of each AA in 5 medium potatoes.
  • The last column lists the % of recommended intake (for a 120 lb adult) for each AA when 5 potatoes are consumed.

[PotatoEAAs1.jpg]

Here’s Why Cow’s Milk Doesn’t Do a Body Good

Milk marketing campaigns will have you believe that if you don’t consume the recommended three 8 ounce servings of dairy a day, that likely, you’ll fall over and die from a bone fracture, develop osteoporosis, or become puny and weak. But use your brain- dairy milk was made for cows by nature to make them big and bulky- something I doubt any of us are aspiring to.

The Low Down and Dirty on Dairy

Cow’s milk also contains the milk protein casein, a natural drug-like chemical found in milk that has addictive properties. This is helpful for baby cows since it keeps them coming back for more breast milk from their mothers, which they need to be healthy and strong. But do we need casein? Obviously not, since this protein has been linked to cancer, food addictions, diabetes, and more.

Also consider that over 10,000 years ago, when animal domestication began, no one consumed cow’s milk to get their calcium, Vitamin D, or protein – they ate mostly plants for these benefits. Though breastfeeding is recommended for humans (and all other mammals), we weren’t designed to consume milk from our species after a certain age. Why in the world would we continue to breastfeed from another species? This is essentially what we’re doing when we drink cow’s milk, mind you. Only pregnant cows produce milk, and many are impregnated multiple times a day due to the high increase for milk demand in this country. With that not only comes animal cruelty, but also extra hormones from the pregnant, lactating cows. Yum, right?

Why Dairy Milk is Not a Health Drink

Millions of people suffer from lactose intolerance a day, therefore avoiding dairy. And guess what? They’re absolutely fine. Lactose is a sugar found in milk that’s not only hard to digest, but also high in calories. A glass of skim milk is not a low calorie beverage, despite what marketing claims would have you believe. It still contains 12-13 grams of sugar, all from lactose. This not only contributes to higher insulin levels, but also added calorie intake. A glass of unsweetened almond milk on the other hand? You’re looking at 30 calories, 0 grams of sugar, 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk, and only 2 grams of fat, all from the healthy almonds the milk is made from. Which do you think is the real health drink?

What About Bone Health?

In case you haven’t heard, dairy milk has consistently been linked to causing osteoporosis and bone loss. A study published by JAMA Pediatrics this year, followed over 100,000 men and women for more than two decades, from their teenage years into their adulthood. Those who consumed dairy milk were found to have no greater protection against fractures or bone loss compared to those who didn’t consume dairy milk. However, a study in THE BMJ found that increased dairy consumption was associated with a much greater risk of bone fractures and death. Well now, there’s something you won’t see on the “Got Milk?” campaign slogan!

Something Else The Dairy Industry is Hiding

Aside from health, let’s talk about the low down and dirty on the environment- something most people don’t think about when turning up a glass of moo milk. There are 270 million dairy cows in the United States used for milk production. Cow’s manure and dairy milk processing contributes to higher levels of CO2 from greenhouse gas emissions, which also has a negative impact on climate change. This not only means we’re breathing all of these gases and emissions from manure back in, but also means that the manure, pesticides, hormones, and herbicides used for feeding dairy cowsare being dumped back into our local water resources by irresponsible dairy milk producers.

Don’t trust a milk label- it’s designed to make you think you need milk to be healthy and you don’t.Protein and calcium are found abundantly in plants, and plant-based milks are an incredible alternative to dairy-based milk. Ditching dairy– now that’s what really does a body good.

Image Source: Andrew Magill/Flickr

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

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10 Fascinating Facts About Cow’s Milk

A side from hearing that cow’s milk helps bones grow strong, what else do you “know” about it? In the USA, we grow up hearing all about the benefits of dairy milk. We are told we need to drink it to be healthy. But, do we really? Are there any cold, hard facts about milk that contradict this health claim? There certainly are! Here are ten fascinating facts about cow’s milk.

1. Dairy has been linked to a host of health problems!

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkPCRM/Wikimedia/Wikimedia

2. High dairy consumption means a higher rate of osteoporosis.

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkThe Journal of Nutrition/elizalO/Flickr

3. Despite the happy imagery we often see of cows in the grass, dairy farms pollute the Earth.

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkFAO/Wikipedia

4. “Dairy Farms?” Or maybe we can call them slaughter houses?

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkUSDA/Wikimedia Commons

5. The amount of lactose intolerant people is more numerous than you think!

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkPCRM/Wikimedia Commons

6. Sorry cows – soybeans are far superior to your milk. 

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkHarvard/Wikimedia Commons

7. Got plants?

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkOne Green Planet/Wikimedia Commons

8. It’s strange when you really stop to think about it, right?

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkOne Green Planet/Chris Booth/ Flickr

9. Would you like some pus with that glass of milk? 

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkHeise Health Clinic/Wikimedia Commons

10. Movin’ on over to the green side!  

10 Fascinating Facts About Cow's MilkWall Street Journal/Wikimedia Commons

Now that you’ve read the facts, click here for dozens of brands of plant-based milks and hundreds of options to choose from. You’re bound to find one to meet your individual tastes and nutritional needs! Then, check out these fantastic nut milk recipes.

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

Browse through some recent posts below:

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