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What the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

By Catherine Lewis, AHJ Editor | Alternative Health Journal

We have all seen the ads on TV and on billboards proclaiming “Every Body Needs Milk” but is that a true statement or just really good PR by the dairy industry? The truth is that every body needs calcium and that milk is just another source of calcium. Another truth is that milk is not even the best source of calcium, vegetables are. Let’s take a closer look at the milk myth.

A Few Facts about Milk

Yogurt is easier than milk to digest and it also has a higher percentage of calcium. Greens such as collards have calcium levels equal to if not greater than milk; plus greens have the additional benefit of Vitamin K which is required for bone strength. Comparison techniques have a direct bearing on how milk is viewed. If you use “cup of food product” as the basis for comparison, milk does show up high on the list for calcium content. But, if you measure it on a caloric basis, milk is on the bottom of the list. In other words, if you consume 100 calories of turnip greens you would be consuming three times the calcium than if you consumed 100 calories of whole milk.

When you go to the store and purchase milk, you are buying pasteurized milk. Any potential benefit of calcium in the milk is negated by the processing methods of pasteurization.  Pasteurization destroys many of the valuable nutrients in milk; it makes much of the calcium insoluble whereas in raw milk calcium is in soluble form. Children have a need for calcium in soluble form to reap any benefit from ingesting it; consuming pasteurized milk as the only calcium source can lead to poor teeth, nervous issues and even rickets in children.

Pasteurization also damages phosphorus which in conjunction with calcium is important for brain and bone formation. It also eliminates a portion of the Vitamin C that is contained in the raw milk. Another negative factor associated with processed milk is the possibility for cancer and other diseases, especially in children consuming dairy products derived from cows treated with bovine growth hormones.

Drinking raw milk eliminates the negative aspects of processed milk. Raw milk contains many nutrients including enzymes, vitamins and good bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus.

We have grown up to believing calcium is the building block for strong bones. This is not entirely true; many studies show no relationship between risk of fracture and calcium intake. Dr. Robert Thompson, MD asserts that bone is comprised of a dozen minerals or more. He believes that by focusing only on calcium supplementation bone density is likely damaged and the risk of osteoporosis is actually increased. He maintains that unprocessed salts are the best source for trace minerals critical for strong bones.

The first step towards increasing calcium intake is to avoid all processed foods. Consumption of organic, unprocessed food will automatically increase bone density. A few specific foods that are known to be high in calcium:

  • Dry beans
  • Dark green, fresh veggies such as collard, kale, spinach and turnip greens
  • Okra
  • Rhubarb
  • Almonds and sesame seeds
  • Wild sardines and salmon

The next time you’re thinking of upping your calcium intake to protect your bones – and your health, consider choosing an “alternative” to the traditional milk method. You will truly be doing “a body good.”
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