Saturday, July 14, 2012

Busting the Dairy Myth

One of the food sources I had to give up on my anti-inflammatory diet is dairy. Although yogurt and kefir can remain on my diet, all other dairy is discouraged. Last week Mark Bittman published a column on the Opinionator about dairy products, citing a number of reasons we should avoid them. He talked about how he gave up dairy and within 24 hours his heartburn disappeared never to return.

On reflection, I realized that I had not experienced any heartburn since eliminating dairy from my diet.  Inspired by our mutual success, I decided to do some sleuthing on the subject.  Seems there is a lot of information out there.

Mark Hyman, MD, practicing physician and contributor to Huffpost Healthy Living wrote a comprehensive column on the subject. Here is what he had to say in a nutshell.

1. Milk doesn't reduce fractures: Studies have shown that eating dairy products has not been shown to reduces fractures, in fact some studies suggest dairy may actually increase the risk of fractures.

2. Milk builds strong bones, NOT! Research has shown that countries with a lower rate of dairy and calcium consumption actually have lower rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium is not the great bone-protector we believed it to be: Turns out Vitamin D is much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk: Studies have shown a correlation between a high intake of calcium and dairy and an increased risk of prostate cancer—to the tune of 30 to 50 percent.

5. Low Tolerance Level for Dairy—It’s in the genes! Commonly known as lactose intolerance, a whopping 75 percent of us have trouble digesting milk and other dairy products.

If you are experiencing problems with sinuses, post-nasal drip, headaches, or irritable bowel syndrome, I encourage you to read Dr. Hyman’s column and review the studies from which he drew his information.

Or you can do as he suggests:

Try giving up all dairy. That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. If you notice improvements in your health, start eating dairy again and then see how you feel. If you start to feel worse again, you should try to give it up for life.

In good health…

1 comment:

  1. I gave up all dairy about six months ago. I never thought I would be able to stick with it but I have. I had done a lot of research and the bottom line is, we don't need it. I think the dairy industry works very hard to make us think that we do need it.

    There are many alternatives to dairy esp. like products with coconut or almond. I have noticed an improvement in my autoimmune symptoms but I have also eliminated gluten as well.