For years we’ve seen the “Got Milk?” ads. The dairy industry has been leading us to believe it is the only way to build strong bones and avoid osteoporosis. Unfortunately dairy can be one of the most inflammatory foods in our diet. Dairy can cause many gut issues, including gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. What causes these issues? Sugar and protein.
Lactose is the sugar found in dairy products. People who don’t tolerate this well or who are “lactose intolerant” do not produce the lactase enzyme that is required to break down lactose. Then there are those who do not tolerate the proteins found in dairy, casein and whey. Casein protein is very similar to gluten, more than half of people who are sensitive to gluten are also sensitive to casein.
Antibiotics and hormones
Many dairy farmers give cows a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone called rBGH to increase milk production. Many times this can lead to udder infections that have to be treated with antibiotics, that then, make their way into your dairy products.
Out of whack
Dairy can also throw our PH balance off. Our bodies need a balance of acid and alkaline. Most animal products, dairy included, are acid forming, this requires our body to compensate with alkaline reserves, which are found in stored calcium, magnesium and potassium – these are stored in your bones. This can actually weaken the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures and osteoporosis. Research shows that countries with the highest diary consumption also have the highest rate of osteoporosis.
The best way to tell if you are sensitive to diary products is to eliminate them from your diet for at least 30 days. After eliminating these products, note how you feel, any changes? If you think you want to try going back to diary products, add them in slowly and see how your body reacts. In the end it’s a personal decision. I can tell you from my experience that eliminating diary makes a significant difference in how my gut feels as well as how I feel overall.
Alternate sources of calcium include:
- Collard Greens
- Enriched rice, almond, hemp and coconut milks
- Sesame seeds
If you decide to try eliminating dairy from your diet, I would love to hear your feedback!