This has been taken from the website called Not Milk. I have broken the letter up as it’s quite long and very rich in terms of what we need to know. Small doses may help in terms of taking it in. Thus I’m going to produce a series of posts based on this letter. Watch this space 🙂
Well, what are the benefits?
Is there any health reason at all for an adult human to drink cows’ milk?
It’s hard for me to come up with even one good reason other than simple preference. But if you try hard, in my opinion, these would be the best two: milk is a source of calcium and it’s a source of amino acids (proteins).
Let’s look at the calcium first. Why are we concerned at all about calcium? Obviously, we intend it to build strong bones and protect us against osteoporosis. And no doubt about it, milk is loaded with calcium. But is it a good calcium source for humans? I think not. These are the reasons.
Excessive amounts of dairy products actually interfere with calcium absorption. Secondly, the excess of protein that the milk provides is a major cause of the osteoporosis problem. Dr. H egested in England has been writing for years about the geographical distribution of osteoporosis. It seems that the countries with the highest intake of dairy products are invariably the countries with the most osteoporosis. He feels that milk is a cause of osteoporosis. Reasons to be given below.
Numerous studies have shown that the level of calcium ingestion and especially calcium supplementation has no affect whatever on the development of osteoporosis. The most important such article appeared recently in the British Journal of Medicine where the long arm of our dairy industry can’t reach. Another study in the United States actually showed a worsening in calcium balance in post-menopausal women given three 8-ounce glasses of cows’ milk per day. (Am. Journal of Clin. Nutrition, 1985). The effects of hormone, gender, weight bearing on the axial bones, and in particular protein intake, are critically important. Another observation that may be helpful to our analysis is to note the absence of any recorded dietary deficiencies of calcium among people living on a natural diet without milk.
For the key to the osteoporosis riddle, don’t look at calcium, look at protein. Consider these two contrasting groups. Eskimos have an exceptionally high protein intake estimated at 25 percent of total calories. They also have a high calcium intake at 2,500 mg/day. Their osteoporosis is among the worst in the world. The other instructive group are the Bantus of South Africa. They have a 12 percent protein diet, mostly plant protein, and only 200 to 350 mg/day of calcium, about half our women’s intake. The women have virtually no osteoporosis despite bearing six or more children and nursing them for prolonged periods! When African women immigrate to the United States, do they develop osteoporosis? The answer is yes, but not quite as much as Caucasian or Asian women. Thus, there is a genetic difference that is modified by diet.
To answer the obvious question, “Well, where do you get your calcium?” The answer is: “From exactly the same place the cow gets the calcium, from green things that grow in the ground,” mainly from leafy vegetables. After all, elephants and rhinos develop their huge bones (after being weaned) by eating green leafy plants, so do horses. Carnivorous animals also do quite nicely without leafy plants. It seems that all of earth’s mammals do well if they live in harmony with their genetic programming and natural food. Only humans living an affluent life style have rampant osteoporosis.
If animal references do not convince you, think of the several billion humans on this earth who have never seen cows’ milk. Wouldn’t you think osteoporosis would be prevalent in this huge group? The dairy people would suggest this but the truth is exactly the opposite. They have far less than that seen in the countries where dairy products are commonly consumed. It is the subject of another paper, but the truly significant determinants of osteoporosis are grossly excessive protein intakes and lack of weight bearing on long bones, both taking place over decades. Hormones play a secondary, but not trivial role in women. Milk is a deterrent to good bone health.
The protein myth
Remember when you were a kid and the adults all told you to “make sure you get plenty of good protein”. Protein was the nutritional “good guy”” when I was young. And of course milk is fitted right in.
As regards protein, milk is indeed a rich source of protein – “liquid meat,” remember? However that isn’t necessarily what we need. In actual fact it is a source of difficulty. Nearly all Americans eat too much protein.
For this information we rely on the most authoritative source that I am aware of. This is the latest edition (1oth, 1989: 4th printing, Jan. 1992) of the Recommended Dietary Allowances produced by the National Research Council. Of interest, the current editor of this important work is Dr. Richard Havel of the University of California in San Francisco.
First to be noted is that the recommended protein has been steadily revised downward in successive editions. The current recommendation is 0.75 g/kilo/day for adults 19 through 51 years. This, of course, is only 45 grams per day for the mythical 60 kilogram adult. You should also know that the WHO estimated the need for protein in adults to by .6g/kilo per day. (All IrDA’s are calculated with large safety allowances in case you’re the type that wants to add some more to “be sure.”) You can “get by” on 28 to 30 grams a day if necessary!
Now 45 grams a day is a tiny amount of protein. That’s an ounce and a half! Consider too, that the protein does not have to be animal protein. Vegetable protein is identical for all practical purposes and has no cholesterol and vastly less saturated fat. (Do not be misled by the antiquated belief that plant proteins must be carefully balanced to avoid deficiencies. This is not a realistic concern.) Therefore virtually all Americans, Canadians, British and European people are in a protein overloaded state. This has serious consequences when maintained over decades. The problems are the already mentioned osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and kidney damage. There is good evidence that certain malignancies, chiefly colon and rectal, are related to excessive meat intake. Barry Brenner, an eminent renal physiologist was the first to fully point out the dangers of excess protein for the kidney tubule. The dangers of the fat and cholesterol are known to all. Finally, you should know that the protein content of human milk is amount the lowest (0.9%) in mammals.
Read more about this in future blog posts. They wont have huge gaps between them so it wont be long. If you don’t want to keep checking this website, sign up here and receive notifications about new posts.