The Case Against Milk

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Lactose in All Milk Is Unhealthy 

Rumors, claims, and testimonies abound that "raw milk" has wonderful healing properties. These claims are lies. The claims are pure propaganda initiated by the raw milk producers as a scam to rake in a triple profit. Others who have been brainwashed by the propaganda jump in with more scams, false claims, and websites that earn money from the traffic and "click-throughs." People are easily brainwashed by these claims that cannot be scientifically confirmed.

The lactose and galactose (milk sugars) causes weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Raw milk can contain deadly bacteria. This why the sale of raw milk in the United States is illegal. Pasteurized milk is also bad because it is not sterile. It contains many bacteria survive the pasteurizing process. If you don't believe me, sit an unopened carton or jug of pasteurized milk on the counter at room temperature for four days and then drink it. In years past people could make and consume sour milk products from raw milk but that was before the dairy herds got contaminated with bacteria. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control gives some scientific facts and statistical data. Even so, their claim is false that pasteurized milk is a healthy food. The claim by many that the pasteurization process cause the milk to be "toxic" is absolutely false as well. Animal milk is not healthy food for humans, neither raw cows milk nor goats milk. Don't drink milk, period.

Raw Milk Frequently Asked Questions and Answers by the U.S. Center for Disease Control

Raw milk can cause serious infections. Raw milk and raw milk products (such as cheeses and yogurts made with raw milk) can be contaminated with bacteria that can cause serious illness, hospitalization, or death. These harmful bacteria include Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Mycobacterium bovis, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Shigella, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Yersinia enterocolitica. From 1998 through 2011, 148 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC. These resulted in 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. Most of these illnesses were caused by Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, or Listeria. It is important to note that a substantial proportion of the raw milk-associated disease burden falls on children; among the 104 outbreaks from 1998-2011 with information on the patients’ ages available, 82% involved at least one person younger than 20 years old.

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The Case Against Milk

by Sheila Buff

The message that milk is essential for healthy bones is far from accurate. Contrary to what you might think, milk can be downright harmful to your health.

High Carb, High Intolerance

A 250-millilitre glass of whole milk contains more than 11 grams of carbohydrates, mostly in the form of lactose or milk sugar. That's a lot of carbs. If you're doing Induction, for instance, one glass of milk provides just over half your daily allowance. Yogurt is just as problematic. A 250-millilitre serving of plain, whole-milk yogurt contains almost 11 grams of carbohydrate, while flavoured yogurts contain even more.

Apart from using up your carb allowance quickly, milk has another serious drawback: many, if not most, adults find it difficult to digest. By the time you're in your late teens or early twenties, if not before, you've lost most or all of the ability to make the enzyme lactase, which is needed to digest lactose. The loss of this enzyme leads to lactose intolerance – an inability to digest milk – which causes gas, diarrhoea, cramps and other unpleasant symptoms. If you often suffer from digestive upsets, eliminating milk and yogurt from your diet could help solve the problem.

The Calcium Myth

Milk is often promoted as the best source of dietary calcium for building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis (thin, brittle bones that break easily). If only it were that simple! It takes a lot more than calcium to keep your bones strong as you age. You also need lots of vitamin D, vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, boron, phosphorus, zinc and fluoride, along with sufficient protein and plenty of regular weight-bearing exercise. Relying on milk to protect your bones could backfire in a very nasty way by thinning them even faster. A 1997 study of results from the ongoing Harvard Nurses' Health Study showed that the women who had the highest intake of calcium from dairy products actually also had the highest risk of a fracture from thinning bones.1 Other studies have shown that the calcium from milk and other dairy products does not have a protective effect on your bones. 2–4 And a recent study of Chinese men and women, who rarely if ever consume milk or dairy products yet have very little osteoporosis, suggests that drinking tea is a good way to maintain bone health.5 Why? Among other things, tea is a good natural source of fluoride and flavonoids, both of which improve bone density.

The Cancer Connection

There's also growing evidence of a connection between high milk consumption and breast and prostate cancer. Cow's milk contains a substance called insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and people who regularly consume dairy products have higher IGF-I levels than those who don't. A 1998 study in the prestigious journal Science showed that men who had the highest blood levels of IGF-I had more than four times the risk of prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest levels.6 Elevated IGF-I levels are also linked, though less clearly, with breast cancer.7

Milk and Diabetes

The connection between milk and childhood diabetes (Type I, or insulin-dependent diabetes) is very controversial, but the evidence is pointing more and more to milk for at least some cases. The incidence of childhood diabetes is rising, and it's rising fastest in the countries where milk consumption is highest. It's possible, though it hasn't been fully proved yet, that for some children a protein in milk causes an autoimmune reaction that destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.8–9

Better Sources of Calcium

One 250ml glass of milk gives you about 300mg of calcium, or about a quarter of what a woman needs daily. When you're doing Atkins, however, you eliminate milk from your diet, at least in the earlier phases. (Substitute cream, which is very low in carbs, to lighten your coffee or tea.) You'll still get plenty of calcium while doing Atkins, however, because you'll be eating lots of vegetables. Just be sure to include leafy green vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach and broccoli, all of which are excellent sources of dietary calcium. Unlike milk, they also contain the other vitamins, minerals and flavonoids that are essential for helping your body absorb calcium and use it to build your bones. You can also consume soured cream and cheese, and once you've moved on to Ongoing Weight Loss, you can add moderate amounts of nuts to your diet – these are also an excellent source of dietary calcium. A 25-gram piece of Cheddar cheese has 204mg of calcium and only half a gram of carbohydrate; 25 grams of almonds have 80mg of calcium and about 7 grams of carbs.

Sheila Buff is a health writer and the co-author of Dr Atkins' Age-defying Diet (St Martin's, 2003).

Selected References

  1. D. Feskanich, W. C. Willet, M. J. Stampfer et al., "Milk, Dietary Calcium, and Bone Fractures in Women: A 12-Year Prospective Study", American Journal of Public Health, 87, 1997, pp. 992–7.

  2. R. G. Cumming and R. J. Klineberg, "Case-Control Study of Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in the Elderly", American Journal of Epidemiology, 139, 1994, pp. 493–505.

  3. Z. Huang, J. H. Himes and P. G. McGovern, "Nutrition and Subsequent Hip Fracture Risk Among a National Cohort of White Women", American Journal of Epidemiology, 144, 1996, pp. 124–34.

  4. C. H. Wu, Y. C. Yang, W. J. Yao et al., "Epidemiological Evidence of Increased Bone Mineral Density in Habitual Tea Drinkers", Archives of Internal Medicine, 162, 2002, pp. 1001–6.

  5. Ibid.

  6. J. M. Chan, M. J. Stampfer, E. Giovannucci et al., "Plasma Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Prospective Study", Science, 279, 1998, pp. 563–6.

  7. J. L. Outwater, A. Nicholson and N. Barnard, "Dairy Products and Breast Cancer: The IGF-1, Estrogen, and bGH Hypothesis", Medical Hypothesis, 48, 1997, pp. 453–61.

  8. F. W. Scott, "Cow Milk and Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus: Is There a Relationship?", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51, 1990, pp. 489–91.

  9. J. Karjalainen, J. M. Martin, M. Knip et al., "A Bovine Albumin Peptide as Possible Trigger of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus", New England Journal of Medicine, 327, 1992, pp. 302–7.

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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before starting a new fitness or nutrition regimen. The information contained in this online site and email is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad consumer understanding and knowledge of dietary supplements. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation, or advice of your physician or other health care provider. We do not recommend the self-management of health problems. Information obtained by using our services is not exhaustive and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. Should you have any health care related questions, please call or see your physician or other health care provider promptly. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. We strongly suggest you select a physician who is knowledgeable and supportive of the low-carbohydrate diet. Many of the physicians listed on this page have health clinics.

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