Why Dairy-Free Food?
Many people are confounded by the idea of not consuming dairy products, but indeed the opposite should be true; humans should be shocked that we as a species consume so many dairy products. No other animal besides humans consume dairy products after weaning. Other animals may consume eggs, meats, and plant products, but they do not drink milk. Following this logic, it seems somewhat unnatural for humans to consume dairy products, especially milk, after infancy. Science appears to back up this argument.
The Facts and Figures
In 60% of people, by the time they reach the age of five, an enzyme called lactase ceases to be produced in the body. This enzyme breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk. Without this enzyme, the sugar begins to ferment in the gut, causing several problems. These problems present themselves in the form of flatulence, diarrhea, extreme bloating, and cramping.
Typically, these problems are collectively called lactose intolerance. This name seems to allude to an inability to consume dairy being somehow odd or unusual. However, scientists generally agree that the opposite is true. The ability to digest dairy products is not the norm, and an intolerance of dairy is expressed by the majority.
If 60% of humans had adverse reactions to eating tomatoes, or cucumbers, or any other plant-based product, then that food would most likely be deemed as unnatural for human consumption.
Benefits of a Dairy-Free Diet
The benefits of a dairy-free lifestyle are becoming increasingly apparent. Dr. Mark Hyman, and American physician and New York Times bestselling author, is a strong proponent of the dairy-free lifestyle. Dr. Hyman and other medical expert cite several reasons why a dairy-free lifestyle, especially abstaining from milk, is beneficial.
- There is little evidence to show that the consumption of milk reduces bone fractures, something which is often suggested as a main benefit of consuming dairy. Dr. Walter Willett, a physician and nutritionist, says that the evidence shows that dairy may instead increase the risk of bone fracture by up to 50%.
- Osteoporosis rates are the lowest in many of the countries that have the lowest consumption of dairy products. The dairy industry would like us to believe that dairy products can help with bone problems, such as osteoporosis, but the evidence seems to indicate the contrary.
- Studies have shown that calcium supplementation did not decrease the number of bone fractures. However, Vitamin D was shown to be much better than calcium at preventing fractures. Vitamin D is found in a huge number of plant based foods. Also, prostate cancer risks were higher in men that had high levels of calcium and dairy consumption.
- Calcium has several benefits, but those benefits can be realized without consuming dairy. Calcium is found in many dark, leafy green plants.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to look into the claims made by their milk-mustache commercials. The science simply does not back up the USDA’s milk claims. The panel of scientists that looked into these claims overwhelmingly debunked the positive claims that the USDA had made about milk.
The scientific evidence seems to be very straightforward – consumption of dairy products is unnatural and possibly damaging to the adult human population.