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Dairy is bad for you? So much info out there, I don't know what to believe

Hi all, I just read this article: http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog/why...

I agreed with this doctor's criticism of the USDA food pyramid- that made sense- but I don't know what to think about his suggestion to cut out dairy.

I thought this maybe boils down to pasteurized vs unpasteurized dairy products- however, another doctor commented below the article that even raw milk is not a healthy alternative and leads to (among other things) "heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, auto-immune diseases, depression." Really? I understand large quantities of full fat milk and cheese may contribute, but she did not make the distinction between high and low fat dairy products.

Is there truly such a difference between A1 and A2 proteins in milk (A1 being dangerous and A2, usually from goats milk, is much safer


I googled this to try to find more info or some legitimate studies on this topic and I saw that this has been debated for a while now: http://milk.procon.org/view.answers.p...

Im curious as to what you guys think...

(sorry if this has been brought up before- i searched the site and didn't find much)

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  1. Wow that is depressing. I'm about ready to try photosynthesis and just give up eating altogether. It's late and I'm going to check back soon and see what others think. Thanks for the info eviemichael.

    2 Replies
    1. re: givemecarbs

      no prob, givemecarbs :) Ive enjoyed reading everyone's input and it pretty much led me towards where i was leaning in the first place- Everything in moderation! (As if I eat anything in moderation...) :-/

      1. re: givemecarbs

        AH hahaha! Good one, givemecarbs!
        My comment on the original post? NEVER give up dairy. Osteoporosis doesn't just disfigure you, it can lead you to an early, painful death. Dairy is Still your best, most easily utilized source to ward it off.

      2. I know, a friend went to a seminar on gluten and came back preaching to me that gluten causes every disease and discomfort known to mankind. I know a few people recently seem to get some kind of severe reaction, but now everyone's jumping on the bandwagon, including pet food companies. I'm still in amazement that kids can't eat peanut butter anymore......so far I'm ignoring it all.

        15 Replies
        1. re: coll

          Kids can't eat peanut butter? Oh for pete's sake....I also have the impulse to ignore it all out of sheer frustration that I can't make heads or tails of all the contradictory studies...
          It's just that I am trying to make an effort now to be conscientious about what I'm eating and to form healthier habits.
          But ever since I started researching I am reminded of my high school teacher's words of wisdom: "The more you know, the less you understand!"

          1. re: eviemichael

            It seems there are one or two kids in every school that have some severe allergy, and therefore the school can't serve it to anyone. And they won't use the sunflower substitute available because "one of the kids might see peanut butter somewhere and think it's OK to eat". Per the school nurse's orders. So sad!

            1. re: coll

              Oh I see! Now that you mention it, I've heard of non-peanut school policies mentioned before. I guess maybe some frightening incidents had happened before...?
              Peanut butter is dangerous for me too, but just because I can eat a whole small jar in one or two sittings...(Who am I kidding? One sitting).

              1. re: eviemichael

                I am happy to have a high school senior this year - she would have starved had the peanut butter ban been in place when she was in elementary school. PB&J was her lunch for 8 years. Cheap, filling, and no worries about spoiling.

                I want to know where the studies are that prove PB allergies are more hype than substance.

                1. re: jeanmarieok

                  My high school junior still took peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school until about a month ago. His girlfriend has a peanut allergy and he said he doesn't want to have a kiss of death. Probably more info than I needed. Apparently, she got lightheaded when someone merely opened a jar of peanut butter in her vicinity. It's hard for me to believe she's that sensitive, but whatever....

                  1. re: Glencora

                    Lightheadedness sounds psychological to me....don't think that's an "allergic" reaction.

                    1. re: Glencora

                      i used to think that food allergies were all hoohah and made up but: My nephew is severely peanut allergic to the point that if you eat a pb cookie and give him a peck on the cheek he gets a huge welt. Immediately. It's not psychological. Glencora's son (Plantagenet or Gerald ;-)?) is being a considerate young man - even if a bit too "sharing" with Mom!

                      1. re: buttertart

                        I meant feeling lightheaded. My mother is severely allergic to many things, came on in her 40s, so I am aware of the usual deadly signs anyway.

                        1. re: coll

                          I agree it seems a bit farfetched but suppose it's possible.

                        2. re: buttertart

                          Food allergies are definitely not all hoohah. Several years ago I developed very severe hives. An allergist did a quick battery of tests and told me I did not have any food allergies. Subsequent to that an environmental specialist put me through several hours of testing and told me that I had developed allergies to beef, rice, and coffee. I stayed away from the offending food and the hives went away. Since then I lost the rice and coffee allergies, but retained the beef allergy - DAMN ! I used to love beef !

                          1. re: souschef

                            That IS a drag. So far so good for me on the food allergy front, but I have a severe reaction to the oil in mango skin because of several bouts of poison ivy I got at our cottage near Ipperwash Beach - the plants are related. Didn't know that, ate a mango by scoring the flesh and turning it inside out to eat off the peel - my face and everywhere I had touched were just big welts. A total mess. I can eat mango if it's peeled by someone else though.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Yes, learned when childproofing my FL home that the sap from the mango can cause an allergic reaction too. Not all bad though, someone else needs to prep them for you, and you can still enjoy them!

              2. re: coll

                What no peanut butter? I know some children who have tree nut allergies, but why no peanut butter?

                Here's what I think, first of Hyman has some legitimate claims, but then Hyman talks about flour and sugar. In my opinion Hyman is an evangelistic. First lets take a look a look at flour. Flour is in almost everything. Bread also is refereed to as the "staff of life" Leviticus. I do realize some people have a gluten intolerance or celiac. I'm willing to let flour go, but a lot of people are not willing to give up flour lightly.

                Second sugar, less than one pound???!! Are freaking kidding me, that is ludicrous. Especially for an American. According to Hyman "The real advice here should be to cut down sugar intake from 185 pounds per person per year (what we currently consume) to less than a pound", that's less than 1/100 the amount of sugar. Come on sugar is in everything. Let alone fructose. Hyman might as well said don't drink juice or consume fruit. How could I give up fruit? I love fruit. Seriously, if my friends go out for fast food, what am I supposed to do. I think I'll take up photosynthesis.

                1. re: Bottomless_Pit

                  I'm pretty sure that Hyman's referring to refined sugar, which does not apply to raw fruit. Refined sugar is the actual sugar ingredient itself, like white sugar, raw sugar, etc.

                2. re: coll

                  I know people who have Shunned gluten, only THEN to become Seriously allegic to it.
                  Everything in moderation folks...unless it's additives or pesticides!

                3. Eat what makes you happy. You're gonna die anyway.


                  4 Replies
                    1. re: Davwud

                      Yes, I know it all sounds very neurotic, and I'll probably just continuing to eat what feels right for my body...but I'm curious about this stuff.

                      1. re: Davwud

                        True, Davwud but many people do not eat what makes them happy. For example lets say someone has an intolerance to gluten and ate gluten. Everyone with a gluten intolerance gets a slightly different reaction to gluten. Lets say the person in question gets very subtle hints.

                        In the short run consuming gluten would make the person happy. In the long run the person could develop a large GI track problem. In the very long run the person could live a miserable existence caused malabsorption leading to malnutrition.

                        Most people only take into account how the foods makes them feel for the first five minutes, unless there is a severe reaction. A slow poison caused by intolerance can be very hard to detect.

                        1. re: Bottomless_Pit

                          it wasn't to be taken so literally


                      2. I read the blog post you linked to. The author doesn't sound like a nut, but he hasn't convinced me to give up dairy completely. I love cheese, and eat about an ounce a day. Never have been a milk drinker, even as a baby. I do put some 1% organic milk on my cereal, and 0% Fage on my granola. His idea of giving up dairy for 2 weeks to see how you feel without it is interesting, but hardly scientific. Agree that the Food Pyramid is a total production of various agricultural and industrial food interests.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: pikawicca

                          Yeah I'm not convinced either. I'm also not sure if there is a difference for me since I live in Greece and a lot of the dairy we have is goat-based. I just can't imagine going even one week without dairy. I drink lots of milk and use greek yogurt in marinades, for tzatziki, Indian food, for breakfast, for dessert!

                          1. re: eviemichael

                            I also wouldn't want to go 2 weeks w/out dairy -- I have a glass of skim milk every day, and cheese makes me happy.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              I'd have a hard time going two hours.


                        2. Just wait and there will be a study that contradicts.....whatever the original premise.

                          1. Along this line, this was in the local paper today:
                            I am going to keep eating until it kills me.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Sam at Novas

                              Same story in NY Times today too, shows you shouldn't believe anything 100%.

                              1. re: Sam at Novas

                                Very good article Sam at Novas! Should clear up a lot of what I believe to be misconceptions.
                                Also, I cracked up over your comment! hahaha!

                              2. So, everyone in Switzerland or other famously "dairy" countries and regions has been dying prematurely from all these horrific diseases?

                                @@ to THAT article, I say....

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Beckyleach

                                  And I've heard conflicting reports that it's the process of pasteurization and homogenization that REMOVES the lactase that aids in digestion, thus creating the "lactose intolerant" situation, to a certain extent, in the first place....

                                  1. re: Beckyleach


                                    lactase is an enzyme produced by the body, not something that is in the milk.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Oh, sorry, I meant "lactOSE":

                                      "Lactose, or milk sugar, is the primary carbohydrate in cow's milk. Made from one molecule each of the simple sugars glucose and galactose, it's known as a disaccharide. People with lactose intolerance for one reason or another (age, genetics, etc.), no longer make the enzyme lactase and so can't digest milk sugar. This leads to some unsavory symptoms, which, needless to say, the victims find rather unpleasant at best. Raw milk, unlike pasteurized, has it's milk sugar enzyme, lactase, undamaged, and so, may allow people who traditionally have avoided milk to give it another try."

                                      1. re: Beckyleach

                                        The last sentence still implies that lactase, the enzyme (not the sugar) is present in raw milk.

                                        What are you quoting?

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          Someone who obviously has the same "a" and "o" issues as I, apparently. :-D


                                2. i don't think that (all) dairy is bad for "you" (talk about a broad brush)--- i just think that most of the dairy consumed in this country is bad-- it's actually complete processed-food reconstituted muddle-mixed crap. there are whole areas of the country where people don't have access to any decent dairy products whatsoever. good dairy from grassfed cows, not homogenized, raw or very minimally pasteurized, is great. very healthy societies have been built around healthy dairy, including milk, fresh and hard cheeses, and cultured milk products such as cultured cream, butter, yogurt and kefir. the author of the blog post ignores data from long-lived healthy mediterannean cultures that eat a lot of unpasteurized and unprocessed dairy on a daily basis to come up with his conclusion that *all* dairy is bad for *all* people.

                                  1. Here's a fascinating site that does a documented "pro/con" analysis of many controversial issues. They have an entire section devoted to milk questions. I've also listed the break down from the raw milk page (just because that's my new foodie interest) to give you the flavor of the site. You may find it helpful...


                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Beckyleach

                                      ARGH! My apologies for including the same links as you! It's funny I found it separately from you, via Google...but clearly I needed more coffee this morning!

                                      Oh, well...

                                      1. re: Beckyleach

                                        No don't apologize! I appreciate the dialogue. Honestly, I'm thinking...screw it. As others have mentioned here, the Mediterranean diet is supposedly so healthy and we have long lives over here, right? Well we eat dairy!

                                    2. Well, I think that drinking three glasses a day is way more than anyone needs, and getting nutrients from a variety of sources makes sense. However, people were drinking a lot of milk before the obesity epidemic.

                                      I use whole raw milk, in moderation. (in coffee, tea, and for cooking.) For direct consumption, I tend to go with cultured products like cheese and yogurt, which contain less lactose. I believe in relying on medeterranien tradition, being of european stock myself. Happiness is a key component to good health!

                                      1. Well, all I can say is that if dairy is bad for us, then I am in BIG trouble :) I LOVE cheese and I drink 1% milk almost every day. In fact, I have been drinking lots of milk my entire life. My grandmother and my dad didn't buy us soda or sugary drinks often. We drank mostly milk, water, and fruit juices. We really only drank sodas occaisionally. It seems as if something his always in the news as being harmful. The last thing I remember reading about was high fructose corn syrup, which I can see being bad for us. But dairy? I don't know...

                                        1. I don't believe dairy is bad as long as it's full fat. I've had raw milk and it tastes awesome but Virginia bans the sale of it unless you buy a "cow share." Low-fat and no-fat dairy tastes like crap. When I was a kid I drank a ton of milk and I totally credit the fact that I've yet to break a bone in my forty-some-odd years on the planet to that despite having done stuff that should have broken one (car accident, falling out a fourth-floor window, etc.). I still like a glass of milk here and there but I'm not a big cheese buff unless it's melted.

                                          1. Speaking strictly for myself (and not casting aspersions on anyone else's opinions), I would not take anything posted on a blog entitled "ultrawellness" terrifically seriously. "Wellness" as a concept seems to me to partake of the "if people just do x - don't drink, severely restrict calories, don't eat gluten, don't eat dairy...we will live forever" idea. It isn't going to happen, sorry.

                                            1. I have no idea whether diary is good or bad for you, and nor do I have a strong opinion one way or another.

                                              But, having said that, when you stop and think it about it for a minute -- isn't milk kind of odd?

                                              I mean, you're basically drinking the liquid extruded from another, unrelated, animal.

                                              Plus, most non-Western cultures do not regularly consume dairy products and generally (and again I say "generally") only Americans regularly drink milk as children and adults.

                                              16 Replies
                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                I think it's weird to drink milk as an adult, but not to consume milk products like cheese and yogurt. But it does seem childlike to just drink a glass of milk.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  Ethnicity is one of the 'risk factors' for lactose intolerance.

                                                  Milk is the normal food for all mammal infants. But with most, the ability to digest it disappears with age. I've read of the scientific theory that adult lactose tolerance is due to a mutation that evolved separately in several human populations, giving access to a valuable food source.

                                                  Bizarre Foods is a good way of expanding your 'milk horizon', especially the latest Mongolia episode.

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    Paulj, you are correct. Human beings first began domesticating livestock in Europe thousands of years ago, and over time, those of European ancestry evolved to produce the lactase enzyme that enables lactose digestion. Those not of European descent lack this enzyme. Which is why most Asians, Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, etc. are lactose intolerant.

                                                    1. re: ohiokavr

                                                      So, I wonder if these "milk is unhealthy" studies are broken down into ethnic ancestry, clearly enough that one may make their health decisions based on their own proclivities? I'm all English/Dutch/German in origin, and milk never has caused me digestive problems. Would that likewise mean that it's less UNhealthy for me, as well?

                                                      1. re: Beckyleach

                                                        You raise a very good question about the studies. I don't know that they are broken down by ethnicity at all. I can only say that from an evolutionary standpoint, having descended from the cultures that brought us livestock domestication, you carry the genes that enable lactose digestion. From that standpoint only, I would say that you stand to develop less digestive problems from dairy than the other groups mentioned. Beyond that - for instance, whether you are more immune to the cancer and heart disease that has been linked to dairy - I do not know.

                                                        1. re: ohiokavr

                                                          i am not so sure but i believe there are certain food that are unhealthy for some ethnicity. diary is a good example. i am an asian and like someone pointed it out i am lactose intolerant. so i cut all kinds of diary about a year ago and i honestly think that was the best thing i ever did for me. i feel clean and fresh.
                                                          likewise, i read an article on nori in this site that says western people do not have bacteria that can help digest seaweed. so i guess nori is not nutritious for them.

                                                        2. re: Beckyleach

                                                          This was the question it raised for me. A fellow foodie friend and I were discussing our mutual love of cheese the other day when she mentioned the old saw that "everyone's at least a little lactose intolerant." Having never suffered any ill effects from dairy, I rebutted that point, and she was flabbergasted that I not only have never had any problems with dairy, but find that a small bit of good cheese often settles my stomach, definitely helps with pregnancy-induced heartburn, and is my preferred quick go-to for protein. (I did go vegan for Lent one year, so I have given up all dairy for 6 weeks, and noticed no difference.)

                                                          She's purely European descent, but perhaps I'm from more peasant-stock than she? Perhaps the 1/16 or 1/32 of Mexican blood in my system gives me some sort of ancient indigenous bacteria that makes dairy completely harmless for me? (The remaining genetic background is all Irish/German.) And if that's the case, maybe dairy is GOOD for me, much like cooked food is good for most people, or even how wheat or peanuts are good for those without celiac disease or allergies - a concentrated form of certain nutrients that bodies have not only learned to tolerate, but thrive on. Isn't there some study that shows evolutionary history is why Latin American peoples can process corn so much more efficiently than European?

                                                          Bottom line: the evolution of gut bacteria has far too long a history and is far too complicated to simply dismiss with a "it's bad for you" or "it's unnatural." To each his own, I say. If it doesn't make you sick, enjoy.

                                                          1. re: thursday

                                                            This article on pellagra explains the difference between Native American and European use of corn


                                                            1. re: thursday

                                                              Same for me--complete to the point that cheese was one of the few foods I really tolerated well in the early stages of one pregnancy, and craved throughout.

                                                              Heck. My grandfather was a MILKMAN. Sometimes, it's in the genes. :-)

                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                        There are plenty of odd things about the dietary habits of human beings. We are the only animals on the planet that eat cooked food, and our evolution has been intertwined with this process. There is absolutely nothing "natural" about it. We also eat/drink fermented items: alcohol, fish sauce, stinky tofu, etc. We also eat cheeses that smell like someone's dirty socks.

                                                        1. re: raytamsgv

                                                          Dogs like that kind of cheese even better!

                                                          Speaking of dogs, most carnivores prefer the guts, and fat rich parts of their prey, over the 'steaks'.

                                                          How do you judge whether a diet is natural or not? By comparing it to other animals (chimps, pigs, wolves)? By lifespan? I suspect there is a good correlation between average lifespan and dairy consumption.

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            An even more important issue is the role of cooking and human evolution. Because of cooking, human beings were able to eat far more plants and animals than before. Cooking's benefits are so significant that it is ubiquitous across almost every culture. We process foods (e.g. grinding grains and making breads), we cook poisonous plants until they're edible (e.g. taro), etc.

                                                            I'm sure when people first started cooking, they didn't realize the impact it would have on the human race and culture. All I'm saying is that just because other animals don't drink the milk of another species does not mean it is intrinsically bad.

                                                            1. re: raytamsgv

                                                              And neither did I. But, apparently, that is what many here insist on reading.

                                                          2. re: raytamsgv

                                                            Cedar Waxwings will eat fermented berries and become drunk. We actually had this happen once at our house. The "party" drew a large amount of birds and they flew erratically and purple birdie droppings all over the driveway. We read later about this phenomenon.

                                                            1. re: wekick

                                                              That's right, don't horses and goats eat plants that make them high, on purpose? And what about catnip, my cat will climb up the refrigerator looking for a hit.

                                                          3. re: ipsedixit

                                                            In reply to ipsedixits comment on drinking milk extruded from another, unrelated, animal.:

                                                            I'm also Eating that animal, as well as consuming lots of eggs that came out of a chicken's vag.....Oh well, nevermind, you get the idea. :)

                                                          4. Consider for a minute what dairy is.

                                                            Mammals produce milk for one reason: to feed their infants. Once an animal passes the infancy stage and is able to digest regular food, it no longer drinks its mother's milk. No animal in nature drinks another species' milk. Why do humans do it? It doesn't make biological sense that the human body would need another species' milk to survive or live healthy lives.

                                                            Dairy foods do contain nutrients that are beneficial to the human body. However, those nutrients are easily obtained from sources other than dairy products. Calcium, for example, is found in dark, leafy green vegetables. Protein is abundant in whole grain foods, legumes, etc...

                                                            The increase in people being diagnosed with milk allergies, lactose interolance, etc. is bringing to light this simple fact: human beings' bodies are not designed to drink milk created for infant cows. When we look at the issue from a biology based viewpoint, it becomes clear.

                                                            27 Replies
                                                            1. re: ohiokavr

                                                              Down with ice cream and yogurt! Bag the shlag! And cheese - well, you're just eating rotten, moldy milk, you stupid human!!!

                                                              Yeah, and what about those chicken eggs and fried pig bellies and weeds soaked in squashed olive juice and over-fermented grape juice????

                                                              Food: it's just too disgusting for words.

                                                              1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                "No animal in nature drinks another species' milk."

                                                                No animal in nature has domesticated plants, makes paella, drives cars or wears underwear. What's your point?

                                                                1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                  The point is, why would we think our bodies need milk to survive? If consuming dairy makes you happy, go for it! Ice cream and cheesecake certainly do make life a little more enjoyable for those who aren't lactose intolerant. I'm simply pointing out that consuming them isn't natural, and therefore we shouldn't be surprised to find that they can wreak havoc with the human body.

                                                                  1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                    Cooked foods is not natural as well, but human beings have evolved in conjunction with cooked foods. It can also be argued that certain groups human beings have evolved with dairy products as well.

                                                                    1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                      I love dairy products, and can't figure out why anyone would avoid butter and instead go for that lab-in-a-box nonsense called margarine.

                                                                  2. re: ohiokavr

                                                                    <No animal in nature drinks another species' milk. >

                                                                    Forgive me if I don't take my culinary cues from non-humans. I have enough trouble trusting other people's opinions; I'll never be able to figure out whether cows or chickens actually know where to get decent sushi.

                                                                    1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                      It never ceases to amaze me about what people around the world eat to get protein. I watch Bizaare Foods and people are eating anything and everything for the nutrients. Crickets, roaches, ants, larvae of all kinds, not to mention eating every part of an animal.
                                                                      Obviously, we humans are opportunistic omnivores.
                                                                      Can you imagine how hungry the first guy was who looked at a geoduck and said, "I'm gonna have me some of that"?

                                                                      1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                        "No animal in nature drinks another species' milk."
                                                                        I have a farm with goats, pigs, chickens etc. We milk the goats and use the milk for ourselves. One day, I noticed that one of the goat's udders was not really full like usual. The next day, the same thing happened. I decided to investigate and quietly watched from a distance and discovered that one of the pigs was nursing off the goat. Neither minded at all. This was not a piglet, but a 6 month old 200 lb. pig. Humans discovered the benefits of drinking other species' milk thousands of years ago. To me, it looks like the pigs aren't too far behind. BTW, that pig produced some delicious pork.

                                                                        1. re: earthygoat

                                                                          earthygoat: I would have loved to have seen that happen. VERY interesting animal dynamics!

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            I was shocked myself! I think if anyone spends a little time on a farm (or in nature), they will quickly lean that many of our "rules" just don't apply. I just wish I had a camera with me every time something quirky happens.

                                                                            1. re: earthygoat

                                                                              It's true - it's a shame most people are so far from the farm these days. I grew up in a smallish city surrounded by rich farmland and we had "country cousins" so we were on farms a lot. Fun and very educational.

                                                                              1. re: earthygoat

                                                                                Very interesting! I grew up on a farm. Come from a long line of farmers on both my mother's and father's side. And still visit farms regularly to buy food. Never once have I seen an animal drink from any animal other than it's own. Not saying it doesn't happen. There are exceptions to everything, of course. But this farm girl has never witnessed it.

                                                                                1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                                  I grew up on a farm, and I, too, never saw such a thing. Most mothers are quite aware of whether it's their young nursing, and there are strong evolutionary pressures that ensure this. Never saw one mother sheep allow another's lamb to nurse, let alone the young of another species!

                                                                                  I have, however, seen the odd video on Youtube of just such an occurrence, but that speaks to how rare and unusual it is.

                                                                                  1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                    Oh, I agree! That's why I was shocked, especially since it wasn't a piglet. However, I have seen other things that may not be as weird. One female goat I once had would often "adopt" other kids on her own, no pressure from us. She was just like that. Mother dogs adopting kittens was another common species adaptation.
                                                                                    An organic dairy farmer here in Ontario, would use old Holstein cows not useful for dairying anymore to raise bull calves for veal rather then giving them formula. He got a much better price for them because they grew so much better.
                                                                                    And finally, when I was younger, I remember seeing a picture in a National Geographic magazine where a woman was nursing a piglet because her tribe had killed it's mother.
                                                                                    These occurrences are rare, but that's why they are so interesting when it does happen.

                                                                                  2. re: ohiokavr

                                                                                    "Never once have I seen an animal drink from any animal other than it's own." You never had barn cats that came for a squirt or two at milking time? My friend Ted's family had five or six that would come meowing around when they heard the swish into the bucket, and Ted would aim a few squirts in their direction. They were pretty good on interception. I have no doubt the pigs would have done the same, but they didn't get the chance.

                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                      Unless the cats were actually nursing from the cow, ohiokavr's point still stands. Lots of animals will drink milk that comes from another species when it's in a dish, on the ground, or in the air (as you point out). I'm not saying they wouldn't want to, but the mother might not appreciate it, as I have seen many times when a sheep rejects another's lamb because "Hey, that milk is for MY baby!!" Hahaha.

                                                                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                        >>"Unless the cats were actually nursing from the cow, ohiokavr's point still stands."<<

                                                                                        Not unless we're talking about whether it's unhealthy for humans to nurse directly from the cow. Cats drink milk from a dish, people drink milk from a glass - seems like the same thing to me.

                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                          I see your point with respect to the general debate, hahaha. When I made my comment, I did not refer back to ohiokavr's previous posts, so, having done so now, I can see that he/she is using the point to support his/her position.

                                                                                        2. re: Full tummy

                                                                                          Sheep will reject their own lambs for no apparent reason whatsoever. Odor is a big issue, so we always handled them with burlap sacks leftover from buying grain for the livestock. The last lambs born at Mom and Dad's were triplets, and the mother rejected two of the three, so the folks got to bottle feed the two.

                                                                                        3. re: Will Owen

                                                                                          Pigs got the whey, or what was left after making whey cheese.

                                                                                  3. re: earthygoat

                                                                                    Heh! great farm observation.

                                                                                    Also, depending on how broadly you classify the term "milk" (i.e. including non-lactation secretions of non-mammals), some kinds of ants cultivate and milk aphids....


                                                                                    I am sure the animal kingdom is full of such examples, if one looked.

                                                                                    1. re: earthygoat

                                                                                      I'm a city girl, but have friends who grew up on farms and some who still raise animals. According to them, it is not at all unusual for critters to feed off others' milk. They've seen adult cows drinking off another's udders, dogs and cats drinking off any milk source available (goats, cows, eachother...), and chickens that wander into the other animal areas just to get to their poop. If these animals who live pretty naturally choose to eat/drink of other animals, I see no reason why we should refrain.

                                                                                    2. re: ohiokavr

                                                                                      I agree completely. But let's go a step further and consider for a moment what a human is - basically just a hairless chimp. So never mind dairy, we should eliminate all food from our diets except wild fruit, leaves, and the occasional a big protein supplement from a mound of termites. Yum, termites.

                                                                                      1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                                        Other animals in nature Do drink another spicies milk...If a wolf (as example) takes down a cow, or a moose, or a sheep etc., that is lactating, they consume the whole animal, including the contents of the udder, stomach etc.
                                                                                        The reason they don't nurse from another animal, is because the 'other animal' has brains enough to run away and save the milk for it's own infant.
                                                                                        No 'other animal' imports fruit, out of season, from a warmer climate either...so Oranges and Grapefruit from Florida should not be eaten in Canada in February?
                                                                                        PS: Not meaning to be offensive, but you would have to eat a bathtub full of spinach to get as much Usable calcium as you would following the Food Guide for recommended serving of milk, cheese, dairy...I lost a loved one to osteoporosis...she did not fit the profile for a person who was high risk, either. The main reason she was taken down by this horrendous disease was because she had 5 children, and when her diet lacked a bit of the necessary calcium needed for each pregnancy, it robbed it from her bones to supply to growing fetuses...it all adds up. Suffice it to say, it is Not something that I feel anyone should experiment with limiting milk in their diet. Women take heed, please.

                                                                                        1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                                          It's probably not energy efficient or a good thing from an evolutionary perspective for wild animals to continue to produce and consume milk throughout their lifetimes. Maybe? And who knows, if animals could figure out a way to do it with another species, maybe they would. I watched an octopus take the lid off a jar last night on PBS...

                                                                                          I think the allergy and intolerance issue is not that cut and dry. Our ancestors didn't pump their animal products full of everything under the sun in order to keep the animal alive in a factory farm setting. Surely those things are having an impact too.

                                                                                          1. re: ohiokavr

                                                                                            And I, at least, can't digest leafy green vegetables. Cheese is my main source of protein and calcium for the forseeable future. I am able to eat meat, fortunately. Unfortunately, I can't drink milk or eat yogurt without ill effects, but almost all cheeses work well.

                                                                                          2. The article mentions nothing about goat's milk. Everything is assumed cow's milk. I've been eating goat's cheese lately and I've been enjoying it. In my opinion, don't drink cow's milk, but other milk, closer to human milk would be a great step in the right direction.

                                                                                            1. Animals who spend their lives in a state of near starvation have significantly longer life expectancies. But if that's the cost of immortality, I for one am not willing to pay it.

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                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                Indeed, there have been studies recently showing that humans who keep to an ascetic diet of minimal calories composed of only lean, highly nutrient-dense foods lead longer lives and are healthier to the end. I try to eat in a balanced, healthful way, yadda yadda yadda, but food is significant in my quality-of-life calculus, i.e., part of what makes life worth living (and that most certainly includes dairy). I assume that's the case for everyone here, whatever personal diet choices they make.

                                                                                              2. I was shocked to see that recent tv ad for soy? almond? milk that compared the saturated fat in a glass of 2% milk to that in a small portion of french fries. Is that true?

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                                                                                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                  Is it true? Who cares? Given that most vegetable oils contain very little saturated fat and potatoes have none, it's no surprise that french fries don't have much saturated fat. That doesn't make them healthy.

                                                                                                  Dairy has lots of saturated fat. Never mind a cup of 2% milk, which has about 3 grams of the stuff; consider butter, which has that much in a tiny smidge (half a teaspoon, to be fairly precise). But oil by definition is loaded with fat (saturated or no). And that's something you just don't want too much of in your diet.

                                                                                                  The highly-processed food industry has done its best to convince us that saturated fats are evil. But the solutions to this "problem" turn out to worse than the problem itself. I'd rather eat butter or lard than margarine or Crisco any day.

                                                                                                  Thing about it is, we all need to moderate our intake of fats, saturated or otherwise. The best remedy for lard and cheese isn't Crisco and Velveeta, it's a well-balanced diet, in which dairy, red meat, and animal fats **in moderation** can definitely have a place.

                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                    Thanks for putting it into perspective, Alan.

                                                                                                2. Personally, I take most of these pronouncements with a grain of salt. (Oh, wait - salt's bad for us too, isn't it?).

                                                                                                  A lot of the times the claim of healthy/unhealthy comes from legitimate scientific research, but is waaaay over interpreted. It takes multiple studies over many years, and detailed testing and peer review, and long term follow up to confirm results, and the chain of causality is often a lot less simple than portrayed in the media or on health sites.

                                                                                                  Sometimes it's as simple as the different between correlation and causation. The fact that Condition X is correlated with Behaviour Y does not necessarily mean that Behaviour Y causes Condition X.

                                                                                                  Then there is the matter of balance and restraint. Eating huge amounts of *anything* to the exclusion of other foods can be unhealthy. You can kill yourself by drinking too much water and die from not having enough! I tend to mistrust any pronouncement that tells me to cut something totally out of my diet because it's evil incarnate, or any pronouncement that touts substance X as the cure to everything from cancer to bad breath. Both extremes are generally wrong.

                                                                                                  1. My husband recently read "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell, and they present very compelling evidence regarding the connection between milk and meat proteins and cancer (plus other maladies). The connection between the use of infant formula and Type 1 Diabetes is also well documented. I am not looking to get into the debate myself, but the book is a great place to start in answering your question.


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                                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                      is a Chow blog from 2008 on this book. Take a look at the comments.

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        Thanks for that! I, like so many of us, am trying to find my way through this maze. Btw, I added my own comment to the conversation.

                                                                                                    2. You might be interested in looking into the documentary, Forks over Knives:


                                                                                                      Dr. Campbell, one of the people who feature in the film, grew up on a milk farm and thought milk to be the perfect food. His research into the subject has lead him to a vastly different position.

                                                                                                      1. Wow this thread has gotten more interesting! A few brought up children and milk. As a pro breastfeeding mama myself, a few comments: 1. Breast is best for little babies- for more info on the differences between different types of mammal milks, you can refer to McGee's On Food and Cooking for a detailed breakdown. Also, little babies (more specifically little baby brains) NEED the so called "bad fats" to grow the tissue that covers and protects nerves. Lise Eliot's "What's Going on in There?" talks about nutrition and much more. I'm so happy I read this book. Now when my (slim) toddler eats a tablespoon or two of butter at a time, I just relax and smile.

                                                                                                        1. I've tried going dairy free to see if I feel any better. Two points:

                                                                                                          1. I noticed after eating a cheesecake that my stomach felt worse and my heart pounded for 30 mins. My stomach continued to feel worse for about 10 hours.

                                                                                                          2. Now that I've stopped eating diary I seem to feel a little healthier.

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                                                                                                          1. re: Bottomless_Pit

                                                                                                            most people eat one piece of cheese cake at a time, not the whole thing. Also cheese cake is normally very heavy in fat and sugar. That's not a fair test of dairy.

                                                                                                            according to this nutritional analysis, a serving of commercial cheese cake the calorie breakdown is 31% from carbs, 62 from fats, 7% from protein.

                                                                                                          2. Dr Mercola has a blog on Huffington Post telling us that pasteurized milk is bad for us.
                                                                                                            A science blogger, Orac (a cancer surgeon), strongly disagrees

                                                                                                            1. In my book, there are only two kinds of dairy. Dairy from corn fed cows is BAD for you. Dairy from grass fed cows is GOOD for you. Plain and simple.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                Not so simple, really, especially in parts of the country where grass can be seasonal.

                                                                                                                Back home on the family farm, the cows spent time in the pasture (which was more recreational than a major source of food). They were mainly fed alfalfa hay, along with grain and corn silage. This was the main pattern, I think, in the Northwest.

                                                                                                                1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                  Yup, simple 'cause the label always tells you whether dairy or beef is grass fed. Always! The criteria you state meets the requirements for "organic" *IF* the alfalfa, grain and corn silage were grown without pesticides and the animals are not given bovine growth hormone. To meet the requirements to label dairy "grass fed," it has to be just that, so the alfalfa would be okay but the silage (corn) would not, and I'm not sure about the grain as long as it isn't corn. An easy guideline for figuring out what grass fed diet means is to think of whether the cow could graze on it without lifting its head into an unnatural position. That's not possible with corn on the stalk.. Most grass fed beef is also organic, but if something is only labeled "organic," it does not meet the criteria for the "grass fed" label. And I don't think dairymen are allowed to bounce between grass fed in the summer and organic in the winter. I think grass fed has to be a year round commitment.

                                                                                                                  While there are benefits to organic for people like me who are allergic to growth hormone and antibiotics, organic still doesn't carry the HUGE health benefits of grass fed. Grass fed is simply amazing! It's why colesterol related health problems were completely unknown to our ancestors! '-)

                                                                                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                  Just had an interesting conversation with a cattle rancher about what constitutes "grass fed." Suffice it to say that it's not as cut-and-dried as people seem to think.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                    "Caveat emptor" should ALWAYS be at the top of anyone's shopping list! '-)