Longevity and Dairy

I MUST confess, I enjoy… no LOVE one ounce of real whipping cream with my morning coffee. [Not sorry. Everyone needs a great reason to be happy early mornings and that is my smile in a cup]. As always I want to know both sides of research. I never want to trust blindly. Depending on who your trusted research site is depends on what type of results are found. Anything from McMaster University Canada, Pubmed, Mayo Clinic, Harvard… The list goes on. The common term I found in almost all the articles I have read was “causation does not equal correlation.” This baffles me. With so many different studies some government funded, some privately funded why in the world can they not just merge their common results and come up with more solid findings. That term really started to annoy me as it almost seemed to be their scape goat; to deflect what their studies showed. [My personal opinion.] We know what the media tells us and mainstream professionals tell us… Lets look outside the box. What is the other side of research telling us?

Canada ranks number twenty-nine in dairy consumption and the United states is sixteen. Why then does a regional analysis of the osteoarthritis market observe that the American region controls the osteoarthritis market due to a strong healthcare sector and strong patient population for osteoarthritis. We have more than 1 million people that have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in Canada alone and that number is rising and estimated to grow at a rapid rate as the baby boomers enter into their senior years. Here is food for thought. China and Japan have the lowest amount of dairy consumption and have lower osteoporosis ratings as well, hmmmmm……

The 1990s dairy campaign hit hard in Canada. Anything from slogans like “Drink what she’s wearing” Pictures of Austin powers posing provocatively with a milk moustache, Backstreet boys, being their ever dashing selves all with Milk reminiscences. Want to look and be like superman? Guess what he drinks to maintain his physique? The list goes on and on from celebrities, political figures and professional athletes. Everywhere you looked, whatever channel you watched, magazine you flipped through we were bombarded with dairy consumption. Then, after we were all primed with, you have to drink your milk, eat your cheese, have your yogurt, they targeted women in the 2000s. Women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis. We have a higher rate of bone loss. “What helps maintain our bones?” they asked. Calcium. Often there would be commercials of women eating a whole salad bowl of broccoli, and other calcium rich foods, they said “ At least three glasses of milk/day” and you wouldn’t have to worry as much about the other foods. Why wouldn’t women want to protect their bone health and age better. Let’s face it we in society no matter what generation have always been influenced on how to look better, feel better, and most of all how to age better. We were ripe for the picking.

Canada’s food guide also showed high levels of dairy consumption. Specially children. Parents want to give their children every benefit possible including nutrition so why wouldn’t they be buying all of the dairy for their children. Schools implemented milk programs which in most Canadian schools are still running today. Yes, we have changed our views a bit. Chocolate milk, strawberry milk, vanilla milk is not a healthy alternative to white milk. [Which we all know additional sugar and preservatives are not a great option for kids and should never be marketed as healthy alternatives.] As a Canadian… Or even North American society the population did not have a chance of believing different other than what Government, Doctors and other health professionals that were main stream were saying. Internet was still relatively new and people did not commonly look elsewhere for information. Not like they do today.

With all this “research” government, doctor and scientist approved the media was taught us. Why then in North America are osteoporosis rates rising? They are not falling at all. Sever breaks in people over 50 are occurring more… If calcium was the link to prevent this disease why are the rates not falling? Why are we not seeing strong middle age and seniors? Instead they are weaker, more fragile. It is the countries with less dairy consumption that have the lowest rate of osteoporosis.

You see the medical professionals and scientists were off by one letter. Vitamin D. When you have high levels of Calcium in dairy and no other balanced vitamins and minerals available to absorb it what happens is that the Calcium creates brittle bones. It does not absorb properly. In fact without a delicate balance with more calcium consumption, the body actually looses equal amounts of calcium. More does not equal more in this case. Bone should not be brittle. They need to retain the little flexibility they have so that we don’t loose our ability to be able to move freely. Our spine for example is supposed to be flexible. Start creating a more rigid structure and that creates more and more immobility and a brittle exterior, leaving us vulnerable to injuries. The push of dairy essentially encouraged us to not think of all the other minerals and vitamins as a working force and led us to believe Calcium was solely responsible for our bone health. This was a disservice to us because calcium in whole foods are absorbed at 50% versus what you find in dairy at 32%. When a person consumes other foods with calcium in it, they are getting the proper balance to help absorption rates without the negative side affects. Our bodies are delicate in nature. They are designed to have a wide variety of foods so that we can maintain the proper balance and have the ideal chemistry reaction as we digest the wide variety of food.

A recent study in 2018 by Harvard stated “Many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. These symptoms can range from mild to severe... Many dairy products are high in saturated fats, and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for heart disease... High levels of galactose, a sugar released by the digestion of lactose in milk, have been studied as possibly damaging to the ovaries and leading to ovarian cancer... In a Harvard study of male health professionals, men who drank two or more glasses of milk a day were almost twice as likely to develop advanced prostate cancer as those who didn't drink milk at all. “

Stephen Walsh, PhD April 26, 2007, explained that by consuming calcium in the form of dairy the body also looses calcium, thus resulting two-thirds of calcium absorbed is wasted, where foods like low oxalate green leafy vegetables provide plenty absorbed calcium while minimizing calcium losses. Another concern with consuming so much dairy is the inflammation it causes in the body. Inflammation in the body on a regular basis can cause pain and eventually degeneration such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and… You guessed it Osteoarthritis. For myself, this is vital knowledge. I have titanium rods in my bones. There is not as much flexibility in them because of that. I can not afford to have brittle bones leaving me at further risk of injury. This is a topic I take very personally. Why would we consume something in such large quantities if it means that it has the potential to make our bodies more inflamed? Isn’t that what we are trying to avoid?

The solution is simple. Back to basics. Change the way you think. [Change is hard and scary, but the other side is so beneficial.] You can begin with starting to increase your fresh vegetables. Broccoli, kale, spinach, arugula, turnip greens and even dandelion greens are excellent sources. Other options are podded peas, acorn/butternut squash, sweet potatoes and parsley are just some of the variety that you can add to your diet. Ensure you are getting the right ratio of vitamin D. Without vitamin D your body WILL NOT absorb the calcium you do put in your body. Sun light is the best way to achieve this. [Sunscreens inhibit vitamin D production]. Foods that will also help are whole eggs, real butter, fish, liver and seafood. Vitamin K is also important. You can easily incorporate this by adding cabbage, watercress, pickles, cranberries, blackberries and pears. Herbs for cooking that add flavour and aroma are basil, sage and thyme. Then there is vitamin B6 chicken, turkey and beef. Peppers, soybeans, chickpeas and lentils give a person lots of variety. Lastly but certainly not least is magnesium. Magnesium is essential and works in precise ratio to calcium. Without magnesium calcium cannot even be absorbed into the bones, teeth or connective tissues. Almonds, kidney/black beans, cashews, potatoes with skin, pumpkin and raisins are amazing foods that can easily be added to any diet. There you have it. The top five ways of increasing your bone health while not overdosing on your calcium and causing yourself harm later in life. Were you surprised at some of this information? Are you already consuming a wide variety of the foods that were listed? If so give yourself a great big hug. If not, ask yourself “what can I add to what I am already doing? What can I take away that is no longer serving me?” I am in no way against dairy, I am not saying never eat it. I am posing the question; is it balanced to consume so much dairy for my longevity?

Jodi Harty. RMT, Reiki Master, CST2, SER1 CHC, CLC

1 Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine March 28, 2007

2 Harvard School of Public Health July 25, 2018


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