Is milk essential in our diet?

Some are led to believe that the avoidance of milk and dairy products will cause calcium deficiency, which is needed for healthy bones. However, evidence now support the health benefits of the reduction or avoidance of dairy products even though you are not allergic. Antibiotics and hormones are leaking into our milk due to modern farming, breeding and processing methods. Pasteurisation destroys many essential enzymes and the removal of fat as in skim milk removes the fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D.

Dairy products have been associated with allergies, eczema, dermatitis, acne, sinus problems and respiratory mucus congestion. Many people suffer from lactose intolerance &/or milk allergy.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found naturally in milk and milk products, due to the luck or deficiency of lactase levels. Lactase is the enzyme that breaks down lactose, is produced by the small intestine and declines after the age of two. Symptoms of lactose intolerance may include abdominal pain, gas, cramping, bloating and diarrhoea after 30 minutes to 2 hours of consuming milk or milk products.

Milk Allergy

Milk allergy is different to lactose intolerance in that people with milk allergy don’t have problems digesting lactose but the protein portion of milk called casein. Casein is very hard to digest and it is 300 times higher in cow’s milk than in human milk. Casein can be further grouped into other variants depending on the genetics of the cow that produce it. For example, the beta casein A1 variant is produced by more than 70% of Red Danish cattle, whereas the beta casein A2 variant is produced by more than 70% of Guernsey cows. Evidence suggest that Type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders such as autism is linked with milk consumption containing A1 casein.

Dairy Free Diet

People who exhibit symptoms due to milk and milk products consumption should follow a dairy free diet and need to read product labels:

Ingredients containing lactose

    • Lactose
    • Butter, Margarine
    • Cheese, cream, yoghurt
    • Whey, milk solids
    • Non-fat milk products, skim milk powder

Ingredients containing milk proteins

    • Lactoglobulin
    • Casein
    • Lactalbumin
    • Sodium caseinate

Depending on the degree of lactose malabsorption some people may tolerate some lactose usually up to 18 grams of lactose daily without symptoms. Yogurt is usually tolerated because it contains an appreciable amount of lactase produced by intrinsic Lactobacilli.

Calcium Concerns

Do you worry about enough calcium intake? There are other sources of Calcium other than milk and milk products such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. It is also important to look into factors that reduce calcium from the body such as caffeine, alcohol, smoking, urinary loss and stomach acid deficiency, and also factors that increase Calcium in the body such as adequate magnesium, vitamin D and weight bearing exercise. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium for adult men and women is 800-1000 mg daily and for adults aged 65 plus is 1000-1500 mg daily. Sometimes, supplementation of Calcium is needed to fill in the gap if some dietary restrictions apply.

There are many alternatives to milk such as soy milk, rice milk, almond milk and for those with mild lactose intolerance can have goat’s or sheep’s milk. You may also use ghee or coconut milk/cream instead of butter/buttermilk or a carob bar in the place of milk chocolate. Non-dairy gelati and fruit sorbet do not contain milk. Most big supermarkets and health food stores across Cyprus have those alternatives.

Below is a list of dairy free food products containing Calcium (mg of calcium per 100g)

About Naturopathy by Savvas Ioannides
Savvas Ioannides is a Naturopathic, Herbal and GAPS Diet practitioner who studied at Nature Care College in Sydney. Savvas uses holistic and natural therapies including Herbal remedies and Nutrition to boost your vitality and help you achieve optimum levels of health.

4 Responses to Is milk essential in our diet?

  1. Pingback: Is milk essential in our diet? | Calcium

  2. calcium304 says:

    Reblogged this on Calcium and commented:


  3. No mention of the Raw Milk benefits? Whole fat and beneficial bacteria qualities? The on going
    harassment of the raw milk industries is a health crime that consumers need to come up to speed that if you want to drink milk from a cow get the real thing! Not the stripped away version.of it. This article has a bit of ‘Stripping away’ tone to it. Raw Milk Is Very Beneficial to the human body( Mothers Milk is best, if she is fully nutrified),.
    I appreciate Savvas Loannides work. S.H. Oct.10, 2015.


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