Milk...It does the adult body no good!
Byon Monday, April 03, 2017 7:50 AM
The subject of milk is rather complicated, and it sparks just about as much controversy as the subject of fats. Many alternative practitioners feel that it’s not necessary for humans to consume cow’s milk, and link its consumption to health problems such as ear infections, allergies, cancer, and diabetes. The medical community has convinced us that if we don’t drink enough milk, our bones will disintegrate. The American Dairy Association’s sponsored media, fools us into thinking that we’ll be cool, like the celebrities with milk mustaches; if we drink lots of milk. But if you do drink milk, it’s important to know where your milk has come from and what it has been through.
If I were to ask you to picture a cow, you would most likely see a cow in your mind’s eye, grazing in an open pasture, like the ones you’ve probably seen before on small family farms. Those are the lucky cows, compared to most of the cows bred for diary production in this country. Recently I toured one of the largest commercial dairy operations here in Michigan – a factory facility that milked 2,400 cows twice a day! The cows were kept in intense confinement, with a choice of either eating their grain mixture while standing on hard cement coated with manure, or lying on sawdust bedding in their own individual stalls. The cows were not allowed access to pasture or direct sunlight. Although cows in a natural environment can produce milk for more than 15, 16, or even 17 years, it is common for conventional dairy cows to stop producing milk at 3 to 4 years old.
Not only is the unnatural building environment a problem for the cows, but it can be a huge problem for the people around it as well. The massive amount of waste produced on a factory farm is overwhelming, and can have devastating effects on the surrounding environment. Over one-fifth of the country’s dairy products are produced in the central valley of California, creating as much waste as a city of 21 million people! Much of that waste is forced unnaturally into the environment, polluting our lakes, rivers, and streams. On the other hand, small farms are able to recycle manure back into the earth to enrich the soil.
A cow’s natural diet consists mostly of grass, but since there isn’t enough grass to go around on the factory farm, today’s factory cow is fed a diet of mostly grain, and “other things” that it would not normally eat. The bulk of the feeds consist of corn and soy, which contain 80% of all herbicides used in the U.S. In fact, when we think of pesticides, we usually think of produce; however, animal products can contain up to 14 times more pesticides than plants!1 Besides containing pesticides, a grain diet decreases the CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin D content in milk. Despite the fact that cows have four stomachs, a grain diet is still difficult for them to properly digest. Grain feeding leads to digestive disorders and other health problems that contribute to the use of antibiotics and other drugs.
If you’re like a growing number of people today, you would rather not take antibiotics when you get sick. You may even be proud of the fact that you haven’t had to use them in years. However, if you drink commercial milk or eat commercially raised meats and poultry, you could be consuming antibiotics on a daily basis without even knowing it! Over 50% of all the antibiotics produced in this country are mixed directly into animal feed. Ideally, antibiotics should be used in farming only when necessary to treat infection. However, due to the real fear of infectious outbreak occurring in confined, factory farmed animals, your steaks, hamburgers, chicken, and hotdogs are all laced with antibiotics. Milk alone contains traces of up to 80 different antibiotics!
Heavy doses of hormones are routinely used to fatten animals as quickly as possible. In dairy farming, rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is used to force the cows to produce 4 times more than they naturally would. Back in 1930 the average dairy cow produced 12 lbs of milk per day, in 1988 the average was 39 lbs per day (due to grain feeding and selective breeding), and now with rBGH the average factory farmed dairy cow produces 80 – 120 lbs of milk per day! This sounds like a great think for dairy farmers, right? However, when you mess with Mother Nature, you will suffer the consequences. FDA documents show that cows injected with rBGH are 79% more likely to contract mastitis.3 In 1991, a report on Monsanto’s BGH test herd at the University of Vermont found the same kind of problems identified by the FDA, plus an alarming number of dead and deformed calves born to cows treated with BGH.4 Other problems include reproductive anomalies, increased need for antibiotics, digestive disorders, enlarged hocks and lesions, and more. According to the Humane Farming Association, “The FDA admits that BGH injections increase sickness and drug use in dairy cows.” Consumer’s Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, reports that “because of increased udder infections, it is more likely that milk from treated cows will be of lower quality – containing more pus and bacteria – than milk from untreated cows.”
Cows with engorged, infected utters pass bacteria and pus into their milk – making a sterilization process like pasteurization sound like a good thing, right? Well, maybe not. Pasteurization is a process of heat-treating milk to kill bacteria. Although Louis Pasteur developed this technique for preserving beer and wine, he was not responsible for applying it to milk. That was done at the end of the 1800s as a temporary solution until dairies could find a way to produce cleaner milk. But instead of cleaning up milk production, dairies used pasteurization as a way to cover up dirty milk. As milk became increasingly mass produced, pasteurization became necessary for large dairies to increase their profits. So the public then had to be convinced that pasteurized milk was safer than raw milk. Soon raw milk consumption was blamed for all sorts of diseases and outbreaks, until the public was finally convinced that pasteurized milk was superior to milk in its natural state.
Today if you mention raw milk, people gasp and utter ridiculous statements such as, “You can die from drinking raw milk!” But the truth is that there are far more risks from drinking pasteurized milk than unpasteurized milk. The reason for this is because milk naturally contains healthy bacteria that inhibit the growth of undesirable and dangerous organisms. Without these friendly bacteria, pasteurized milk is more susceptible to contamination.
Not only does pasteurization kill the friendly bacteria, it also greatly diminishes the nutrient content of the milk. Pasteurized milk has up to a 66% loss of vitamins A, D, E, and F (fatty acids). Vitamin C loss usually exceeds 50%. Heat affects water soluble vitamins and can make them 38% to 80% less effective. Vitamins B6 and B12 are completely destroyed during pasteurization. Pasteurization also destroys beneficial enzymes, antibodies, and hormones. Pasteurization destroys lipase (an enzyme that breaks down fat), which impairs fat metabolism and the ability to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins A and D. (The diary industry is aware of the diminished vitamin A and D available in commercial milk, so it fortifies milk with synthetic vitamin A and D.)
As the dairy industry has become more concentrated, many processing plants have switched to ultra pasteurization, which involves exposing the milk to higher temperatures for longer periods of time. The industry says this is necessary because many microorganisms have become heat resistant and now survive ordinary pasteurization. Milk that has been ultra pasteurized is virtually sterile and has a longer shelf life – up to four weeks! Although the milk is sold in the refrigerator section it can be stored unrefrigerated until opened.
Naturally, real milk should have a layer of cream on top. In the past, the thickness of the cream was a measure of quality milk. As the quality of milk has declined over the years, so has the cream content. To hide the lack of cream in the milk, the dairy industry uses homogenization to break up the fat globules and evenly distribute them throughout the milk. This process unnaturally increases the surface area of milk fat, exposing it to air, in which oxidation occurs and increases the susceptibility to spoilage. The minute fat globules are also able to unnaturally pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, bypassing the normal digestive and metabolic process and creating toxic by-products. Homogenization has been linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis.
Considering how commercial milk is processed, it’s no wonder that millions of Americans are allergic to it. An allergic reaction to dairy can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting (even projectile vomiting), stomach pain, cramping, gas, bloating, nausea, headaches, sinus/chest congestion, and sore or scratchy throat. Pasteurized milk consumption has been linked to many other illnesses as well, such as asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, chronic infections (especially upper respiratory and ear infections), obesity, osteoporosis, and prostate, ovarian, breast, and colon cancer.
Information in this article is provided from Well Being Journal, September/October 2003, Volume 12, #5.
1 Nutrition News and Views, Nov/Dec 1999, Vol. 3, No. 6, p. 2.
3 “Down on the Farm: The Real BGH story – Animal Health Problems, Financial Troubles,” by Mark Kastel.
4 “Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone: Alarming Tests, Unfounded Approval: The story Behind the Rush to Bring rBGH to Market,” by Andrew Christiansen. (Rural Vermont, 1991)