Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It at all Costs

by

GOT MILK?

These days, it seems like almost everybody does. Celebrities, athletes, and even former president Clinton’s head of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, are all proud to wear the white “milk mustache.” After all, everyone knows that you need milk to be healthy …

Dairy is nature’s perfect food — but only if you’re a calf.

If that sounds shocking to you, it’s because very few people are willing to tell the truth about dairy. In fact, criticizing milk in America is like taking on motherhood, apple pie, or baseball. But that’s just what I’m about to do.

Based on the research and my experience practicing medicine, I typically advise most of my patients to avoid dairy products completely. I like ice cream just as much as the next person, but as a scientist I have to look honestly at what we know. In today’s blog I will explore many of the documented ill-effects of dairy, and give you six reasons you should avoid dairy at all costs.

The Reason I Have Problems with the USDA Food Pyramid

I’m aware that my advice to avoid dairy flies in the face of the new, “up-to-date” food pyramid from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA’s pyramid recommends drinking 3 glasses of milk a day. What’s wrong with that? Well, for one thing, it’s not a recommendation that’s based on strict science.

Some of the “experts” who helped create the pyramid actually work for the dairy industry, which makes the US Department of agriculture’s recommendations reflect industry interests, not science or our best interests.

In fact, Walter Willett, M.D., Ph.D — the second-most-cited scientist in all of clinical medicine and the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health — is one of the pyramid’s most vocal critics. He’s even called its guidelines “udderly ridiculous.” That’s not something a Harvard scientist says lightly.

But Dr. Willett is right. The pyramid just isn’t based on key scientific findings about health. Just take a look at some of the pyramid’s recommendations — and why I disagree with them.

1. Consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while staying within your body’s energy needs.

Sounds sensible — but which food groups? If you choose dairy, meat, fats, and carbohydrates, the “perfect” meal could be a cheeseburger, milkshake, and fries with ketchup (potatoes and tomatoes are the two top vegetables consumed in America). Generic advice like that is pretty meaningless and potentially harmful.

2. Control your caloric intake to manage body weight.

Again, that sounds good, but as I wrote in my book UltraMetabolism, even the best-trained nutritionists and dietitians can’t come close to correctly estimating their own caloric intake in a day. Also consider this: Is it okay to consume all of your calories from cola or ice cream as long as you stay within my caloric needs? Of course not. So this is more useless advice.

3. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk products.

Well, fruits, veggies, and whole grains are great. Milk — not so much. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

4. Choose carbohydrates wisely.

Who could argue with that? But how do they define “wisely”? 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, avoid flour products (except as a treat), and stick to whole-food carbohydrates like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

5. Choose to prepare food with little salt.

That’s not bad advice. But it doesn’t make sense if most of what you eat is packaged or processed foods that you don’t actually prepare. For most Americans who eat half of their meals outside their homes, this isn’t helpful. A better recommendation would be to avoid packaged, processed, canned, prepared, and fast foods (unless you know exactly how they are made).

6. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Sounds good — but if you’re usually drinking two bottles of wine a night, then one seems like moderation! I think a better suggestion is to limit your alcohol consumption to half a drink a day or 3 glasses a week (the amount that seems to have the most health benefit).

7. Don’t eat unsafe foods.

Of course you shouldn’t leave your egg salad out in the hot sun or toss your salad with hands that just handled raw chicken coated with salmonella. But the food pyramid guidelines don’t mention pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified foods, despite scientific evidence of their harm. Shame on the USDA!

You can see now why I have big problems with the food pyramid! Its guidelines try to sound sensible — while still protecting the interests of the food industry, the agriculture industry, and all of the lobbyists paying for the elections of the Congress. That way everybody’s happy …

But I’m not, and you shouldn’t be either. The public just isn’t served by this watered down, confusing, and useless pyramid. Worse, some of the recommendations are downright harmful –like the one to drink more milk and dairy products.

The Truth about Dairy

According to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:

1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures. Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!

2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.

5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

6. Not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

Based on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:

• Everybody needs calcium –

      but probably not as much as our government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA).

• Calcium probably doesn’t prevent broken bones.

      Few people in this country are likely to reduce their fracture risk by getting more calcium.

• Men may not want to take calcium supplements.

      Supplements of calcium and

vitamin D

      may be reasonable for women.

• Dairy may be unhealthy.

    Advocating dairy consumption may have negative effects on health.

If all that isn’t enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth noting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the “milk mustache” ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly:

      • Milk doesn’t benefit sports performance.

 

      • There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!

 

      • Dairy is linked to prostate cancer.

 

      • It’s full of saturated fat and is linked to

heart disease

      .

 

      • Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.

 

      • Dairy aggravates

irritable bowel syndrome

    .

Simply put, the FTC asked the dairy industry, “Got Proof?” — and the answer was NO!

Plus, dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:

Allergies

      • Sinus problems

 

      • Ear infections

 

      • Type 1 diabetes

 

      • Chronic constipation

 

    • Anemia (in children)

Due to these concerns, many have begun to consider raw milk an alternative. But that isn’t really a healthy form of dairy either …

Yes, raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization — but to me, these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential risks.

From an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn’t domesticate animals and weren’t able to drink milk (unless some brave hunter-gather milked a wild tiger or buffalo!).

If you don’t believe that, consider this: The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase — the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk — sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned.

Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.

So here is my advice for dealing with dairy.

5 Tips for Dealing with Dairy

• Don’t rely on dairy for healthy bones.

      If you want healthy bones, get plenty of exercise and supplement with 2,000 IU of

vitamin D

      daily.

• Get your calcium from food.

      These include dark green leafy vegetables, sesame tahini, sea vegetables, and sardines or salmon with the bones.

• Try giving up all dairy.

      That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. You should notice improvements with your

sinuses

      , post-nasal drip,

headaches

      ,

irritable bowel syndrome

      , energy, and weight. Then start eating dairy again and see how you feel. If you feel worse, you should try to give it up for life.

• If you can tolerate dairy, use only raw, organic dairy products.

      I suggest focusing on fermented products like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, occasionally.

• If you have to feed your child formula from milk, don’t worry.

    The milk in infant formula is hydrolyzed or broken down and easier to digest (although it can still cause allergies). Once your child is a year old, switch him or her to real food and almond milk.

Still got milk? I hope not! Remember, dairy is not crucial for good health. I encourage you to go dairy-free and see what it does for you.

Now I’d like to hear from you …

Do you agree or disagree that dairy is bad for you?

Have you experienced any problems consuming dairy?

What changes — for better or worse — have you experienced if you’ve tried eliminating dairy?

Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below…

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

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44 Responses to Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It at all Costs

  1. Crystal March 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Is goat milk OK, or would you put it in the same category as cow’s milk?

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff April 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

      Hi Crystal,

      Unfortunately, there is no black or white answer for this as each of us will react to proteins in food based on our own health status and biochemical individuality. In general, goats milk is in the same category as cow’s milk. For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  2. Erica March 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    I agree. I am dairy free about 95% of the time. Sometimes I really crave it when I have a bad day and if I give in and have it, I crave it for at least a week! Then I also get a runny nose and tummy ache!

  3. david March 20, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I am 2 months into losing weight and exercising to change my high A1c levels and blood sugar levels. I have been largely successful by avoiding all pure carbohydrates ( oatmeal whole grain pasta, even low carb whole wheat bread) even the healthy ones because i seemed to spike from them. thus in the am I dont want to spike my sugar since i have (but am now getting over) dawn phenomenon. thus i eat 0% fat greek yogurt plain with a 1/4 cup of berries. this is my every morning routine except for weekends when i have time to cook egg whites and lowfat turkey.
    Is this dairy bad for me.
    There isnt much left to eat with carbs out of the picture until my sugar numbers are completely normal when I will add back whole grains in modest quantities. a

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff April 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      Hi David,

      You seem like the perfect person to try Dr Hyman’s The Blood Sugar Solution! Go to http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com to learn which food to eat and which to avoid. Hint: Dr Hyman suggests avoiding dairy for 6 weeks. There are tons of tasty recipes which are available for you to play with too! For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  4. jen March 21, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    I agree with this. I have removed dairy and my joint pain got better along with morning sinus congestion. The issue now is I have multiple food allergies to all nuts seeds beans and grains including rice. I also have excess oxalate in my urine and need to follow a lox oxalate diet. This removes many high calcium veges from my list. I added back in dairy because I had no food choices. I feel between a rock and a hard place.

  5. Kumo March 28, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    I am dairy free for the past 12 days and already see that my skin condition (cheeks were rough for the past few years – doctors diagnosed it as sun sensitivity and asked me to apply spf 30 every day I go out) improved and its now soft and supple like before. I am not sure if it’s the result of going dairy free or something else but I am leaning towards the earlier cause. I will continue for few more days and see if my skin still feels better. Later I will add dairy products and notice the condition of my skin. Anyways, you mention switching daily with almond milk in you article so I am curious what goes into making almond milk and do you have any scientic evidence that almond milk is good for us (or rather not bad for us ?) ?? Almond may be good but almond milk ?? Almond doesn’t naturally produce milk (If you cold press almond I think oil comes out but not a lot of milk).. Appreciate your response.

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff April 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Hi Kumo,

      Almond, hemp or any nut or seed “milk” is a great alternative to dairy as they tend to be hypoallergenic and low glycemic as long as you opt for the unsweetened version! This helps cool inflammation in the body and sets you up for healing and thriving.

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

      • Elisabeth May 5, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

        too bad all of those have gums (as a thickener) in them. they give me a headache!

        • laura November 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

          Elisabeth, why not try making your own? A quick internet search will turn up lots of how-to posts and videos. Then, you’re in complete control of what’s in the almond milk. I make my own and my whole family – from my toddler son to my picky spouse, love it!

  6. James April 18, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    Humans werent ever designed. We clearly evolved with a long history or consumption of raw meats, from the land, sea, and sky. We are clearly not herbivores. Im sure a non-sedentary could eat what ever they pleasef. Im also as sure that an individual with a bmi lower then 18% body fat would eventually suffer from a no or low fat diet. Please blame the process of food production before the product, as doctors should indeed be biochemists before all else

  7. Julie Grey May 13, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    Hi Very interested in your theory on Dairy,Im a self confessed milkaholic and butter also I also suffer from headaches on 2 days each month,exercise helps alot but Im now going to try going Dairy free for awhile to see if this will help,I walk and cycle on average 12 miles 4 days a week and yet I cant loose weight Im 5 ft 2 and weigh 152 lbs,I dont eat fast food drink any types of fizzy drinks but I eat alot of bread and Dairy,could this possibly be a problem.1Id love to have an idea,thanks!

  8. Rob May 22, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    I have suffered many years with pimples. I tried most acne medications. Nothing worked. I tried scrubbing face. That didn’t work. Then I heard that you get pimples because you Masturbate to much… Whatever. It’s embarrassing to think people think of you as a Chronic masturbater just because you are full of pimples on your face. I decided that I had enough. It must be in the food I consume. Guess what the main ingredient for pimples getting pimples is? DAIRY! My favorite foods as a child/teen were Pizza, Cheeseburgers, Ice Cream, Enchiladas, yogurts, Chocolates. I stopped consuming dairy, and now my pimples are virtually gone. There are times however, in cafeterias or restaurants where dairy is even in the food that is not supposed to have dairy. And so sometimes I break out in pimples because of it. As long as I know what foods to stay away from next time ( dairy foods or foods that contain hidden dairy ), my face will continue to be clear. Oh and, people tell me I am looking good and I lost weight! So yeah, Stay away from dairy if you want to be healthy. Listen to your own body. Exercise your right as a human to think outside the box.

  9. Nancy Moody, RN July 31, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    Thank you so much for this article as I had my Grandson out for dinner last night and he wanted milk as it is “good for you if you want to play sports”. I tried to tell him about the dangers of dairy products and then told him I would show him on the internet.
    I have been off dairy for years and so many health problems have cleared up. No more sinus, irritable bowls etc. As a child I recognized that milk bothered me but did have ice cream, butter, cheese. I now stay away from dairy products as much as possible and now do extra green shakes with greens (from my tower garden) to get calcium. I take Juice Plus+ to fill the gap.

  10. Ella November 7, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    I’ve been flirting with the idea of removing dairy from my diet for quite some time now. Not too long ago, I tried going a week without it and I felt great. However, my cravings got the best of me and I went back to eating it. Currently, I’m working on permanently removing dairy. I’ve limited my intake tremendously and substitute it for other ingredients. This was a great article and very motivating for me and my journey. Thank you :)

  11. Kim Olsen December 20, 2013 at 4:04 am #

    Hi about 20 years ago I gave up dairy firstly completely for a few years then almost completely until about 7 years ago when it became completely.
    I had many ear nose throat and tonsil infections as a child and then sinus and hay fever problems for many years getting quite debilitating towards my forties. The first time it took nearly a year to clear my body of the mucus. I still got colds and clearings in that time.
    Now 20 years later I am 30+kgs lighter and sitting on normal weight as per bmi scales and feeling the best I ever have.
    I have also given up alcohol, gluten, sugar and all drugs including caffine and headache tablets for between 5 and 10 years.

  12. kristy March 20, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    That was a fantastic article, very interesting thank you. I don’t eat a lot of dairy but I did go off it for a while as I found when my crohn’s disease is active i become intolerant and even when its under control excessive amounts can cause me issues. I also have terrible bones and will most likely end up with osteoporosis when I’m older the doctors put me on caltrate plus D supplements, should I just take Vitamin D tablets instead?

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 20, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

      Hi Kristy,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. Please go to: http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/

      Did you know you can work with Dr. Hyman’s nutritionists virtually? For personalized nutrition coaching where you can receive 1:1 support with Registered Dietitians, please see: http://store.drhyman.com/Store/List/Coaching-Programs.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  13. kreed April 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    We have been meat and dairy for over a year and feel great. My own cholesterol went from 334 to 196 in less than a year!​
    My brother and his wife have become interested and started to make changes with their diet. They have a 3 year old with leukemia and are wanting to give him the best chances for a full and fast recovery and that is why many of the vegan ideas seem so ‘right’ for them. They are excited about how they feel and how their child feels with the few changes they have made. They are tired of the french fries, hamburgs and milk that the hospitals serve, when they brought up taking dairy out of their sons diet the doctor was not happy. He told them there is a lot of good stuff in milk and made a real point of saying he needs all the calcium he needs because of the medications he is on.
    Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas or experience with this? They really feel that a change in diet would help their son but their doctor is telling them it would be a bad idea.
    Thanks

  14. John Morgan May 7, 2014 at 12:50 am #

    Hey there. I’m vegan so technically none of this matters to me personally, at least in a health sense. It matters more in cultural ways. Essentially my life is super duper difficult knowing this kind of information and simultaneously knowing of the willful ignorance most people covet so dearly. This probably doesn’t directly matter to you but I spend a great deal of time thinking about it. I’m truly upset that our country, the United States, is so steeped in misinformation. Not only do I advocate equal rights for nonhuman animals, I find it absurd to think human beings don’t deserve to live in the light of the truth. It all sounds hokey, this culture down plays it but this information can change lives so I guess I probably just want to thank you for it.

  15. Lucy May 7, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    I just want to say that after only 8 days of no dairy I feel amazing. My skin is better (I suffer hormonal adult acne) I am sleeping better, feel much more energetic and just feel ‘cleaner’ inside and out.

    I am going to keep this up and hopefully I’ll continue to feel better and better.

  16. Matina May 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    I seem to become very irritable, moody or gloomy the day after consuming dairy such as ice cream. Could this be related to the dairy or something else. I had a food sensitivity test done and dairy was high on the list.

  17. Victoria May 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Just to add to what John has said, there are many benefits to humans brought by being dairy free, but also, the more of us that take that step the better for the animals that suffer in the inhumane and unethical factory farms.

  18. Joshua Groves May 29, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    I would like to see the sources of you information. While you have mentioned them, links or specific publication information would be helpful.

  19. Michele Langley June 26, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I’ve decided to give up dairy and see if it helps with my stomach aches after EVERY mean, acne and the obnoxious clearing of my throat that I do ALL day long!!! Today was the first day I didn’t have cream in my coffee, or any other form of dairy that I knew of. I paid close attention and I DID NOT HAVE TO CLEAR MY THROAT TODAY AT ALL. Now, how weird is that!? Could it really be an allergy to dairy that causes this… I’d say so. Also, a few years ago I finally figured out I had to be allergic to dairy because whenever I eat pizza, or cheesecake I am doubled over in pain and I feel lethargic. I can’t help it, I truly think its all related to UNECESSARY dairy intake. I too have been STRUGGLING with weight loss and I am hoping that this is part of that as well. (I kind of think I have a gluten issue too, but I can only drop one major thing at a time) thanks Dr Mark for the great article.

  20. Hannah July 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    This article is quite interesting. For the past few years, I have suffered with acne. As a teenager, you usually get acne in your “T” zone (e.g. the nose, chin, and forehead), but I noticed that I was not having trouble in that area. It was all in my cheeks (hormonal acne). My mother is a huge dairy advocate, thus I ate a lot of dairy growing up. I would have yogurt at least twice a day along with cheese and milk. After I went to college, I read lots of articles on diet vs complexion, and I gave up dairy. My acne was disappearing week after week. My skin has never looked so good. Anytime I eat any dairy, my skin fires up again.

  21. Mercedes Hayman July 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    Thank you for your article. I have skeletal osteoporosis and was recommended to
    drink 1 glass of a2 milk daily, as an alternative to dairy. Now I am confused, as it may have been further exasperated my condition. Why do medical professionals recommend drinking milk?

  22. ray July 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    The sought for calcium in dairy is meant for baby cows – not for adults. Milk is responsible for osteoporosis to a large degree, Also fattening and plugs the main arteries of the heart. Soy and tofu drinks are much better for our health. Soy cheese products are also available. I prefer margarine on bread – not butter. Thanks, Ray Mckinzie

  23. Marina Bols July 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Hallo,
    we follow sinds several months the suggestions from Grain Brain and Weath Belly and gues what. My husband lost 22 pounds, i lost 6 pounds. I am still convinced that eating no grains etc…, lots of vegetables, good fats, good proteins is a good way to inprove health. But know by reading Mark Hyman website and blog i release that i have to stop for a test all diary. I don’t drink milk but love cheese (oat), cappuchino with creme, yoghourt etc… Perhaps that is the reason why i don’t lose so many pounds.
    I will search for the books here in Belgium. So if i write some words wrong excuse me.
    Marina

  24. Martha July 24, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Dr. Hyman seems to think that organic kefir and yogurt are ok in very small amounts. Why are these fermented dairy foods ok in small amounts? And why aren’t they ok for daily comsumption?

    Clearly fermentation improves dairy enough for Dr. Hyman to deem it acceptable. What distinctions is he making? What are the differences?

  25. andrea July 26, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    thanks for this post. it seems we’ve all been misled about the effects of dairy – but breaking it down scientifically seems to be the best way to view the problem. if it were true that dairy could prevent osteoporosis – for instance – than americans would have the lowest rates of that disease. but the truth is the opposite. what has been proven in numerous studies is that cow’s milk is not a suitable alternative to breast milk for infants. and looking at the whole milk conundrum biologically puts it in another light – ALL species of mammals are lactose intolerant by the time they reach adulthood, and no other species on earth consumes the milk of another species – except in extreme circumstances where other forms of sustenance aren’t available (snakes have been found sucking on cow’s udders when they can’t find other food, for example). so what makes us humans think we’re any different? the sad fact is that consumption of dairy and other animal products causes the body to leech calcium and other nutrients from our bones to correct the horrendous PH imbalances that come as a result. so drinking milk doesn’t do anything but further weaken our bones. that, and cause a whole host of other problems. when I finally gave up dairy five years ago, several good things happened. I became more sensitive to insulin (I’m a type 1 diabetic), my ear infections stopped (I used to get two or three a year, ever since I was a child), and my skin cleared up (I used to have horrible acne). now I know this is only anecdotal, but I believe that dairy consumption may have led to some of the health problems I have today – and it’s only been through eliminating dairy from my diet that any of these problems have cleared up.

  26. Sarah Schlomer August 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    I have Interstitial cystitis. I swore off Dairy for 4 years. When I added it back into my diet I found bladder relief. I Only have the grass fed, non GMO, no preservatives kind. I can’t digest meat or grains and beans are an issue too. I agree that milk is a problem, but I believe that most of our “normal” foods are just awful for us and 90% of Americans will not go through the elimination diet to figure out what will and wont work for them. I did go through the hell that we call the elimination diet and I can honestly say I am still alive because of it. I am literal not figurative.

  27. Sarah Schlomer August 4, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    I have Interstitial Cystitis. I went through the hell we know to be the Elimination Diet. I lived without Dairy products for 4 years. When I added Grass fed, Non GOM, Preservative free Dairy products back into my diet my bladder found relief. I also take vitamin D, but I also take A for proper vitamin D abortion. I fully agree with what Dr. Hyman has to say. Especially when he talks about our food pyramid. However, I believe it is best for people everywhere to go through the Elimination Diet. I truly believe 90% of our regular American diet is toxic. I am still alive because of this diet. I was way over weight and pissing blood for almost a full year before I found out that I had I.C. and had to go through the Elimination process.

  28. Erica August 9, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    As a patient with moderate interstitial cystitis, IBS, and allergies that get worse every year, I have been through many elimination diets- but the most obvious I have not yet tried- dairy! With IC, I need some non-acidic/bland substance in my diet or I end up in a flare. Thus far, almond milk has taken the place of milk. That has worked out wonderfully! But just now after reading this article, I realize that I’ve been consuming dairy in multiple other ways between cheeses, yogurt, and at restaurants. I am convinced I should give dairy-free a serious go. When I went gluten-free, it helped manage my flares and allergies much better than my diet prior. As a full time primary care nurse practitioner, I am very frustrated with Western medicine guidelines, and never say the empty lines “oh, just eat more fiber” or “just eat more grains” or “drink milk”- these vague phrases I still hear providers saying everywhere. From a provider standpoint, I have started advising any patients with GI disturbances/Chronic urinary disturbances to take a hard look at the diet, keep a food and voiding/elimination diary as well as eliminating gluten and dairy from the diet for several weeks and judge how they feel thereafter. Perhaps now it is time to take my own advice, commit to strictly dairy free, and observe for improvement! This article makes excellent points about the stagnation in recommended dietary changes from the western medicine standpoint particularly applying to patients with chronic inflammatory conditions that get little relief and tend to suffer more than others due to the ‘bigger picture’ never being shown to them. We must empower those with chronic inflammatory conditions to reach their maximum potential of health by understanding their unique body needs/habits/and abilities. Thanks for the push to make this change!

  29. Colleen August 12, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Thank you for this article. I gave up all dairy almost 4 weeks ago. I have not had any dairy. My sinuses feel a tad worse and overall not feeling great. Is it normal to feel worse before you feel better? I’ve also reduced my sugar and gluten significantly. Thanks!

  30. AK September 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Dairy free for almost 2 years. All my symptoms are gone (body ache, joint pains, headaches, sinus, allergies, sharp groin pains, and high cholesterol).

  31. Hellui October 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Hello, I would like to know what non-dairy brands you recommend, like which almond, soy-milk or yogurt and so… Because there are too many brands out there at the market, but obviously not any of them is a good choice, concerning sugars, chemicals, process methods, etc.

  32. Arrows October 10, 2014 at 5:16 am #

    I had a year of cancer problems throughout 2012 and changed my whole approach to food. Till then I’d been eating what I thought was healthy and certainly have always kept fit and quite lean. The changes I made included dropping all dairy (all except eggs), sugar other than naturally found in fruits and vegetables, all gluten containing products, as much processed foods as I can and red meat – all at once. Because of the rampant nature of my (then) cancer, I decided to treat the diet changes as ‘all or nothing’. I’ve substituted cows milk with rice milk though I hardly have any of that either. Fortunately I have a vegetarian wife who is an awesome cook so we eat a lot of great chic pea or lentil or vegetable based meals. It takes a while to learn and adapt but OMG what a difference it has made. I have lost some weight overall but I have a very different body composition now. Exercise is far more productive and even though I’m well into my 50’s, I am gaining muscle, improving running speed and flexibility and with no more effort than in the past (maybe less). And I’m healthy! No colds or cold sores (both previously frequent curses) and skin that is more youthful. I also have been a sufferer from ‘Grosvenors Disease’ which is a skin disorder where raised and itchy pimple like spots appear on the upper torso. Very hard to treat and with all my running, was a constant menace. With my new diet, one day about 6 months ago I realised I had no more evidence of the Grosevors Disease either and no sign since. I do eat a fair few eggs and nuts and am aware of the views on over eating on these from one health warning or other but my blood tests and other tests as part of my monitoring for cancer shows nothing but good results (excellent actually). Get rid of dairy other than eggs, get rid of sugar that is added to anything and get rid of gluten…those to me are the main killers.

  33. Sarah October 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    I have been a vegetarian since I was a toddler. I am extremely healthy, but, I have been addicted to dairy for way too long. I decided to go vegan at age 39. WOW! I always assumed that I inherited my constantly runny nose from my Grandma (who always had handkerchiefs) and that nature made my right breast larger than my left. In two months, my nose stopped, my moodiness during my period went away, my skin cleared, and my breasts actually became the same size! I always thought I would have surgery to fix this one day! It was a miracle! My best friend who has a PHD and is a Hindu thought it was in my head. He convinced me to eat dairy again on our vacation to a national park. We were exercising allot and he convinced me I just lost weight and exercised the fat off, thus evening my breasts, ect. NO! We exercised allot, yet with dairy, my breast ballooned out to be larger OVER NIGHT, my body got covered in zits, my nose began to flow without warning, dripping like a faucet! I became super moody like I was a cow! My head hurt, I was tired, my breast felt as if it was being pulled down and it enraged me. Just like the American dairy industry is cruel to cows, I felt like one of those tortured cows. It was not in my head. I am miserable and detoxing now, and will never, ever, ever touch dairy again. I hope that it will not take me two more months to get my breasts to match and I hope it is not too late. It is serious and I do not think our generation has actually figured this out yet, but dairy ruins your breasts! It is real! I fixed mine, something that bothered me for decades, and then with one weekend of cheese, sour cream, milk, paneer, and butter, my body ruined again! I think people need to change and soon or we will all be huge, miserable, moody, cows! Literally! Vegan made me feel good, never get pms, have a perfect body and no gross nose slime! It is real……

  34. April October 27, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    I just want to comment as yet another person that can vouch about how much dropping dairy makes a difference in your life! Already a vegetarian, I never thought about dropping dairy before. Family and friends already made me feel like my diet was “weird” and “inconvenient.” However, I have always suffered from pimples, an irritable bowel, and frequent sinus infections. Following the birth of my first child, my husband and I found that she was very fussy. Unsatisfied with the brush-off answer of “must be colic,” we turned to my diet since I was exclusively breast feeding. Turns out mysterious “colic” is just a blanket statement for digestive upset. I completely eliminated all dairy (and soy eventually, too) and wow what a difference. It took about a month to see the full effect, but my daughter was no longer refluxing or crying all night long. My irritable bowel cleared up, I haven’t had a pimple since, and I have had zero sinus infections. My husband, an asthmatic who eliminated dairy with me, has had zero asthma attacks. Not to mention he’s lost weight and also has perfectly clear skin. Dairy-free is a real solution. Our culture doesn’t want to hear it, but dairy intake just isn’t healthy. Now I know there are people out there who argue that unpasteurized dairy is okay, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t speak for that. For now I’m just going to enjoy all the benefits of being dairy free.

  35. Judi October 29, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    This may sound strange……I am a senior citizen and have had a hard time sleeping since I am a teenager then struggled each morning with brain fog. Just eliminating dairy for a few days did it! Now I sleep like a baby. I used to love my cheese but now….I love my sleep! I will never go back. Just one dinner with cheese and I can’t sleep that night.

  36. S. Garrison November 1, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    I gave up dairy and no more joint pain, no more ear problems, no more sleepless nights and I have a ton more energy! I do not miss it at all like I thought I would. I have tried to find almond milk or another kind of nut milk that I like but they all have carrageenan in them and I don’t think that is a good thing to be ingesting. Making your own almond milk is pretty easy but I can never seem to find the time.

  37. Foolie November 6, 2014 at 4:41 am #

    Why does milk contribute to type I DM?

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