Coming up on this episode of the Doctor’s pharmacy,
Dr. Mark Hyman:
Cow’s milk can be very inflammatory. It can cause eczema, allergies, gut issues, acne because of this, a one K scene. But if you switch to golden dairy, it’s better and it’s better tolerated. Welcome to Doctor’s Pharmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, a place for conversations that matter. And if you’ve ever heard that dairy might be good for you and you should have three glasses of milk a day, or maybe dairy is the devil and you should avoid it at all costs. Well, you’re going to find this podcast very interesting because we’re going to dive deep into dairy and I’m going to talk about all the misinformation, the science, what we know, what we don’t know, and what you should be doing with regards to dairy intake in your diet. Despite the fact that the government says to eat three glasses of milk a day, or to drink three glasses of milk a day for adults and two for kids, there’s really no scientific basis for that, and we’re going to get into the details of that.
Now, today’s podcast is part of our little series called Health Bites. Small bits of information that can help you live a longer, healthier life by taking small actions every day, and I think this one’s going to be an important one for you. So if I hated you a beverage that would cause you to gain weight, cause bloating, acne, gas, allergies, eczema, make your bones brittle, maybe even cause cancer, would you drink it? Would you chug three cups of that liquid every day and give two cups to your children? Well, probably not yet. That is exactly what the federal government tells us to do, and that milk is the perfect food for Americans and they should drink it daily. Three glass to be exact in spite of a large and growing body of research that shows its lack of benefits and potentially awful side effects. Now, I agree it is nature’s perfect food, but only if you’re a calf.
Okay? So even though milk’s today, cow’s milk particularly contains a dozen of reproductive hormones, allogenic proteins, antibiotics, growth factors, growth hormone like Bowen, growth Hormone, some of which by the way are known to promote cancer. The dairy industry wants us to believe that their cows are happily producing milk and grazing through green pastures. For the most part, it couldn’t be further from the truth. So today we’re going to talk about why dairy is such a contentious food, how to tackle the pros and cons of whether it belongs in your diet and maybe which dairy is okay to eat. Now, here’s the truth. Now, I wrote a book called Food Fix where I went deep into the machinations of the food industry, the collusion between government and the food industry. And by the way, there’s a lot of revolving doors. So people from the Dairy Council work for the government and go back to work for the Dairy Council, and it’s just, it’s kind of a mess.
Now, big dairy is really behind the headlines that milk is good for you. It is a 47 billion a year industry. It’s one of the most influential food lobbyists on Capitol Hill. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which is a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics, the dairy industry gave nearly $46 million to politicians between 1990 and 2016. In 2015, the Committee of Scientific Experts that shapes the dietary guidelines include two members with financial ties to big dairy. Furthermore, the dairy industry spent millions of dollars funding studies that claim that milk offers benefits like weight loss and improve health and stronger bones. Now, I’ll just tell you a quick story. Years ago I was on Martha Stewart’s television show, which no longer exists, and we were talking about optimal performance and health, and I was one of the experts. Now, when you’re an expert on a TV show, you don’t get cue cards.
You got to know your stuff, and you got to just say what you got to say when you got to say it. Now, there was a trainer that she had, I think it was her trainer that was also in the show. And when I talked to the producer, he was telling me about the segment and he said, well, we’re going to talk about how dairy is this great sports drink. And I said, wait a minute. Where are you getting that information? He says, well, I said, listen here, let me send you a bunch of papers. So I went through PubMed and I sent ’em all the papers showing that this is not true, and I also showed him the papers that said it was true, but they were all funded by the Dairy Council. Now, when a food industry organization or agency or a council funds a study, it’s eight to 50 times more likely to show a positive benefit.
In other words, if Coca-Cola does a study on soda, it’s going to find that it doesn’t cause obesity. Or if the Dairy Council does a study and milk, it’s going to find it’s good for your bones and it’s good for exercise and everything else, but actually it’s pretty frightening. So anyway, I was in this show and the trainer had these cue cards by the camera. There were these giant cue cards, which had all the talking points, which were all wrong about why dairy is a perfect post-workout food. And I was like, whoa, why are you doing this? She said, well, the producer said, well, the Dairy Council is funding the segment of the show, and I was just flabbergasted. So we think we’re getting straight up information. We’re just not. First of all, we need to know this. The whole got milk campaign, the mustache thing where you had all the health and human services secretary, all the athletes, all the celebrities wearing the milk mustache that was funded in part by the government, something called the checkout program and the Dairy Council.
And it was promoting all these claims like it’s great for your bones and it’s great for this, and it’s great for that, but it’s not. And so the Federal Trade Commission actually made them take the ads off the air and out of magazines. That’s why you don’t see them anymore, because there was no scientific basis for the claims and it was false advertising. So this is a government literally funding millions of dollars to tell us stuff that wasn’t scientifically. So anyway, the bottom line here is that milk is not good for your bones, and you don’t need milk for strong bones. Everybody knows we need milk for stronger bones, right? That’s what we’re taught. Drink your milk, go big and strong and tall. You need calcium and without a children won’t grow to be big and strong. Adults will get hip fractures, and most people would be getting osteoporosis and their bones will crumble to dust as they age, but there’s absolutely no evidence that we need milk to strengthen our bones.
And for example, countries with the lowest milk consumption have the lowest rates of osteoporosis and fractures. Well, those are the highest. Dairy consumption in calcium have the highest rates of fractures. How do you make sense of that? In fact, in one study, they found that those who drank more milk at a higher risk of fractures. So it’s a bit concerning to me. Also, it’s good for kids. I mean, we now force kids to have milk. If you want to have a school lunch program, you have to serve milk, and most of it’s sugary milk, which is basically like a soda and milk together, and it’s mandated by the government that in public schools we have to have milk. But kids can’t get their federal school lunch money unless they give, I’m sorry, the schools can’t get their federal, federal school lunch money unless they give every kid milk, but there’s no evidence that it’s true.
In fact, they’re also giving them low fat milk, which is even worse because low fat milk actually causes them to gain more weight because it makes them not feel satisfied or full from the fat. Also, milk is a lousy source of calcium. The studies are pretty clear on this. There’s nothing special about dairy and bone health. In fact, vitamin D that we get with milk that’s added to the milk, it’s not actually naturally in milk, believe it or not. They put in there to prevent rickets, which is a good thing, but still, it’s not where we get vitamin D. The amount of calcium everybody needs is actually far less than the levels recommended in the United States. It’s not actually the total calcium intake that matters, but how much you actually keep. For example, in Africa, they might have 300 milligrams of calcium intake in their diet, but they have very good bones and strong health, but they only lose maybe 200 milligrams of calcium. So their net is a hundred milligrams of calcium a day. Whereas in America, we might take in 1500 milligrams, but we might lose 16 or 1700 milligrams because of all of our bad habits. For example, if you smoke cigarettes, if you eat sugar, if you drink soda which has phosphoric acid, it’s like leeches out your bones. Actually, oh my God.
I was buying some ribs for a barbecue having the other day at my local butcher, and I said, well, how do you kind of make them? What do you do? He says, well, first you want to soak the ribs in Coca-Cola. And I’m like, what? He’s like, yeah, because it helps dissolve the fibers and soft it up the meat and get it off the bone. I’m like, wow, okay. I don’t think I want to do that. Also, stress causes you to lose calcium, caffeine, alcohol, excess salt all cause us to lose calcium. We’re doing a lot of things, plus being sedentary causes us to lose calcium. So we live a lifestyle that causes calcium loss. We’ve got to stop that. So we need to also think about not just how much we’re taking in, but how much we’re losing. Next, we need to think about where can we get calcium from or diet besides milk.
And in fact, actually you can get a lot of calcium from things that don’t have hormones. They don’t have allergens, they don’t have all kinds of antibiotics in them and all kinds of crap. So let’s talk about, for example, how some common foods stack up to about four ounces of cows milk, which is about 138 milligrams of calcium. First of all, sesame seeds, a quarter cup of sesame seeds. Tahini is amazingly, you can make dressing out of it. I make like miso, tahini dressing I put on my vegetable. So there’s lots of ways to include tahini and sesame seeds. But a quarter cup has 351 milligrams, which is almost, I’m not good with math, but more than twice the amount that milk has sardines, a little can of sardines has with the bones, which sounds weird, but you can exceed. The bones has 300 also 50 milligrams of calcium tofu, which is three.
And a calcium has three 50 milligrams of calcium yogurt, which is obviously dairy, but you can get it from sheep or goat has 250 96 milligrams collard greens, which by the way, these may be better utilized and absorbed by the body. It has about 268 milligrams. Spinach has 245 milligrams in a cup. Cheese, which is another dairy product, has a little less 204 sockeye salmon, three ounces with the bones in them, 188 milligrams. Almonds, dry roasted two ounces have about 150. So basically from two ounces of almonds, you get more calcium than you will from milk. Also, chia seeds are another great source of calcium and have way more calcium than milk than you get from milk. And by the way, it turns out that it’s vitamin D that’s the most important for actually helping our bones, not so much calcium milk also may increase your risk of cancer.
Now, in a very important editorial in JAMA Pediatrics, in 20 13, 2 of the leading nutrition scientists in the world from Harvard, David GaN and Walter, called out the federal government for advising three cups daily of low fat milk for most Americans. And these are not kind of radical vegans. These are people who work at the top levels of academia who’ve done extraordinary amounts of research and basically is saying, Hey, we got all wrong about dairy. As we talked about earlier, milk doesn’t promote bone health. Dr. Willett and Dr. Wig noted that it actually may promote cancer. That’s because milk contains a witches brew of hormones that may act like miracle grow. For cancer cells, for example, the average glass of milk contains 60 different hormones. Now, these are not necessarily hormones that are added to the milk, but think about what is milk. It’s basically a growth food.
It’s designed to grow babies and grow cows, and it’s got all these growth factors and growth hormones in it, anabolic hormones, but it also doesn’t just cause your body to grow when you’re little. It actually causes cancer cells to grow. So it’s kind of bad news. It also increases something called IGF one, which is a known cancer promoter, insulin growth factor one. It’s also associated with kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and lower levels of people with IGF one actually live longer and have lower rates of cancer. But milk pushes your levels of IGF one in the wrong direction. So may have cancer links may increased to prostate cancer and other cancers as well. Also, dairy fat may not be the issue. The fat from dairy is an issue. It’s the caseine and the other hormonal compounds in the milk. The government guidelines basically say that we shouldn’t really tell people to drink milk, but they specifically recommend low fat or fat-free versions because of a longstanding misguided view that saturated fat is the boogeyman for heart disease.
Now, saturated fat actually may be really good for some people, although maybe not others, but for most people it’s actually okay, particularly people with metabolic issues, diabetes and so forth. And there’s been troves of research that showed that it’s not the boogeyman we thought it was. And actually the dairy fat may be better. In fact, there was an utter article called Butter is back in one of the major medical journal, American Journal of Cardiology, where they actually, and I’ll get into that in a minute, show that it was actually quite helpful for people with diabetes and prevention so forth. But there was a big review of saturated fat, and I wrote a lot about this in my book, eat Fat, get Thin. So if you want to learn more about it, you can go ahead and read that book. But there was a huge landmark review published in the of Internal Medicine, one of the major medical journals in 2014 that looked at 72 of the most rigorous studies on dietary fat and heart disease, including two dozen randomized controlled trials, which are hard to do, and also population studies, blood studies.
And they found that saturated fat and total fat consumption have very little effect and no effect on heart disease. They found that actually trans fat was a bad one, but that was for sure bad. So we don’t want trans fat, but they found that actually people having the fats from dairy actually had lower cardiovascular risk. Also, other studies have shown this as well for diabetes, those with higher levels of the saturated fat from dairy, which is a different kind of saturated fat, actually have lower risks of diabetes. So butter’s had a terrible reputation. It’s basically just animal fat. Most of it’s saturated, not all of it. By the way, most foods are mixed fat. So pon, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and the government tells us not to eat butter, but about 60% of the fats are saturated fat, 20% monounsaturated, and the rest are poly. But I think butter is not the enemy.
Number one we thought it was. It doesn’t mean you should eat butter as much as you want. It’s fine to eat it like our grandparents did. Have a little butter, have grass fed butter. It’s fine. It has fats, it has antioxidants, it has more carotinoids, it has a higher source of C L A, which is an important conjugated linoleic acid, which boosts your metabolism and help, may help prevent cancer and heart disease. So have a little butter, enjoy it, track your numbers. But some people are super responders to saturated fat. I might be one of them. So the people who are thin lean athletes tend to get more saturated fat response. For some reason, I think it’s genetic. You’re going to have it on your veggies. Also, be aware that saturated fat plus sugar and starch are bad combo. So butter on your veggies, put on your fish protein, no problem.
Mixing it with carbs and sugar, not a good idea. So butter and bread, bad idea. Also, if you’re going to eat dairy, what should you eat? And let’s talk about it. Grass fed is really important, and the reason is because one, it doesn’t have the antibiotics to them, the hormones, and it has higher levels of phytochemicals in it. Better fatty acid composition, more antioxidants. So it’s not only what you eat that matters, it’s what you’re eating has eaten. So how’s gras on the natural diet of grass? They produce milk and meat with better fat composition and nutrients than those fed corn and grain and soy. So if you’re going to consume butter dairy products, remember that grass fed is important or regenerative, even better. Organic dairy is somewhere in the middle, right? Because organic could be not grass fed. They could just feed it organic corn or organic soy, and also they might have some pasture in their diet.
But basically most of their diet comes from organic grains and feed that are better because they’re free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and has more omega better six to three ratio, but it’s still not great. They can actually milk organic cows while they’re pregnant, which adds way more hormones and all the natural hormones that are in milk. There’s things you can actually use like probiotic, rich dairy, keefer, yogurt. They’re better actually in terms of tolerance and digestion. Also, you can use ghee or clarify butter, which basically takes all the milk solids, all the casein, all the way, and it can be used by people who are even allergic to dairy. So organic grass-fed ghee is great. It’s basically like the Indian form of butter, and it’s lots of nutrients, higher smoke point, and it’s great for high heat cooking. Now, I don’t really recommend eating that much cow dairy.
Now, there’s important thing to recognize. There’s different kinds of cain in dairy products. There’s a one Cain, a two Cain, now a one Cain is what most modern cows have. This is an inflammatory form of Cain. That’s the protein in milk, and that tends to be linked to more of the issues around milk. A two casein is for more of the heirloom cows. I think Jersey cows Guernsey cows have more a two casein, and there are dairy products like ice creams and others you can get from a two cows, but they’re really hard to find and that’s better for you. But goat and sheep dairy products are far better tolerated, have less inflammatory potential, and have primarily a two casein. So I’d encourage people to switch over. And I, for example, I can’t tolerate regular dairy because I get congested stomach issues. If I have goat or sheep, I’m fine.
Goat cheese, sheep cheese, goat yogurt, no problem. So cows milk can be very inflammatory. It can cause eczema, allergies, gut issues, acne because of this A one Cain. But if you switch to golden dairy, it’s better and it’s better tolerated. Also, the ghost milk got high levels of medium change. Triglycerides, which help metabolism brain function, has higher levels of vitamin A, which is great for your skin, and people have more. A two Cain tend to not have as much. The GI symptoms have less inflammatory biomarkers, they have better cognitive function. So goad or sheet milk can be a great alternative. So what should you look for when you’re buying dairy? Well, make sure you look for certain certifications that make sure the animals are produced in an ethical manner, right? Animal welfare approved, certified Humane, American Humane Certified Food Alliance Certified Global Animal Partnership. These are ways to find sources of dairy that are better for you.
What is possible to eat for dairy? Well, I recommend that people avoid, for the most part, cow dairy, unless it’s a two cows that are regeneratively raised, and even then some people still have trouble with cow dairy, but a little bit here and there is fine. If you want to have grass fed full fat, unsweetened yogurt, that’s okay. Ideally, sheep or goat is better. Keefer is another way to have a dairy product. You can get goat or sheep. Keefer, whole milk, grass fed cheese. Again, better goat or sheep with no additives. Grass fed. Your butter is fine. And if you can get them goat or sheep, I would highly recommend that. What should you avoid? Well, dairy from conventionally raised cows, skim milk, 2% milk, lowfat milk, lowfat yogurt, non-fat yogurt. Yogurt that has fruit, sweetener additives or anything extra. In fact, Yole, which is one of the sort of sweetened yogurts that has more sugar pronounced than a can of Coca-Cola.
So it’s really bad for you. Don’t have that thing you think is healthy, which is your sweetened yogurt in the morning, avoid the cheeses and so forth. Made with skimm or reduced fat milk. The fat is actually the good part. Also, no processed cheese. I mean, it’s not even called cheese. I mean, there’s something called Kraft American slices. They can’t call it cheese because it’s less than 50% cheese. It’s a cheese like substance and obviously don’t eat cheese. It comes in a spray can or a squeeze bottle or some weird industrial cheese product. So anyway, that’s the story on dairy. Definitely don’t need it. If you want to consume it, try sheeter, goat, sheep, or goat. Realize it’s not nature’s perfect food. It doesn’t help your bones. It may cause cancer, and there’s a lot of reasons to just avoid it. So again, sheep or goat is fine. Try it. See how you feel. Your body’s the best indicator of what works and what doesn’t. Your body’s the smartest doctor in the room. So that’s it for today’s health bite. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Please share your thoughts about dairy. We’d love to hear from you, how it’s worked for you, how it’s not what you found from different kinds of dairy, how it affects you. We’d love to know, share this with your friends and family, and we’ll see you next time on the Doctor’s Pharmacy.
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