Should I Eat Dairy?…No?! Well what about my calcium?!
–Dr. John McDougall
The McDougall Program for Women (2000)
Here’s my perspective and again it’s just that…and educated perspective, so please share your thoughts below.
The Dairy industry spends $300 million annually on marketing and ‘research’, doctors, dieticians and sponsorships to spread the word “drink milk and you’ll have strong bones”.
Calcium consumption has been so well marketed that North American women are the highest dairy consumers world wide and oddly enough, have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
Maybe not so odd…more like carefully publicized.
Most other parts of the world don’t experience the rates of Osteoporosis and related fractures as North Americans and most other parts of the world are not drinking cows milk…and if they are it’s nothing like the ‘quality’ or lack there of, of generic milk we have here. It’s usually raw or fermented.
Often the high protein diet is blamed for osteoporosis and not milk consumption, however, there’s also protein in dairy…and sugar. Both of these substances leave an acidic state after digestion. How does your body deal with acidity?? Minerals. Minerals are basic and the most available is Calcium and Magnesium stored in our bones and tissues.
My point is, you may be drinking milk (12oz with 11g protein and 18g of sugar) once or multiple times a day, but you’re also eating processed foods and refined sugars. Possibly, to go along with that, a diet too high in animal protein (yeah a 22oz porter house steak is excessive for one meal) chased down by a few beer. You’re maybe not eating enough alkaline forming foods like fresh vegetables and some fruits. You’re likely eating more sodium and condiments than you think while drinking more coffee than should be humanly possible.
Does all of these factors create a situation where the health of your bones should be questioned? Yes. And remember diet is a product of accumulation. So what you have done over the course of your life in repetition adds up.
It’s true that calcium is a very abundant nutrient so we don’t need to stress all that much about getting it, and trust me there’s better sources than grain-fed, antibiotic treated, hormone injected beef commercial farming practices gives us. If you want to find quality dairy, how about even grass fed, free range cow products! Truthfully, getting enough trace minerals is how our bodies deal with calcium intake; properly placing it in the bones and tissues and available enough for balancing the effects of our diet. Logically, exercise, stay hydrated with water, eat whole foods and a clean diet of high quality foods and you won’t have to worry about your bones. Athletes and people under high stress should consider supplementing. Contact me for specific recommendations on trace minerals or for booking a nutrition coaching session.
Eat clean, train mean and stay lean.
Jana Finkbiner, RHN