The Dairy Controversey

Joined Feb 6, 2002
After reading markdchef's posts on dairy products I decided to do some research of my own. Here are some of my findings:

WebMD On Milk

WebMD On Milk II

The American Heart Association On Milk

Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine on Milk & Prostate Cancer

I believe that milk is good for you and that if you plan on cutting milk or dairy from your diet, you should have other foods lined up to replace your calcium intake. I also think that you may have to consume much more of your substitutes to make up for the calcium you can find in one glass of milk.

Let me know what your ideas on this subject are.



Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Wait around long enough and someone, somewhere will tell you that just about everything we consume is bad for you. That it will cause cancer, increase the risk of diabetes, or is bad for your heart.
Joined Oct 6, 2001
My own personal belief is that calcium is too important to forget about. If you are going to cut out one food group entirely, you need to know where you can get other similar vitamin/mineral resources and you need to know what aids in supplement absorption.

For example: In a vegetarian, but non-vegan diet, one has to be careful when eating calcium with their major iron sources as calcium slows down iron absorption. Vitamin C helps absorption.

If you are cutting down or cutting out dairy, be educated! Find a good list of supplemental foods -- a sample of such a chart is:

Like Kokopuffs has suggested, Prescription for Nutritional Healing is a great book full of useful information -- definitely worth checking out.

Joined Feb 6, 2002
Did anyone else read the findings of the American Heart Association where lead was found to be in the calcium supplements?? Now we have to wonder if those tablets are ok to ingest. I think Ill stick with the natural stuff.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
There's always someone who'll tell you one thing or another is bad for you. This week on the radio I heard that breathing the air in big cities can give you lung cancer....

Give up milk?? Never!!
Joined Oct 13, 2001
The pendulum swings far to one side and then far to the other .
Staying in the middle is the best course to take most times .
Milk , it does a body good .
Joined Nov 29, 2001
I think, on the whole, women are smart enough to know they need calcium and also well versed enough in sources to know that right now, dairy is the best source. Hopefully, not too many women will abandon dairy (unless they have serious lactose issues) and they won't shrink in their 70's/80's/90's and break bones by sneezing.

If the guys want to give it up, let them.

I heard a radio program recently (around here, you listen to what comes in...sigh) that addressed the importance of magnesium to the diet; and notably the relationship of magnesium to calcium-absorption. Apparently someone did a study where calcium tablets were administered but the level of magnesium was determined to be quite low. X-rays were taken of the participants and the calcium tabs showed up like little alka-seltzers, even in the small intestine. They were not digested and therefore had no beneficial effect on the body. Ingesting minerals in this fashion has been tricky business since it was discovered that they are not readily absorbed into the body.

If one keeps to low-fat dairy products, this is the best, most user-friendly, life-applicable way to get calcium. Don't overdo full-fat dairy because it's not worth a [email protected] to get the calcium you need if your cholesterol goes through the roof.
Joined Jan 26, 2001
The calcium in milk is not readily absorbed by the human body.
Milk contains powerful (natural) hormones that increase body weight and interfere with women's own natural hormones.
Milk exacerbates allergies, asthma and a host of other illnesses.
I did extensive research before giving up dairy.

You can easily get more than enough calcium from Kale, quinoa, sesame seeds, amaranth, spinach and nuts. Calcium will be more readily absorbed in a natural state with the presence and aid of magnesium.

Milk as a food is junk food. Ultra pasteurization destroys what little benefits milk has. Hormones and chemicals (pesticides and antibiotics) negate any goodness in milk.

I suffered from severe seasonal allergies from early teens into my thirties. I gave up dairy and the allergies went away.

If you choose to consume it make sure it is organic and don't believe industry sponsored research and advertising. Milk does not help prevent osteoporosis. In fact, in countries with large dairy consumption the instance of osteoporosis is extremely high. In countries that do not rely on dairy the instance of osteoporosis is very low. The growing trend is go nn-dairy in this country. I receive up to 30 emails a day from chefs in the US and Canada seeking non-dairy recipes and vegan recipes. As a member of a 5,000+ organization of chefs we regularly correspond and the consensus is that the public at large wants to eat healthier and wants to reduce or eliminate dairy.

I use to say I would never give up dairy, but it was a lot easier than you think. I have never felt better in my life. My sinuses are clear, I never get colds or flu, my bp is in check and I dropped 35 lbs. after eliminating dairy.

One of the hottest chefs around, Louis Lanza, cooks non-dairy and is launching a chain of good fast foods with traditional and non-traditional fare.

As a chef, reliance on dairy such as cream and butter usually (not always) means the underlying ingredient (meat, fish, or vegetable) needs to be masked. Restaurants who do not buy the highest quality ingredients will drench the product with a heavy cream or butter sauce to hide this fact.

I am a big proponent of letting the natural food shine on its own without a lot of adornment.

Here are some examples:

Oven roasted cod filet drizzled with basil oil and fleur de sel.

Steamed asparagus with a lemon dill vinaigrette

Puree of celery root and parsnip with olive oil and white pepper

Fresh steamed spinach with sauteed mushrooms rolled up in spelt lasagna noodles in a rustic tomato sauce.

Salmon in paper with fresh herbs and lemon juice

Tofu marsala with caramelized onions

Pan seared breast of chicken (organic free range) with saffron tomato broth and basmati rice

Seared sea scallops with a crust of pistachio and thyme

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Hand mashed Yukon gold potatoes with sea salt and white pepper

These meals are requested again and again without a speck of dairy. More research needs to be done independent of the dairy industry. There is evidence of milk affecting diabetes in children, autism, add, and asthma. There is even more evidence of milk causing or exacerbating ear infections and respiratory illnesses.

Unless you have a soy sensitivity then soy milk is a healthier and tastier way to go.

just my informed opinion.

Happy cooking!

Joined Aug 4, 2000
Again, the food highest in calcium is yogurt. Stress, that is physical/biomechanical stress, aids in calcium deposition onto the bones. Calcium will always deposit in areas of stress.

Ever notice that women who grew up on ranches and farms are big boned!
Joined Jan 26, 2001
References for debunking the milk myth created by the Dairy industry:

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, "Protecting Your Bones"

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, "Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis"

"Sorting Through the Calcium Myths"

"Calcium and Bone Disease"

"O = Osteoporosis"

Dr. John McDougall's recommendations for preventing osteoporosis

"The Great American Milk Myth," by Dr. Charles Attwood

Dr. T. Colin Campbell's findings from the "China Report" (the world's largest population study) regarding osteoporosis

"The Milk Letter: A Message to My Patients," by Dr. Robert M. Kradjian

"Breaking Some Bones" (an examination of the dairy industry's control of public health information Colin Campbell
Joined Mar 3, 2002
"Prior to developing food allergies 15 years ago I had a major weight problem. I no longer have a weight problem... [and] within a year of eliminating milk products from my diet my total cholestreol dropped from 154 to 121.

Can I attribute the change in my metabolism to elimination of milk alone? Not completely...I also eliminated all man-made food additives, preservatives and colorings from my diet. But I do believe that eliminating milk is responsible for a big part of the change in my metabolism. Very unscientific, but there it is!"

FunnyTummy, if you also elimated additives, preservatives and colorings that suggests you've likely elimated all junk food which is heavy in both sugar and fat. Could that have been part of the weight/cholesterol change?

Or could it be that all the chemicals introduced into our diet by the industrial manufacture of our foods is worse for us than any single element in a diet of home made foods...That industrial food may be at the root of what seems to be a widespread increase in allergies, obesity, with ensuing diseases such as diabetes (also on the increase?).
Joined Jan 26, 2001
I operate a personal chef business in NJ. In the future I do plan on opening a bed and breakfast with a small restaurant in it.
By 2003 I will be hosting a healthy cooking show on television.

If a food on its own has little or no nutritional value or its nutrients are not assimilated or absorbed into the human body's system then it is truly junk food.

Cow's Milk may have calcium and other nutrients to start out with, but the commercialization, chemicals, ultra pasteurization and packaging strip it of most of its potential benefits. Take that in consideration that by the time most humans reach puberty they have lost the ability to break down milk completely. The majority of the population in milk intolerant not lactose intolerant.
It is easily dismissed because the symptoms can be attributed to over eating, having dessert right after a meal, sugar, or alcohol.

At most only 30% of the calcium in dairy could be absorbed by the human body. This is from research by medical doctors not paid by the Dairy Industry. And, if you are drinking a lot of milk, the animal protein will contribute to calcium loss or "leaching" of minerals from your bones. Also, processed sugar in all forms will further add to calcium loss. So a drink of chocolate milk can be a risk as well as a treat.

Whether or not you like the taste of milk and dairy products it does not change the fact that it is true junk food.
Joined Mar 3, 2002
Ohhh, FunnyTummy, no wonder your tummy is funny! How can you eat substitute sweets? snacks? But no arguing with success and I'm glad you've got allergies and cholesterol under better control.

Of course, we're all different. When I try "substitutes" for ol' familiar flavors, I'm never satisfied by them and wind up eating more than I would of the "real" thing. --And when I look at the contents of these substitute snacks, I don't feel I'll save enough calories to justify the sacrifice. Industrial food is still industrial food even when it says healthy, for the most part.

I deal with diet in a different way. My cholesterol floats close to 100 despite my diet (though I could lose 20 lbs). My solution: eat the real thing but less often. (It's not genetic, my sister's weight, bp, and cholesterol was through the roof.) I eat practically no processed foods or even frozen foods (unless I've frozen something I've made). Except baking, almost all my cooking is done with olive oil. On those occasions that I eat meat, I want it flavorful and juicy (i.e., fatty). My downfall is sweets, but I do find sorbet is better "diet fare" than ice cream (including yogurt/soy, etc) because the flavor is so intense I can be satified by a small amount and it has no fat. And I generally follow the rule of eating desserts only when I've made them or it comes froma very good bakery.)

This works pretty well for me as I try to have a wide variety of foods in moderate amounts. If I exercised more, I probably would lose that 20 lbs!
Joined Mar 3, 2002
Fifteen years! you've turned will power into habit. The best way.

I posted a recipe for an easy and taste scone that's not too sweet and is made with only 1 Tbs butter per scone and has only a few Tbs sugar in a recipe that makes 16 pieces, so most of the sweetness comes from the currants and/or any preserves you use. It's in the thread Healthy Eating originally posted by Shimmer on the Nutrition and Cooking Board. (I haven't yet figured out how to make a link). I freeze them up and only bake them when I'm going to eat them. (Another way of curtailing mindless eating.) If you have trouble finding it, I'll PM it to you.

I also sometimes will make a very small batch of fruit preserves for the fridge. Pear preserves are best done fresh and at home. Delish.

The one thing I can't make a reduction on is butter in pie crust! I can reduce the sugar in, say, an apple pie, but the only way to make a good crust is a high fat/flour ratio. So I just don't make them that often.:cool: :) :)
Joined Jan 26, 2001
Soymage Vegan Parmesan is pretty darn close to the real thing with no nasty ingredients like dairy.

You can make a whipped cream subsitute, but it will not be low cal or low fat:

8 ounces of silken tofu
1/2 cup canola oil (expeller pressed)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 drop stevia liquid
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Whip first four ingredients adding the oil slowly to incorporate. Whip for two minutes and add lemon juice at the end.

You can use nutritional yeast in place of romano.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
So what affects the bioavailability of calcium?

Joined Jan 26, 2001
The presence of acids such as oxalic acid, the lack of magnesium, the high fat and cholesterol content, chemicals, diet just to name a few.
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