IS DAIRY REALLY “Nature’s Perfect Food?”
Dairy products have been portrayed as the “perfect food” and a dietary necessity. But, is this view backed by nutrition research?
Studies of large populations have linked dairy consumption to juvenile diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, Crohns, prostate cancer, premature puberty and MS (numerous articles in the New England Journal of Medicine). There is even doubt that dairy can prevent osteoporosis (Studies at Cornell University). Some people have lactose intolerance and may experience a variety of allergic symptoms. About 25% of the North American population is intolerant to dairy – it gives them severe symptoms. Others are merely sensitive to dairy and have only mild discomfort. How can a food be perfect if many people cannot eat it?
Given recent research findings and the extent of lactose intolerance, Canada’s revised food guide should have given “milk products” less status in our daily diet. The review of Canada’s Food Guide in 2006 could have set this right – there were nutrition scientists consulted. However, it appears that powerful food industry lobbies have had their way because dairy has retained its nutritional status as a separate food group.
Health E Guide Comment: Cow’s milk is intended for another animal’s offspring - calves. It is the “perfect food” for calves, but this does not make it perfect for us. The best scientific evidence suggests that milk and its products may be far from perfect and may even have negative health effects.