Leave Daisy out of it
Dairy alternatives? Why should I?
Okay, I have something to tell you but you might need to take a seat. Are you sitting down? Okay. So here it is: dairy is not the only source of calcium. No really, there are other sources.
Why is dairy a problem?
Many are beginning to ask the question: Are we ‘designed’ to have dairy after babyhood? Imagine you are living in prehistoric times, running around in a loincloth (yes, it can be Armani if you want). Are you going to waltz up to a cow that was probably the size of a two-car garage and attempt to relieve her of her milk burden? Daisy’s milk was for her offspring – not you. So if you did attempt such an act, I doubt it would be repeated due to trauma from the conflict.
What are the risks of dairy?
- High Saturated Fat Content:
Many dairy products are high in saturated fats, and a high saturated fat intake is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Many people consider lactose is the only component in dairy that can create allergies but there are many more. Allergic reactions in some cases can remain unseen for years and can result in an overactive immune system which is known to be the precursor to autoimmune disease.
- Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer:
Studies have found (1) that women with high intakes of lactose—equivalent to that found in 3 cups of milk per day—had a higher risk of ovarian cancer
- Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer:
In a Harvard study (2) of male health professionals, men who drank two or more glasses of milk a day were found to have twice the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer compared to those who didn’t drink milk at all.
- Link to diabetes
A Swedish study (3) of over 3,000 infants showed increased risk of diabetes in relation to early introduction of cows milk.
- Increased breast cancer mortality rates
A large epidemiological study (4) of 1893 women found a link between dairy intake and increased risk of mortality of women diagnosed with breast cancer.
But don’t I need dairy for calcium and osteoporosis prevention?
There are other sources of calcium other than dairy. There is also some compelling research with a study size of 78,000 women over 18 years (5) showing that dairy intake has no evidence of change in bone fracture risk. Another review (6) showed milk intake did not increase bone density in children and another (7) showed milk intake did not reduce the incidence of stress fractures in adolescent girls.
A Harvard study (8) also showed those with dairy intake of milk 3 times a day had a higher incidence of bone fractures than those who rarely drank milk. A suggested hypothesis is that as dairy increases acidity it may result in calcium being leached from the bones in order to bring the body tissues back to alkaline, however as yet this is unknown.
What are dairy alternatives for calcium?
Take a load off while I list them. Almonds, parsley, dandelion greens, watercress, beetroot leaves, buckwheat, sesame seeds, broccoli, walnuts, spinach, pecans, green beans, globe artichokes, cabbage…mmmm…sprouts, celery, whole grain rice, carrots, barley, sweet potatoes, brown rice, garlic, squash, onions, lemon, oranges, cherries, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, bananas, asparagus, green peas, lentils, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, chicken, turkey…
Pretty much throw a dart and you are likely to hit calcium (not a Daisy, remember, she’s been through enough).
What are the common dairy alternatives?
- Milk – Almond
- Cheese – Goat
– Fetta (seems to be ok in most cases. If in doubt leave it out)
- Ice cream – Coconut
What is so fancy about calcium anyway?
It has a lot to do with bone strength and density, teeth, the ability for muscles to contract including heart muscle regulation and nerve transmission. In a nutshell, without calcium our bones turn to sand, our hearts stop beating and we are likely to be a little edgy. Not my version of Christmas.
…give Daisy a breather and try some of the alternatives to get your calcium dose. For more information about calcium visit your local health care practitioner.
- Dietary Intake and Ovarian Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review
Tracy E Crane,1,3 Beman R Khulpateea,2 David S Alberts,Karen Basen
Engquist,5 and Cynthia A Thomson. Published online 2013 Oct 18. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0515
- Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Wolk A, et al. Calcium and fructose intake in relation to risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Res. 1998; 58:442–447.
- Saukkonen T, Virtanen SM, Karppinen M, et al. Significance of cow’s milk protein antibodies as risk factor for childhood IDDM: interaction with dietary cow’s milk intake and HLA-DQB1 genotype. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Dibetologia. 1998;41:72–78.
- High- and Low-Fat Dairy Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality After Breast Cancer DiagnosisCandyce H. Kroenke, Marilyn L. Kwan, Carol Sweeney, Adrienne Castillo, and Bette J. Caan. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 May 1; 105(9): 616–623.
- Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption, and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:504–511.
- Lanou AJ, Berkow SE, Barnard ND. Calcium, dairy products, and bone health in children and young adults: a reevaluation of the evidence. Pediatrics. 2005;115:736–743.
- Sonneville KR, Gordon CM, Kocher MS, Pierce LM, Ramappa A, Field AE. Vitamin D, calcium, and dairy intakes and stress fractures among female adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166:595-600.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2004.