The Dairy Debate

Aside from vegetarianism, the choice as to whether one should consume milk seems to illicit the most controversy in nutrition circles. This has been compounded by the widespread dairy industry ad campaign touting milk has nature’s perfect food.

Having grown up on a farm, I’ve been around cow’s milk for as long as I can remember and I certainly don’t have anything against dairy or small dairy farmers. However, I’ve discovered that I feel and perform better when I avoid consuming milk and most other dairy products on a regular basis. I experience less congestion and bloating, and breathe better after abstaining from such products for a week. The difference is significant.

Mark Bittman relates his personal experience on giving up milk in his recent Got Milk? You Don’t Need It.

So, three months ago, I decided to give up dairy products as a test. Twenty-four hours later, my heartburn was gone. Never, it seems, to return. In fact, I can devour linguine puttanesca (withanchovies) and go to bed an hour later; fellow heartburn sufferers will be impressed. Perhaps equally impressive is that I mentioned this to a friend who had the same problem, tried the same approach, and had the same results. Presto! No dairy, no heartburn! (A third had no success. Hey, it’s not a controlled double-blind experiment, but there is no downside to trying it.)

Don’t get me wrong, statistics show that most individuals in the United States can consume cow’s milk without any issues. It’s just that statistics are meaningless if you’re among those who suffer ill effects as a result of dairy consumption, and the relationship isn’t always obvious. If you have any doubt, conduct your own experiment by going off all dairy products for a week. The results may surprise you.

Now just don’t get me started on chocolate milk being marketed as an athletic-recovery supplement.

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