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Got Milked? The Great Dairy Deception

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Milk is NOT the most bio-available source of calcium. Kale, broccoli, bok choy all have higher absorption rates than milk.
Air Date: 5/20/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Alissa Hamilton, JD
Alissa Hamilton, JD, has a PhD in environmental studies from Yale University and is an authority on food processing and marketing. She is the author of Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice, which helped spark a series of class-action lawsuits in the U.S. against orange juice companies. Hamilton's recent book, GOT MILKED? The Great Dairy Deception and Why You’ll Thrive Without Milk, reveals why cow’s milk is far from essential for good health. Her work has been published in major publications and academic journals. A 2008-2009 Food and Society Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, she lives in Toronto, Canada.
  • Book Title: GOT MILKED? The Great Dairy Deception and Why You’ll Thrive without Milk
Got Milked? The Great Dairy Deception
Related Article
The Dairy Industry's successful “Got Milk?” advertising campaign (launched to combat declining milk sales) and the government’s antiquated recommended dietary guidelines have led many Americans to view cow’s milk as an essential part of a daily diet, unequaled in providing calcium, protein, and other nutrients and vitamins.

But, as Alissa Hamilton, an expert on food processing and marketing, reveals in her provocative new book, GOT MILKED? The Great Dairy Deception and Why You’ll Thrive Without Milk, cow’s milk is far from essential for good health.

And, for many, including the majority of American adults who can’t properly digest it, is potentially harmful. When lactose is broken down in the body, it produces D-galactose, which is a highly inflammatory sugar that has been proven to accelerate aging.

Not only that, but some pediatricians are blaming too much milk consumption for iron deficiency/anemia. Why? One reason is that parents are not varying calcium supplies, limiting the benefit of other iron-rich foods. Other experts think calcium blocks iron absorption.

As Hamilton points out, things have changed drastically since the initial recommendations for the dairy food group were set. "Cow's milk doesn't deserve to be its own food group any more than pumpkin seeds, which are extremely high in magnesium" (a nutrient many individuals in American are deficient in).

Additionally, milk is NOT the most bio-available source of calcium. Kale, broccoli, bok choy all have higher absorption rates than milk. Hamilton believes it's time to get rid of the dairy food group and move those dairy foods that are low in added sugar and calories over to the protein group.

Here are some of the surprisingly real facts on milk, provided by Hamilton:

  • An eight-ounce serving of plain milk contains the equivalent of almost three teaspoons of sugar.
  • The ability to digest milk as an adult is the result of a genetic mutation and is not the norm.
  • Casein, the major protein in cow’s milk, is one of the most common food allergens.
  • Countries that consume the most dairy and calcium have the highest rates of bone fractures.
  • Pediatricians are saying too much milk consumption is the most common nutritional problem they are seeing among their patients, leading to iron deficiency diseases such as anemia.
  • Dairy farmers can (and do) buy over-the-counter antibiotics to boost the growth of their cows without a veterinarian’s prescription.
  • In the U.S., calcium recommendations for everyone older than three years of age are double or more the minimum set by the World Health Organization.
  • Whole milk is banned from school meal programs but heavily processed, sweetened, and flavored skim-milk products are encouraged.
  • Milk contains essential nutrients, but not always in the amounts listed on milk cartons or advertised by dairy councils.
Finally, Hamilton believes more emphasis is needed in school settings to provide alternatives for milk. After speaking with school administrators, Hamilton learned that schools are typically only funded to provide milk; not the water stations they need (and for which students are asking). 

In the accompanying audio segment, Alissa Hamilton shares more information on the "dairy deception," as well as how you and your loved ones can be completely healthy without cow's milk in your diets.
Sylvia Anderson

Originally from Minnesota, Sylvia moved to California for the sun, sand and warm temperatures. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English and Communications, both of which she has put to good use in her work with RadioMD as Senior Editor.