In the United States, we have been programmed to believe that in order to build strong healthy bones, and to avoid osteoporosis, that we must consume ample amounts of cow dairy.
Sadly this could not be more of a false statement, but women all over the country flock to cottage cheese and skim milk in order to satisfy their need for calcium. I wish that I could somehow reach all of these women and tell them how wrong they really are.
Most importantly, I would like to tell these women why they have been taught wrongly by the government’s health regulations, school systems, media, etc.
Eating dairy products, including cheese, will not decrease your risk for calcium deficiency. In fact, dairy consumption will increase your risk for osteoporosis and other complications due to calcium loss.
While the reasons that dairy has negative effects on our health is a very complex and an extensive topic, I would like to focus here on cow dairy cheese.
There is simply nothing we love more than cheese (maybe chocolate). Did you ever wonder why? On paper and visually speaking, cheese doesn’t look all that appealing. This is because cheese has drug like effects on the body.
No let me rephrase that…
This is because cheese is a drug. In 1981, Eli Hazum conducted studies on cheese at the Wellcome Research Laboratory and found morphine in cheese. Cheese also has a high amount of the protein casein.
When casein is broken down during digestion it transforms into many opiates called casomorphins. Therefore, it has been shown that cheese has the drug like effect equal to 1/10th of morphine.
Now, let’s talk about why cheese increases risk of calcium loss…
Salt… the average two ounces of cheese contains 350 milligrams of salt, cottage cheese contains 900 milligrams and Velveeta contains about 800 milligrams. Now that’s a lot of salt! We all know that too much sodium is bad for us, although not many people consciously know why.
In terms of bone health, this is where salt trips us up…
“Salt encourages the passage of calcium through the kidneys where it is then lost in the urine.” –Doctor Neal Barnard
Since salt actually sparks a decrease in the amount of calcium absorbed by the body, it is apparent that the over consumption of salt is directly correlated with a decrease in bone density among women. Of course, this also means an increase in breaks, fractures, arthritis, and osteoporosis in the same women.
In fact, many studies have been done that prove that women who do not eat cheese have stronger bones and a lower risk of osteoporosis. A Harvard research study that included 78,000 women showed that the women who got the most calcium from dairy sources vs. plant sources had nearly double the rate of fractured hips.
There’s some food for thought!
The reason we have been programmed into believing that calcium builds strong bones is simply and cheaply for monetary gain. The sad truth is that the dairy industry is closely knitted with the government.
Specifically, the milk industry pays a portion of their sales revenues into a fund. The Secretary of Agriculture has the Dairy and Fluid Milk Board spend the money in this fund (200 million dollars) on things like advertising campaigns and fast food promotions. They do this through an organization called Dairy Management Inc.
Yes, I know it is sickening.
For example; The U.S. Department of Agriculture teamed up with Wendy’s to launch the Cheddar Lover’ Bacon Cheeseburger which lead to the sale of 2.25 million pounds of cheese during the promotion time.
So you see, your cheese fixation is not a result of a health promoting governmental campaign, but is a side effect of the capitalist nature of the American Government. My ultimate lesson here is that it is important for us to start thinking for ourselves in this world, because when there is money to be made: the money comes first.
Much of the information in this article comes from the book Breaking the Food Seduction by Neal Barnard, M.D. the president and founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Barnard is a true leader in his field who is changing the health industry from the inside.