Q&A: This Doctor’s Take On Dairy

Dr. Michael Klaper answers questions on a wide variety of health and nutrition-related subjects. To submit a question or topic for possible inclusion here, send e-mail to: answers@DoctorKlaper.com

Posted: August 18, 2013
Updated: September 11, 2013

By: Dr. Michael Klaper

I did much of my growing up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin. I began milking cows when I was 8 years old. Several things are now clear to me:

The purpose of cow’s milk is to turn a 65-pound calf into a 700 pound cow as rapidly as possible. Cow’s milk IS baby calf growth fluid. No matter what you do to it, that is what the stuff is.

Everything in that white liquid – the hormones, the lipids, the proteins, the sodium, the growth factors like IGF-I – are all there to start that calf growing into a great big cow, or else they would not be there.

Whether you pour it on your cereal as a liquid, churn it into butter, curdle it into yogurt, ferment it into cheese, or add sugar and freeze it to make ice cream… It’s baby calf growth fluid!

Its purpose is to increase weight and promote growth in tissues throughout the mammalian body. It’s great stuff if you are a baby calf, but if you are a human trying to create a lean, healthy body, it will NOT “do a body good.”

Trying to lose weight? It seems to me that if you are trying to shed fat and create a leaner body for yourself, it is fundamentally irrational to be ingesting substances designed to make a mammalian body bigger and fatter.

In my medical practice, I can often easily recognize the cheese and dairy-eaters. I see the pudginess in their face and the fat around their necks and waists. It is literally written all over them that they are absorbing into their tissues every day a substance filled with fat, hormones and other growth-promoting factors which foster adipose abdomens, bull necks, and, dare I say it, a bovine configuration.

Conversely, it is often remarkable to witness a person’s entire countenance change when they stop consuming dairy products: fatty deposits in their face, neck and trunk begin to melt away, strong jaw lines emerge, and necks show their true anatomy – sometimes muscular, sometimes slender, always welcome. The post dairy-eating human just seems overall healthier, less bloated.

No matter how it is transformed or disguised, cow’s milk is the lactation secretion of a large bovine animal that just had a baby. Like all mother’s milk, it is rich with estrogens. There has long been a strong concern that consuming these milk products, filled with powerful female hormones, fats and growth promoters may foster abnormal cell growth in hormone-responsive tissues, like the breast and uterus.

As such, they are suspects as major contributors to the current epidemic of breast lumps and uterine fibroids, and ovarian cancers that lead to the many breast biopsies and hysterectomies seen disproportionately seen in dairy consuming countries.

Cow’s milk promotes the growth of prostate cancer cells in men. The female hormones in the cheese and dairy products that men eat in such large quantities are suspected to be driving the development male breast tissue, as well, resulting in the unattractive “man boobs.”

There is nothing in cow’s milk that is required by human beings. We have no more need for the milk of a cow than we do the milk of a dog or a giraffe! There is abundant protein, fat, vitamins and minerals in many food products in a whole-food, plant-based diet for human beings. The bovine protein, fats, and hormones in baby calf growth fluid are simply not required by us two-leggers.

The dairy industry markets its products as a good supply of calcium, required for preventing osteoporosis. The implication is that osteoporosis is a disease of calcium deficiency and if we but consume enough calcium – mostly through dairy products – our bones will stay strong.

While this may be effective marketing, it’s not based on scientific fact. Osteoporosis is not a disease of calcium deficiency. Americans consume more calcium than anyone else on planet Earth. Yet, American women suffer more osteoporosis than almost anyone else on the planet. This alone should belie the belief that osteoporosis is a calcium deficiency.

Osteoporosis disuse is atrophy of the bones! We have abandoned our physical lifestyle of days past, where we spent many hours carrying firewood, lifting garden basket-loads, hefting sacks of grain and stacking bales of hay.

These weight-bearing exercises used to repeatedly put stresses on our bones that made them grow stronger in response. Wolff’s law of bones (look it up) states the more you use a bone and stress it against gravity, the stronger it becomes. We have abandoned our hearty, physical, bone-building lifestyle for one where we sit – virtually all day.

We sit at the breakfast table. We sit in the car to drive to work. We sit in front of a computer at our jobs, and we sit in the cafeteria at lunch. We sit in front of the computer all afternoon, and we sit in the car, bus or train on the way home. Then, we spend our evening sitting in front of our home computer or in the living room watching television. Then, we go to bed and lie down.

Mother Nature says “use it or lose it” Since we no longer ask our bones to become strong through wholesome daily use, our bones become weak and porous – and they crumble like styrofoam. This is the reality of osteoporosis. It’s our lack of weight-bearing exercise, along with “calcium thieves” such as excess salt, sugar, caffeine, and soft drinks containing phosphoric-acid, increase calcium excretion through our kidneys – not calcium deficiency in our diet – that has caused our national bone density to decrease so drastically.

Osteoporosis can be readily reversed by purchasing a weighted vest for about $50 and wearing it while walking, doing housework, or most any activity for 20 – 40 minutes every day. With every step, a wave of weight goes down your spine, hips, and leg bones. Your bones respond to the weight loads placed upon them. Bone density soon increases in a healthy, natural manner – not by taking drugs! Gradually increasing the weights over time, will ensure the bones continue to strengthen. For those who cannot wear such a vest, elastic resistance bands used regularly to build muscle will also build bone!

Regarding the claim that cow’s milk is the best dietary source of calcium (and, as often implied in milk advertisements, virtually the only source), I pose a question: Cows have big bones with lots of calcium. (They stepped on my foot a lot when I was milking them as a kid!) Where do cows get their calcium? After all, cows do not drink milk! Where do they get all that calcium to put in their big bones and into their milk?

Of course, the calcium comes from green plants cows eat during the day. Calcium is required by all green plants for cell wall strength and I strongly believe that’s where humans should get their calcium, as well.

Ample quantities of dark green leafy vegetables – kale, chard, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc. – consumed daily, along with calcium-precipitated tofu and calcium-fortified orange juice, if desired, will meet the calcium needs for anyone who wants to create strong bones and is willing to do the weight-bearing exercise to actually make their bones stronger.

Drinking milk and/or taking calcium pills and living a sedentary lifestyle while hoping your bones get stronger is NOT the answer. In fact, taking high-dose calcium supplements may actually increase the risk of calcification of arteries and ligaments – tissues you don’t want to calcify.

Finally, the protein in cow’s milk can be very un-friendly to your body. The casein, lactabumin and other proteins in cow’s milk have been associated with many medical conditions from asthma to acne to type 1 diabetes in children. In my experience, many patients suffering from asthmatic or allergic conditions often report dramatic relief from their symptoms upon omission of dairy products.

In summary, there is nothing in cow’s milk required by humans beings – and many things in it that we are better off not consuming, including saturated fats, bovine growth factors, disease-abetting proteins, not to mention residues of antibiotics, pesticides and cow pus.

Most children on planet Earth – including North American children with bona fide allergies to cow’s milk – grow up big and strong without ever consuming significant amounts of cow’s milk products. They simply are not available due to lack of refrigeration, etc. Yet these children who eat wholesome, plant-based diets and get plenty of vigorous, weight-bearing exercise in the sunshine develop strong bones that last them all their lives (assuming they don’t let them atrophy as sedentary North Americans do.)

So, unless you are a baby calf, this physician believes we are far better off not consuming the products made from the milk of a cow.

– Dr. Michael Klaper

REFERENCES

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School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China.

J Dairy Res. 2012 Feb;79(1):33-8. doi: 10.1017/S0022029911000689. Epub 2011 Oct 3. Proliferative effect of whey from cows’ milk obtained at two different stages of pregnancy measured in MCF-7 cells.

Nielsen TS, Andersen C, Sejrsen K, Purup S., Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Blichers Alle 20, P.O. Box 50, 8830 Tjele, Denmark

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Significance of cow’s milk protein antibodies as risk factor for childhood IDDM: interactions with dietary cow’s milk intake and HLA-DQB1 genotype. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group.

Saukkonen T, Virtanen SM, Karppinen M, Reijonen H, Ilonen J, Räsänen L, Akerblom HK, Savilahti E. Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki, Finland.Allergy and Immunology Section, Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA, US

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To your good health and happiness,

Dr. Michael Klaper