Sunday, January 6, 2008

Arguments For & Against Eating Dairy

Appraising Your Success

Here it is the end of the first week of the year! It is a good time to review your SWEET Life and count up your accomplishments. Your goal is 5-6 times per week for each aspect of the SWEET Life: Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise, and Tranquility. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals, then focus on those areas more and think about how to fulfill them more consistently. You need a plan, not a hope, in order to be successful. If your plan isn’t working, it’s time to revise your plan.
How do you feel at the end of this week? Are you better rested? Do you feel relaxed? Are you more energetic? Do you feel generally healthier? If so, that’s great! Continue with the SWEET Life and you’ll continue to experience all of these feelings! If not, know that by living the SWEET Life, you will feel all these great feelings!

Topic of the week –Arguments For & Against Eating Dairy

Nowadays, there seem to be a lot of people, especially women, who are cutting dairy out of their diets. At the same time, the dairy industry’s ads say that drinking milk will help you lose weight. What’s true vs. fiction? Why should you or shouldn’t you consume dairy products? I searched the internet for arguments both for and against dairy products. As with all internet research, I tried to screen carefully for reputable sources of information because there is a lot of unsubstantiated bias out there. The best sources of information I found are listed at the bottom, so check them out.

First, why you should NOT drink milk. There are four main reasons why people don’t drink milk. Some people are concerned about the hormones given to dairy cows in order to supplement their diets and help them produce more milk. I didn’t find evidence that those hormones pass through the milk in sufficient quantities to endanger humans. Perhaps you can find the contrary.

Another reason not to drink milk is the high saturated-fat content and calories. However, low fat dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. have significantly lower saturated fat content than full-fat versions, and the calorie intake is moderate. Even the dairy industry suggests low fat, rather than full-fat, dairy products.

Some people are lactose intolerant, which is an extremely good reason no to drink milk! However, this problem can often be alleviated by a small, regular introduction of dairy products, like yogurt and some types of cheese, which have lower quantities of lactose than milk does.

The most significant reason for not consuming dairy products is that milk today comes from industrialized factories, just like our cars, computers and Ipods. That means, the goal is to have the highest output in the shortest time. The farmers do everything that modern man has created to achieve their goal. Their cows are not pets; they are factory workers. They are used and abused as long as they produce; then they are “made final use of” and replaced. If all this is appalling enough to make you stop eating dairy, then I completely understand.

Fortunately, for us in California, we do have local dairy farms which are not industrialized factories and which produce organic milk from pastured cows. So then, on the flip side, why should you consume dairy products? First of all, they taste yummy! I love dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, butter, cream, etc. Besides tasting good, they come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. They combine well with other foods, such as cheese and bread, broccoli and cheddar, yogurt and fruit, ham and cheese, just to name a few. Dairy products have been dietary staples since ancient times.

Nutritionally, dairy products are the best source of calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth. They are also a good source of protein, second only to meat in protein content. Milk also contains significant amounts of your daily recommended intake of Vitamins A, B-12, D and Phosphorous. That’s a total of six nutritional essentials, in significant quantities, from one dietary source: dairy.

Lastly, studies show consuming dairy helps with weight loss. Consuming the same number of calories, there was increased weight loss on a diet containing diary products compared to one without dairy. It seems that calcium wraps around fat and leads it out the back door without being digested. Studies also show that consuming calcium from food sources is better than calcium supplements, which is no surprise. It is the nature of “supplements” not to be the main source of any nutrient; hence the name” supplement”!

In conclusion, I recommend eating dairy for two reasons: it has important nutritional value, and I don’t support cutting out any major food groups. Plus, it tastes great!


Look for another topic next week!

Have a SWEET week!


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