When I realized that dairy was aggravating my PCOS I was worried about calcium. Where would happen to my bones if I wasn’t eating dairy?
I found my answers from Walter Willet, M.D., Ph. D. He is the second-most-cited scientist in all of clinical medicine and the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health. According to Dr. Willet, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on dairy and health, has found that according to the Nurses’ Health Study (followed more than 75K women for 12 years) dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent and that eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. (5)
Dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50% and eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk.
An Australian study showed the same results. (6) And furthermore, countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. In fact calcium isn’t as bone-protective as I thought. (7) Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures. (8) If you are eating lots of greens like collards, kale, cabbage, broccoli and bok choy as well as beans, nuts and seeds, as I do,you will get calcium.
Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
So now that you know some of the risks of eating dairy, this information should empower you to decide how much you should rely on milk and dairy products for your nutritional needs. I don’t know about you, but the idea of getting extra hormones and IGF-1 in my food makes ice cream a lot less appealing. (Although Ben and Jerry was one of the first brands to pledge no rGHB in their products)
I am going to give you a challenge – try giving up all dairy for two weeks. That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream and see how you feel. You should notice improvements with your sinuses, post-nasal drip, headaches, migraines, acne, mood swings, menstrual pain, irritable bowel syndrome, energy, and weight. Then start eating dairy again and see how you feel. Taking a brief break from eating dairy often leads to surprising improvements to health conditions
You may be wondering, “What about raw milk?” If you are lucky enough to live near a dairy where grass-fed cows are milked in their natural state (not pregnant) then you are in luck. Raw milk is not pasteurized or homogenized and has all of its original vitamins, minerals, protein and enzymes for proper digestion still intact. Many people who have problems with milk when they stop drinking pasteurized milk and instead drink raw milk with all the probiotics, vitamins, minerals and enzymes still alive and in their natural form. I don’t have access to raw milk but my grocery store now sells raw butter and cheese.
If you do decide to continue to eat dairy and don’t have access to raw dairy, eat organic. An organic cows’s diet does not contain added hormones (although most of the cows are stilled milked while pregnant- you can ask your local dairy about their practice) chemicals or antibiotics and the cow can’t be fed genetically modified feed. I suggest focusing on fermented products like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, occasionally. If you follow my menu plans you will notice that I do eat small amounts of cheese and butter (think garnish rather than main ingredient) and I do eat organic yogurt a few times a week. And on a special occasions I make homemade ice cream with organic milk products. I have come to learn that nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels and that certainly applies to dairy foods.
(1)Danby FW. Acne and Milk, the diet myth, and beyond J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Feb;52(2):360-2.
(2)Wu, Xk et al, Selective ovary resistance to insulin signaling in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril, 2003, 80(4):954-65
(3) Cramer DW, Harlow BL, Willet WC. Galactose consumption and metabolism in relation to the risk of ovarian cancer. Lancet 1989: 2:66-71
(4) Brannon PM, Carpenter TO, Fernandez JR, Gilsanz V, Gould JB, Hall KE, Hui SL, Lupton JR, Mennella J, Miller NJ, Osganian SK, Sellmeyer DE, Suchy FJ, Wolf MA. NIH Consensus Development Conference Statement: Lactose Intolerance and Health. NIH Consens State Sci Statements. 2010 Feb 24;27(2).
(5) Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health. 1997 Jun;87(6):992-7.
(6) Cumming RG, Klineberg RJ. Case-control study of risk factors for hip fractures in the eldersly. Am J Epidemiol 1994;139:493-505.
(7) Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption, and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Feb;77(2):504-11.
(8) Huncharek M, Muscat J, Kupelnick B. Colorectal cancer risk and dietary intake of calcium, vitamin D, and dairy products: a meta-analysis of 26,335 cases from 60 observational studies. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(1):47-69.