(NOTE: This article is from the old School of Natural Healing Newsletter)

January 2003

by Bruce Moody, MH

Remember those commercials where a young scrawny child drinks milk and is aged before your eyes into a strapping eighteen year old football player, or the prepubescent girl that drinks a glass of milk and is transformed into a super model? The dairy industry has fueled itself over the years with brilliant marketing campaigns targeted at children and young adults. Today, television, radio, and roadside billboards are littered with milk mustaches and “Got Milk?” slogans that are aimed at a new generation of dairy customers. If you have ever wondered, who is behind those ads, or if milk actually “Does a body good”, you’re in for a few surprises.

The dairy industry is $19 billion a year business that includes not only dairy farmers but also processors, lobbyists, a dairy council, and several teams of marketing geniuses all with the single goal of getting you to buy another carton of milk. According to the dairy council, the current advertising campaign costs more than $190 million, and is one of the most successful campaigns in the history of advertising.

One of the most effective sales techniques used is touting the calcium content of milk. However, there is controversy brewing about how much dairy calcium is utilized by the body, and how healthy dairy products really are for humans. After years of being told that milk is needed to grow strong bones and prevent osteoporosis, scientists are discovering the exact opposite is true. A study done at Harvard tracked nurses for twelve years and found that the more dairy products each consumed the higher their incidence of osteoporosis. The high protein content of dairy products actually caused the body to lose calcium and over time bone mass decreased. Milk consumption has also been linked to diabetes. In a landmark study published in the Journal of American Medicine, scientists found a rather alarming pattern. Countries that consume the most milk also have the highest rate of diabetes. Other studies point to dairy products used in infant formulas as a factor in high rates of diabetes in certain populations.

But isn’t milk nature’s perfect food? Dairy products are specifically designed by mother nature to feed babies and not adults. Cows milk is made to feed baby cows and human milk is made for baby humans. In fact humans and their pets are the only animals that consume milk after they are weaned and certainly the only animals to drink milk from another species.

Instead of pouring milk on your cereal in the morning, try one of the many milk alternatives that can be found in any health food store and even most grocery stores. Try soy or almond cheese too, and if you’re in the mood for a treat—some brands of non-dairy ice cream taste better than the original and are much better for you. Need extra calcium? Big boned cows get their calcium from grass while humans get their most useful calcium from green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and leaf lettuce.