By Guy Lawrence
This is not a post about whether we should be eating dairy or not, but whether we actually need dairy in our diet. Of course there’s the obvious push that it gives us strong bones and it’s a great source of calcium and protein. But can these be sourced from anywhere else to the extent our body needs?
The other question I ask myself is; are people eating dairy because it tastes nice, not because they are actually worried about their bones in the first place? When I sit in a cafe on a Saturday morning and watch people drinking their lattes, I’m pretty sure they couldn’t give a sh*t about calcium levels and bone density as they are simply enjoying their coffee.
So do we really need dairy in our diet? Let’s take a look…
The table below shows nutrient density from 1000 calorie samples. The values represent average of food types within each food group: 18 vegetables, 4 lean meats.
[table caption=”Nutrient Density for Various Food Groups”]
Nutrients,Whole Milk,Vegetables,Lean Meats
Vitamin B12 (ug),0.58,0.00,0.63
Vitamin B3 (mg),0.14,2.73,4.73
Vitamin B2 (mg),0.26,0.33,0.14
Vitamin B1 (mg),0.06,0.26,0.18
Vitamin C (mg),74.2,93.6,0.1
Vitamin B6 (mg),0.07,0.42,0.32
Vitamin A (RE),50,687,1.0
Taken from the book The Paleo Diet for Athletes: A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance by Loren Cordain & Joe Friel.
As you can see from the table above, if you eat a wide range of meats and vegetables (especially leafy greens) you will be getting all the nutrients you need. The only drawback is you have to eat a bucketload of veg to get the calories. Don’t make the mistake of having a limp piece of lettuce in your ham sandwich as making your quota!
Calcium & strong bones?
According to this article at The Harvard School of Public Health, studies suggest that high calcium intake doesn’t actually appear to lower a person’s risk for Osteoporosis.
Along with this, there are studies showing that getting daily sunshine (vitamin D) and weight training are the way forward. And these are two things I factor into my lifestyle.
From what I’ve seen over the years there clearly seems to be many professional opinions on dairy; from milk leading to cancer and lactose intolerance to the essential argument for strong bones.
What’s my take on it?
Personally I think if you can tolerate dairy then there are benefits. But what concerns me is the commercially produced dairy. This includes homogenised milks, processed cheeses and your sweetened yogurts. A good example is the marketing around kids yogurts for healthy bones and teeth when many are highly processed and loaded with sugar.
- I generally avoid milk from the supermarkets and have cream in my coffee.
- I have no issues with butter and get pasture-fed when I can.
- When I was into my weight training and wanted to put on weight, I’d increase my calories using raw milk (un-pasterised & un-homegenised) and had no problem with it.
- I’ve been using a little Progurt each day.
- I eat yogurt occasionally & generally buy sheep yogurt.
- I eat a little cheese (the more mature the better, for me).
Have you completely eliminated dairy from your diet? Or do you eat raw unprocessed dairy? Do you drink supermarket milk? Yogurt? Or do you eat a bucket load of veggies each day? Love to hear your thoughts…. Guy
On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thought’s and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.
If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…