Milk is the "Perfect Food"...
for Baby Calves
But Many Doctors Agree it is Not Healthy for Humans
by Michael Dye (excerpts)
People who have been taught that cow's milk is the "perfect
food" may be shocked to hear many prominent medical doctors
are now saying dairy consumption is a contributing factor in nearly
two dozen diseases of children and adults.
"nutritional education" in school (funded in part by
the dairy industry) taught us that dairy products are one of the
four basic food groups we all need for proper nutrition. And with
more than 60 of the most powerful Congressional leaders in Washington
receiving campaign contributions from the National Dairy Council,
we can be assured that dairy products are well-entrenched as a
major staple of our government-sponsored school lunch programs.
Oski, M.D., author of Don't Drink Your Milk! former Director
of the Department of Pediatrics of Johns Hopkins University School
of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of the Johns Hopkins Children's
Center. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 19
medical textbooks and has written 290 medical manuscripts.
In the first chapter of his book, Dr. Oski states, "The fact
is: the drinking of cow milk has been linked to iron-deficiency
anemia in infants and children; it has been named as the cause
of cramps and diarrhea in much of the world's population, and
the cause of multiple forms of allergy as well; and the possibility
has been raised that it may play a central role in the origins
of atherosclerosis and heart attacks." Dr. Oski comments,
"Being against cow milk is equated with being un-American,"
but still he notes, "Among physicians, so much concern has
been voiced about the potential hazards of cow milk that the Committee
on Nutrition of the prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics,
the institutional voice of practicing pediatricians, released
a report entitled, 'Should Milk Drinking by Children Be Discouraged?'
Although the Academy's answer to this question has (as of this
writing) been a qualified 'maybe,' the fact that the question
was raised at all is testimony to the growing concern about this
product, which for so long was viewed as sacred as the proverbial
goodness of mother and apple pie."
Another outspoken critic of cow's milk is Dr. William Ellis, a
retired osteopathic physician and surgeon in Arlington, Texas,
who has researched the effects of dairy products for 42 years.
Dr. Ellis is listed in Marquis' Who's Who in the East, Leaders
of American Science, the Dictionary of International Biography
and Two Thousand Men of Achievement. Dr. Ellis says dairy products
are "simply no good for humans... There is overwhelming evidence
that milk and milk products are harmful to many people, both adults
and infants. Milk is a contributing factor in constipation, chronic
fatigue, arthritis, headaches, muscle cramps, obesity, allergies
and heart problems." When Washington D.C.-based pediatrician
Dr. Russell Bunai was asked what single change in the American
diet would produce the greatest health benefit, his answer was,
"Eliminating dairy products." Dr. Christiane Northrup,
a gynecologist in Yarmouth, Maine, states, "Dairy is a tremendous
mucus producer and a burden on the respiratory, digestive and
immune systems." Dr. Northrup says when patients "eliminate
dairy products for an extended period and eat a balanced diet,
they suffer less from colds and sinus infections."
So how can all these medical statements be explained in light
of what we have been taught all of our life about milk? Remember
"Milk is the Perfect Food"... "Milk is a Natural"...
"Everybody Needs Milk." Are we talking about the same
food here? Perhaps we are not. It would appear that promoters
of cow's milk are creating advertising statements that are meant
to appeal on a subconscious level to our positive feelings and
experiences with human breast milk. All mammals, including humans,
are intended to be nourished during infancy by milk from their
mother. Part of the very definition of a mammal is that the female
of the species has milk-producing glands in her breasts which
provide nourishment for her young. Each species of mammal produces
its unique type of milk designed specifically to strengthen the
immune system and provide nourishment for their babies, which
are weaned after their birth weight has approximately tripled.
So, absolutely yes, "milk is a natural"... in the
proper context. It is perfectly natural for infant mammals,
including humans, to be nourished exclusively by milk from their
mother's breasts. So if we are talking about human breast milk
for babies, yes, "milk is the perfect food." And yes,
during infancy when we have no teeth for eating solid food, and
as we need to strengthen our immune system, "everybody needs
good place to start in analyzing the distinction between milk
of different species is to begin to understand how nature works.
As Dr. Oski explains in Don't Drink Your Milk!, "The
milk of each species appears to have been specifically designed to protect the young of that species.
Cross-feeding does not work.
Heating, sterilization, or modification of the milk in any way
destroys the protection." So, how much of a difference is
there between a human baby drinking the milk of its mother versus
drinking the milk of a cow? Dr. Oski cites a "study of over
twenty thousand infants conducted in Chicago as far back as the
1930s... The overall death rate for the babies raised on human
milk was 1.5 deaths per 1,000 infants while the death rate in
the babies fed cow milk was 84.7 per 1,000 during the first nine
months of life. The death rate from gastrointestinal infections
was forty times higher in the non-breast-fed infants, while the
death rate from respiratory infections was 120 times higher. An
earlier analysis involving infants in eight American cities showed
similar results. Infants fed on cow's milk had a twenty times greater
chance of dying during the first six months of life."
Dr. Michael Taylor, a Chiropractic Physician, doctoral candidate
to become a Doctor of Nutrition and fellow of the American Academy
of Orthomolecular Medicine, agrees, stating, "It is a dietary
error to cross species to get milk from another animal."
He notes there is a tremendous difference between human babies
and baby calves, and a corresponding difference between the milk
that is intended to nourish human babies and baby calves. In an
interview on "Let's Eat," a Seventh-day Adventist television
program, Dr. Taylor notes that human infants take about 180 days
to double their birth weight, and that human milk is 5 to 7 percent
Calves require only 45 days to double their birth weight and cow's
milk is 15 percent protein. In addition to the difference in the
amount of protein in these two different types of milk, there
are also major differences in the composition of this protein.
The primary type of protein in cow's milk is casein. Cow's milk
has 20 times as much casein as human milk, which makes the protein
from cow's milk difficult or impossible for humans to assimilate,
according to Dr. John R. Christopher, N.D., M.H. Protein
composes 15 percent of the human body and when this protein cannot
be properly broken down, it weakens the immune system, causing
allergies and many other problems.
Allergies caused by cow's milk are extremely common. In fact,
Dr. Taylor states that when a single food can be isolated as the
cause of an allergy, 60 percent of the time, that food is cow's
milk. Dr. Ellis notes that symptoms of this allergic reaction
to cow's milk in infants can include asthma, nasal congestion,
skin rash, chest infections, irritability and fatigue. Dr. Oski's
book cites evidence from Dr. Joyce Gryboski, director of the Pediatric
Gastrointestinal Clinic at Yale University School of Medicine,
who states "they see at least one child a week who is referred
for evaluation of chronic diarrhea and proves to have nothing
more than an allergy to cow milk."
Another reason many people suffer various symptoms of disease
from drinking milk is that, according to Dr. Oski, the majority
of the world's adult population is "lactose intolerant,"
meaning they cannot digest lactose, the sugar in milk (cow's milk
and human milk). An enzyme known as lactase is required to digest
lactose, and Dr. Oski states that "between the age of one
and a half and four years most individuals gradually lose the
lactase activity in their small intestine. This appears to be
a normal process that accompanies maturation.... Most people do
it. All animals do it. It reflects the fact that nature never
intended lactose-containing foods, such as milk, to be consumed
after the normal weaning period."
Three reasons cited by medical researchers that dairy products
contribute to heart disease are their high content of cholesterol
and fat, along with an enzyme in cow's milk called xanthine oxidase
(XO). This enzyme, which creates problems only when milk is
homogenized, causes heart disease by damaging arteries. Explaining
the significance of XO, Dr. Ellis cites research by Dr. Kurt Oster,
Chief of Cardiology at Park City Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut:
"From 1971 to 1974, we studied 75 patients with angina pectoris
(chest pain due to heart disease) and arteriosclerosis (hardening
of the arteries). All the patients were taken off milk and given
folic acid (a B-vitamin) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), both of
which combat the action of XO. The results were dramatic. Chest
pains decreased, symptoms lessened, and each of those patients
is doing great today." Dr. Oster's article states that Dr.
Kurt Esselbacher, Chairman of the Department of the Harvard Medical
School, was in full agreement. Dr. Esselbacher writes: "Homogenized
milk, because of its XO content, is one of the major causes of
heart disease in the U.S."
But don't we need to drink milk to get calcium?
No. The best way to add calcium to your diet is to eat more fresh
green vegetables. Cow's milk is high in calcium, but Dr. Ellis
explains, the problem is that it is in a form that cannot be assimilated
very well by humans. Dr. Ellis states, "Thousands and thousands
of blood tests I've conducted show that people who drink 3 or
4 glasses of milk a day invariably had the lowest levels of blood
calcium." Dr. Ellis adds, "Low levels of blood calcium
correspond with irritability and headaches. In addition, the low
calcium level in milk-drinkers also explains why milk-drinkers
are prone to have muscle spasms and cramps. Since calcium is necessary
for muscles to relax, a lack of calcium causes muscle cramps,
One of the most serious problems caused by a calcium deficiency
is osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of
50 to 75 percent of the person's original bone material. In the
U.S., 25 percent of 65-year-old women suffer from osteoporosis.
Their bones become brittle and easily broken. They can crack a
rib from something as minor as a sneeze. Our pervasive dairy advertising
has led to one of the most commonly held, and solidly disproved,
fallacies about bones, which is that the best way to build strong
bones is to increase calcium consumption by drinking plenty of
Actually, the consensus among leading medical researchers is that
the best way for most people to increase their calcium level and
strengthen their bones is to reduce their protein intake, and
specifically to reduce consumption of animal products. Research
has conclusively shown we can do more to increase the calcium
level in our bones by reducing protein intake than by increasing
calcium intake. The reason is that animal products and other
sources of high protein are very acidic, and the blood stream must balance this acidic condition by absorbing alkaline minerals
such as calcium from the bone structure. Thus, numerous studies,
including those published in the Aug. 22, 1984 Medical Tribune
and the March 1983 Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have found that
vegetarians have much stronger bones than meat-eaters. Indeed,
the Journal of Clinical Nutrition article found that by age 65,
meat-eaters had five to six times as much measurable bone loss
Speaking of minerals, another serious problem caused by consumption
of cow's milk is iron-deficiency anemia. Dr. Oski notes
that 15 to 20 percent of children under age 2 in the U.S. suffer
from iron-deficiency anemia. Cow's milk contributes to this condition
in two ways. First, he notes that cow's milk is extremely low
in iron, containing less than 1 milligram of iron per quart. Because
of this, he writes that it is estimated that a 1-year-old would
need to drink 24 quarts of cow's milk a day to meet his iron requirements,
which would be impossible. He states many infants may drink from
one to two quarts of cow's milk a day, which satisfies their hunger
to the point that they do no have the appetite to consume enough
of other foods that do have a high iron content.
The second way that cow's milk leads to iron-deficiency anemia
in many infants is a form of gastrointestinal bleeding caused
by increased mucus and diarrhea associated with dairy consumption.
"It is estimated that half the iron-deficiency in infants
in the United States is primarily the result of this form of cow
milk induced gastrointestinal bleeding," Dr. Oski writes.
"Mucus is frequent and some stools contain obvious
traces of bright red blood... The diarrhea impairs the infant's
ability to retain nutrients from his feedings. In addition, the
changes produced in the gastrointestinal tract by the allergic
reaction result in seepage of the child's own blood into the gut.
This loss of plasma and red cells leads to a lowering of the infant's
blood protein level and to the development of anemia."
The mucus created by dairy products causes other problems as
It is well-known that dairy products cause excessive mucus in
the lungs, sinuses and intestines. Dr. Ellis notes this
excess mucus in the breathing passages contributes to many respiratory
problems and that mucus hardens to form a coating on the inner
wall of the intestines that leads to poor absorption of nutrients,
which can cause chronic fatigue. This mucus also causes constipation,
which can lead to many other problems.
Two very common problems with infants are colic and ear infections,
both of which can be caused by cow's milk. Medical studies have
found cow's milk can contribute to these problems either directly,
when the infant drinks cow's milk, or indirectly, when the infant
breast feeds from a mother who has been consuming dairy products.
Colic, suffered by one out of every five infants in the U.S.,
is characterized by severe stomach cramps. The July/August 1994
issue of Natural Health reports, "When a mother eats dairy
products, milk proteins pass into her breast milk and end up in
the baby's blood; some studies have found that cow's milk proteins
(from milk drunk by the mother) might trigger colic-like symptoms
in infants fed only human milk and no cow's milk."
Concerning ear infections, Dr. Northrup states, "You just
don't see this painful condition among infants and children who
aren't getting cow's milk into their systems." The Natural
Health article also notes, "Removing dairy from the diet
has been shown to shrink enlarged tonsils and adenoids, indicating
relief for the immune system. Similarly, doctors experimenting
with dairy-free diets often report a marked reduction in colds,
flus, sinusitis and ear infections."
Another common problem for children is the bellyache.
Dr. Oski states in his book that up to 10 percent of all children
in this country suffer from a syndrome known as "recurrent
abdominal pain of childhood." He says studies performed in
Boston and San Francisco each concluded "that about one-third
of such children had their symptoms on the basis of lactose intolerance.
The simple solution was to remove all milk and milk-containing
foods from the diet and watch for signs of improvement."
Dr. Oski's book also cites studies by two scientists from the
University of Michigan who have conducted extensive research on
factors associated with multiple sclerosis. There is an
unusual geographic distribution of MS victims in the U.S. and
throughout the world, which has baffled medical researchers for
decades. This distribution of MS victims has no correlation to
wealth, education or quality of medical care. Dr. Oski notes the
Michigan scientists found in this pattern in the U.S. and 21 other
countries, "the only significant link was between multiple
sclerosis and average milk consumption."
When a reasonable person considers all this evidence, it would
be difficult to still believe cow's milk is healthy for human
consumption. So, what do we drink instead? Dr. Oski partly answers
this question by writing, "For the newborn infant, there
are two obvious alternatives -- the right and left breast of the
Note from Béatrice Duplantier-Rhea
After a child is weaned, there is no reason to drink any cow's milk.
It is better to drink mineral water like EVIAN or CELTIC for instance,
which has a neutral pH beneficial for our kidney function.
it is absolutely necessary to feed animal milk to a human infant,
it is advisable to give the milk of a smaller animal like a goat
where its nutrient content is more adapted to the needs of
the human infant and cut it with mineral water. A holistic pediatrician
can guide the mother who cannot breast feed.
Excellent sources of Calcium (easily assimilated)