Is dairy really necessary? Should it be part of a balanced diet? How useful is the Canadian Food Guide which recommends 2-3 servings of cow’s dairy per day?
On CBC radio this morning there was an AMAZING discussion on dairy products and it’s necessity in Canada’s guidelines. For full details click here. Thank you, THANK YOU to Alissa Hamilton for speaking up on this issue. It blows my mind everyday with the number of patients I see who think that they NEED milk as part of their diet. Reality check – No. You. Don’t. The dairy industry has done an amazing job at convincing us that the only way to get calcium is through dairy. Um, wrong! Turns out, if we started eating vegetables and maybe used our muscles once in a while, we would actually hit peak bone mass way quicker than slurping down glass after glass of milk.
Take Asian countries for example – they don’t drink milk. Take most African countries – they don’t drink milk either. Want to know their risk of hip fractures (common marker of low bone mass)? Turns out they are the lowest! What do they do instead of drinking milk? They walk, they lift, they use their muscles and eat vegetables! It’s a crazy concept, I know, eating vegetables, but it’s really that simple.
Hip Fracture Incidence Map – International Osteoporosis Foundation
I actually laughed when I heard Douglas Goff start talking about the “convenience of dairy” – as if that should be an excuse to keep it on the Canadian Food Guide. Vegetables are just so inconvenient we might as well just stop eating them and start looking for some alternatives because we don’t have time for food. Do you have time to deal with a hip fracture? I don’t think so. Straight up this man is brilliant – I had him as a professor – so I don’t want to hate here, but he’s also Mr Ice Cream International and so has a stake in loving the dairy industry.
All in all, I just want to back Alissa Hamilton up and agree that:
- Dairy is not REQUIRED as part of a healthy diet
- A vegetable-rich diet will offer you ALL the calcium you need (plus many other essential nutrients)
- And ultimately, excess calcium can actually harm the body
So next time you are working to get your “daily requirements of dairy” into your body. Stop and think about what you’re doing – eating a salad or bowl of veggies will actually get you further.