Dairy Disaster: ( The American cows)
Think milk does a young body good? Think again. Mother cows produce milk for one reason—to feed their own babies. Giving dairy products to human youngsters is unnatural and unhealthy. For one thing, cow’s milk contains proteins that may cause or aggravate a variety of conditions in infants, toddlers, and older children. Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatricians found that “infants fed whole cow’s milk receive inadequate amounts of vitamin E, iron, essential fatty acids, and excessive amounts of protein, potassium, and sodium.”
Giving cow’s milk to your infant can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and crying. Switching from formulas that are based on cow’s milk to soy-based formulas often eliminates the discomfort. Even breast-fed babies may develop digestive problems if their mothers consume dairy products. A study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that the proteins in cow’s milk are transferred to babies through their mothers’ breast milk.
Obesity and Other Disorders
Stomachaches are only the beginning of the problems that your kids may face if you give them dairy products. Milk consumption can contribute to asthma, canker sores, constipation, recurrent ear infections, iron deficiency, and anemia. Learn more about the detrimental effects that dairy products can have on your kids’ health. Consuming dairy products can also make kids overweight. There is a reason why dairy products are so fattening—they’re packed with fat and calories. In fact, calves can gain almost 500 pounds by the time they are weaned from their mothers. The empty fat and sugar calories in cow’s milk will add to your child’s waistline and will detract from his or her health. Learn more about the link between dairy-product consumption and obesity.
On the other hand, fruits, vegetables, and soy products are all kid-friendly and rich in calcium, but they don’t come with all the calories and the adverse health effects that are associated with dairy products. Plus, despite what the powerful dairy industry lobby may claim, scientists have shown that the calcium in plant-based sources is more easily absorbed by human bodies than is the calcium in cow’s milk. In fact, drinking milk may actually weaken our bones! Ironically, American women have one of the highest rates of dairy-product consumption in the world, yet they also suffer from osteoporosis more frequently than any other group. A study funded by the U.S. National Dairy Council found that women who drank three glasses of milk a day for two years actually lost bone mass at twice the rate of women who did not drink milk. Furthermore, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study confirmed that women who received the majority of their calcium from dairy foods also suffered more broken bones than women who did not drink milk.34 Research has clearly shown that children should avoid milk and should fill up on calcium-rich plant foods to build strong bones. Learn more about the link between dairy-product consumption and weak bones.
The consumption of cow’s milk has also been implicated in the development of diabetes; in fact, more than 90 studies have been devoted to the link between the protein in dairy products and the development of insulin-dependent diabetes. Scientists suspect that infants’ immune systems produce antibodies that attack the cow’s milk protein because it is foreign to the human body—frighteningly, these antibodies also attack the human pancreas. The damaged pancreas no longer produces insulin; this means that children who have this condition will be required to receive daily shots of insulin. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that while milk can trigger diabetes in babies, fruits and vegetables actually lower our risk of developing this disease.
Healthy Kids Are Dairy-Free
It’s never too early to encourage healthy eating habits. In his acclaimed book Baby and Child Care, the late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America’s most respected pediatrician, recommends that parents raise their children on a vegetarian diet. “We now know that there are harmful effects of a meaty diet,” wrote Spock. “Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. ... I no longer recommend dairy products. ... There was a time when cow’s milk was considered very desirable. But research, along with clinical experience, has forced doctors and nutritionists to rethink this recommendation.” Doctors and concerned parents agree—consuming dairy products is unnatural, and it can make children sick.