The milk protein myth
Meat and dairy products have been the star numerous diets around the world for hundreds of years. The affluent of most countries eat meat and dairy like they are going out of style. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner plates have a piece of meat as the star of the meal with cheese as the side. Sometimes its 2 dairy filled sides. You walk into the local grocer and into the meat and milk isle and usually it takes up a huge amount of the store, its actually its own two departments!
There is a common question you get asked if you are vegan, “Where do you get your protein from?”
The most popular diets out there focus on eating a lot of protein and very little carbohydrates. These all stem from a diet called The Atkins Diet from Dr. Atkins’ book originally published in 1972. Now a re-named and super popular high-protein diet, the Keto Diet. These are Fad Diets that severely lack in the healthy carbohydrates and increase the consumption of high-saturated fats. (This is another topic for another day).
The most commonly known ways of getting protein in your diet is to eat more animal products. Because, why not? Their muscles and milks are obviously the best way to get protein into our bodies. Duh.
What is up with protein? If it is so great and we lose weight eating and drinking it, why does America have one of the highest obesity rates? Why is cancer the second leading cause of death when we have such amazing food that helps keep us healthy?
One food that is always at the top of the high protein food lists is dairy.
One piece to this puzzle is a milk phosphoprotein called casein. Have you heard of it? Milk is about 87% water. (where do you think a lot of our water in the world is going?) That leaves 13% of stuff we think is healthy for us: water, proteins, vitamins and calcium. And the not so healthy: fat. Casein is the most abundant protein in cow milk, it is 80% of the protein in milk. Whey is the other 20%. Throw in naturally occurring hormones and you have milk.
I love the definition from www.Merriam-webster.com that I totally copied and pasted:
Definition of casein
: a phosphoprotein of milk: such as
a: one that is precipitated from milk by heating with an acid or by the action of lactic acid in souring and is used in making paints and adhesives
b: one that is produced when milk is curdled by rennet, is the chief constituent of cheese, and is used in making plastics
An awesome fact about casein
Wait, what? Why would a milk protein be used in paints, adhesives, and plastics? What does this mean to our bodies when we drink milk or eat cheese? (cheese has the highest amount of casein, by the way). Does that mean casein is gluing our body together?
Casein is a protein that is used in a plethora of ways. Let me list them for you:
- A binding agent
Yes. Just one way, for the most part. Casein is used as a binding agent to stick labels on beer bottles. It is used in foods to make them stay together better. Casein is used in tuna fish when canning to hold the tuna together. It is used in “non-dairy” foods such as coffee creamers.
Umm… Isn’t casein a milk derivative? A part of dairy? So why is it listed on a product labeled “non-dairy”?
I think we may now have our answer as to why some foods that we would never think needs a dairy product, has a dairy product in them. Casein helps bind ingredients in packaged foods.
Casein is the glue that makes cheese melt and amazingly holds itself together. In fact, cow milk cheese is mostly casein! This is why non-vegans don’t like vegan cheese. It doesn’t melt like cow milk cheese.
You know after you have had a glass of milk and you get this phlegm in the back of your throat a little while later? You know that icky stuff that makes you clear your throat or cough up sticky mucus after a bowl of ice cream? Or the congestion you feel in your sinus’s after eating cheese? That is casein taking your mucous and gluing it together.
Casein causes inflammation in the body, usually 12-15 hours after consumption of a dairy product. Because of the SAD diet or Standard American Diet, most American’s eat and drink a dairy product at every meal and snack, every single day. So how do you do a real accurate study on the effects of dairy products and the effects of the glue, casein, when most Americans are inflamed every minute of every day? You do it on animals who don’t normally consume these foods.
Another amazing fact about casein
Casein from cows is used in medical studies to create cancers in lab animals.
Yes, you heard right, the cow milk protein promotes cancer in lab animals, most commonly in lab rats. Look it up. It’s a medical thing.
What is crazy about casein creating cancer in lab rats is that they used the same percentage of protein intake that humans intake, 20%. In other words, 20% of the rats diets were casein proteins, which is about equal to how much humans consume. Check out, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Dr. Thomas Campbell. His book is all about this.
They also concluded that the lower the amount of the protein, casein, in the rats diets the lower their cancer rates. Protein from animal meat is also found to be a high promotor of cancer. Its not just milk proteins.
If you are a skeptic, I recommend you read this book. There are 50 pages of references and 30 years of research done on this topic.
Did you know that about 80% of humans are allergic to dairy products? This is because humans stop producing the enzyme lactase, that breaks down the sugar in milk called lactose, at about the age of 3. This is when human babies should be weaned from their mothers’ breast milk.
Do you have an allergy? It is widely published that cow milk causes allergies to literally everything. Here is a quote from one Journal from 1983:
“Dairy products may play a major role in the development of allergies, asthma, sleep difficulties, and migraine headaches.”
Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 1983; 19(9):806-809
I have a milk allergy. I get sinus infections when I eat cow butter. I feel gross when I get a latte made with cow milk on accident.
Casein is highly allergenic as well.
I have a test for you. Eliminate all dairy products for a full 4 weeks. This means no cow milk in any form: ice cream, butter, milk, cream, half & half, cheese, or dairy additives. After these 4 weeks email me and tell me how you feel. Then go back to eating dairy products and after about a week, email me again and tell me how you feel.
Babies and milk
As I did in a previous blog post, Milk. Part 1: The calcium myth I want to talk about the needs of human babies and mothers breast milk. I think this is inadequately referenced. According Wikipedia, casein takes up 80% of the proteins in cow breast milk. Whereas casein is only 20-40% of the total proteins in human breast milk. This vegan would conclude that cow milk has too much casein for human babies. We don’t need that much protein!
The major protein in human breast milk is Alpha-lactalbumin. It is considered whey protein. All animals have whey. But cow milk whey is Beta-lactalbumin and children are highly allergic to this.
So, with just these 2 facts: babies don’t need a lot of protein because it causes cancers and cow milk protein is an allergen AND causes allergies, why would you feed your baby cow milk? Why would you as a human consume cow milk yourself?
Protein from cows is a scary thing when you actually do some research on it, isn’t it? So, if a cow milk protein can do this to humans, where can you get a healthy protein?
If we stop to think about it… how do cows, chickens, pigs, and other big game get their protein? What do they eat?
Plants, of course!
Plant protein has been shown to reduce or eliminate cancers. 2 great quotes from studies T. Colin Campbell PhD and his teams from his book, The China Study, (specifically, on page 57):
“The results of these, and many other studies, showed nutrition to be far more important in controlling cancer promotion than the dose of the initiating carcinogen.”
“Nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development.”
I tell ya! Dairy is one scary “food”. If you don’t believe what I say, do your own reading. I will keep repeating these amazing resources and won’t ever get blue in the face:
Whole by T. Colin Campbell, PhD
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and his son Thomas Campbell, MD
How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger
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