The Great Dairy Debate – Are Dairy Products Good Or Bad?

This is a question people ask nutritionists and health care professionals more and more frequently. In fact, dairy products have become increasingly controversial in recent years, with some people advocating their consumption, and some saying you should steer clear of them entirely. Why is this? When milk seems like such a natural product, why do so many people come out against it?

One common argument against the consumption of dairy products is that although milk is a natural product, consuming it in adulthood is anything but natural. Human beings are the only species that consumes milk past childhood, and certainly, the only one that consumes the milk of other animals. As humans, the vast majority of the milk we use is cows’ milk. The main purpose of cows’ milk is to feed calves that need to grow rapidly. Adult humans are not calves, and we don’t need to grow. So why drink milk?

Well, milk and dairy products are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Milk is an excellent source of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and cobalamin (vitamin B12). It also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and is a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Some dairy products, such as yoghurt, also contain probiotics, which can help with inflammation issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

Why Are Some People Intolerant To Dairy Products?

People who have adverse reactions after consuming dairy products are referred to as being lactose intolerant. Lactose is the “sugar” found in milk, and it’s made up of glucose and galactose. When we’re born, and during our infancy, we produce lactase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down the lactose in milk. As we grow, however, we lose the ability to produce this enzyme, making it difficult for us to digest the lactase. This is known as lactose intolerance, which affects about three-quarters of the world’s adult population. People suffering from lactose intolerance experience digestive issues such as diarrhoea, vomiting and related symptoms when they consume milk or other dairy products. They are, however, often able to tolerate fermented dairy, such as yoghurt and kefir.

Many people worry that because they’re intolerant to dairy, they are at risk of becoming calcium deficient. But you can get calcium from many other sources, such green vegetables, almond milk and fortified soy milk.

If you suspect you might be lactose intolerant and would like guidelines on how to ease your symptoms and replace dairy in your diet, chat to Dr Alain Sanua. As an integrated medicine practitioner, he believes very strongly that harmony within the digestive system is primordial in the prevention and cure of chronic diseases.



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