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The Side Effects of Cow's Milk

Children who eat vegan do not get enough protein, calcium, omega-3, iron and several other nutrients to grow and develop normally. But if we look at what the science say, this is not true.

Many are chocked when they’re being told that it’s a myth that we need to consume dairy to be healthy.

It has long been a standard to feed babies and children with animal products to make sure they get all of the nutrition they need, especially with dairy products. Dairy is packed with nutrients and will indeed help your child grow.

But what about the side effects?


The baby’s system can’t handle it

Just because a food is packed with nutrients or something we need doesn’t always mean that there are no bad qualities of that food. Dairy is definitely one of these foods. Even doctors and nutritionists agree that cow’s milk should not be given to children before age 1-2[1].

The recommendations are told because the baby can’t handle the high levels of nutrients in cow’s milk and it’s very hard for the baby to digest the protein and fat in cow’s milk[2]. Cow’s milk is a nutritional package designed for a baby calf to grow fast, not for your baby or anyone.


Type 1 diabetes

Protein is necessary for the child, yes. But cow’s milk has very high levels of animal protein and some of these proteins can stimulate autoimmune reactions in infants that can start the onset of type 1 diabetes[3][4]. Studies have found that infants who not consume cow’s milk have a reduction in the incidence of type 1 diabetes[5][6].


Growth hormones

But growth is great for children? Growth hormones meant for a baby calf do not even sound logical to feed your child with. Cow’s milk is supposed to put two pounds a day onto a growing calf, that’s 40 times the growth rate of human infants[7].

Cow’s milk has an insulin-like growth factor, known as IGF-1. Our bodies also have our own production of IGF-1, so when we consume cow’s milk our production of IGF-1 increases by 10%[8]. If we also already have a cell that’s been damaged by a carcinogenic substance, those extra growth promoters will push a cancer cell into a promotion phase[9].


Casein is a Carcinogen

You may have heard about casein, it’s the main protein of cow’s milk. Studies have found that casein is the most relevant chemical carcinogen ever identified[10][11], if we use the criteria that is used for determining what’s a carcinogen.

What is a carcinogen? Some chemicals in our environment qualify as carcinogens, they promote the genetic mutations that lead to cancer, based on testing them in experimental animal studies according to criteria set by the government[12].

So, what the researchers really found about casein was that they could turn cancer on by increasing casein consumption and turn it of by decreasing casein consumption and replacing it with plant protein instead[13].

Cancer is a topic on it’s own, nutrition have been ignored for 200 years within cancer research. I will cover a post about cancer and nutrition.


Calcium is not that great for the bones

Calcium equals great bone health in children and adults, that’s what we have been told. The data we have today do not support the use of cow’s milk for bone health. When you actually look up the studies that are trying to link the consumption of cow’s milk to stronger bones, and dig into these studies, the data do not support that[14][15][17]. Studies show the opposite, there is a higher risk of fracture with a higher intake of cow’s milk[18][19].

We do still need calcium, but calcium from plants is actually better absorbed by our bodies than from cow’s milk[20][21]. And there are no problems with meeting the calcium need, 1 1/2 cups kale or 2 cups of broccoli contain the same amount of calcium as a glass of cow’s milk, due to their much better calcium absorption rate[22].


Childhood Constipation

There are a lot of children with constipation problems. Studies show that by eliminate dairy from children with constipation, the constipation was found up to 100% cured[23], this because many cases of chronic constipation in young children are due to a milk protein allergy[24][25].


Nobody needs the cow’s milk

Nobody needs cow’s milk to thrive but the cow’s milk is everywhere. Even though doctors and nutritionists agree not to give 1-2 year old children cow’s milk, there is cow’s milk in all kinds of baby food. The biggest brands with baby food (6-12 months) manage to put a whole lot of milk in one jar (often porridges) such as milk powder, skim milk powder, whole milk, cream etc.

All of the nutrients in cow’s milk can be found in a plant based diet. The difference is that we skip all the bad stuff - growth hormones, cholesterol, casein, saturated fat, etc. We also stop supporting the horrible dairy industry (click here for some industry facts).

And really, think about it. Humans are the only species that drink breastmilk from another species, milk that is produced for the baby calf. It's far away from natural for us to drink cow's milk

You can make so much yummy stuff out of plants! Cheese is often the hardest part to give up. Check out my recipe on vegan mozzarella that you can have on your pizza, or check out other delicious plant-based recipes in the Fivesec Health recipe app!