We’re raised to believe that milk is essential for a healthy diet. In fact, breastfeeding is literally the first form of nourishment for many infants. But human breast milk is not the same as dairy milk and in many ways, they couldn’t be further apart.
Are Dairy Products Healthy?
Dairy is also sold as a rich source of calcium and we all know how important calcium is for healthy bones and teeth development. While there may be many benefits from consuming dairy, they may be outweighed by its in digestibility and potential inflammatory promoting effects.
Inflammation is a biological mechanism that your immune system initiates to protect tissues from harmful stimuli. These may include pathogens, toxins, stress, wounds, foreign substances, certain foods and more.
Inflammation has been linked to -
- Heart Disease
- Sleep Disturbance
- Autoimmune Disease
- Hormonal Disruptions
A food can cause inflammation when it is poorly digested and this is where lactose, a sugar found in milk may present part of the problem.
Is Lactose Healthy For Humans?
One could argue that the human body is not designed to drink milk after infancy. More than 75% of humans lose their ability to produce lactase (the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose) after weaning. In Asian populations this number may be as high as 90%.
In addition, the pasteurization process destroys many of the naturally occurring enzymes that help with digestion of the dairy. This results in lactose intolerance which can cause local inflammation, resulting in bloating and gut discomfort.
The World Health Organization still recommends the general consumption of dairy every day for all humans, even though 3 out of 4 of us are not able to digest it properly! This in turn leads to an epidemic of health complaints like acne, eczema, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
Is Lactose Free Dairy Healthy?
Almost as many people are intolerant to one of the proteins found in dairy known as casein. Casein has similar properties to gluten. In fact, if you are intolerant to gluten you will likely have issues digesting casein too.
A German study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2015 showed a sample group of adults consuming dairy had low grade inflammation. Other studies conducted on lower levels of dairy (especially yoghurt) show the opposite.
Nutrition researchers believe yogurt’s anti-inflammatory power comes from the probiotics it contains, but that still has to be confirmed with rigorous trials, Dr. Hu says.
What are some healthy sources of protein?
So the better choice when it comes to dairy is grass fed, unpasteurized (if you can get it legally) and fermented like yogurt. Otherwise you can always get your protein from food like...
- Grass Fed Meat
- Wild Caught Seafood
- Free Range Poultry
- Sprouted Nuts and Seeds
- Fermented Tofu
- Sprouted Plant Proteins
However, none of these food options digest as quickly as Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) or Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) after training. Truth is, you really don’t want anything that requires digestion after exercise… even WPI.
How can I supplement my protein intake without dairy?
After training you need Amino Acids (simple protein) in your blood stream as quickly as possible to assist with muscle recovery from your intense workout. Unfortunately, most of your blood has been shuttled away from your digestive tract to your heart, lungs and muscle tissue.
This lack of blood and energy around the gut limits your ability to digest even WPI into the absorbable amino acids.
The best solution post workout is to consume a COMPLETE Essential Amino Acid (EAA) supplement. One that contains ALL 9 Essential Amino Acids. Anything short of all 9 (BCAA’s only have 3 of the 9 needed) is going to significantly reduce your recovery and muscle development. Amino Switch is a perfect product for this!
Many people find themselves intolerant to dairy, even if they had no problems with it in their younger years. The bottom line is, eating a healthy diet without dairy is not just possible, it's easy!