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.
Dairy is also sold as a rich source of calcium and we all know how important calcium is for healthy bone and teeth development. While there may be benefits from consuming dairy, they may be outweighed by its indigestibility 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.
Acute inflammation (like a swollen ankle after a sprain) is a healthy part of the healing process. However, when inflammation becomes chronic (long lasting), your body slowly becomes damaged and weakened leading to a host of health conditions.
Inflammation has been linked to -
- Heart Disease
- Sleep Disturbance
- Autoimmune Disease
- Hormonal Disruptions
In this blog you will find out what nutritionists and the dairy industry don’t want you to know about this NOT so healthy food…
Is Dairy Inflammatory In Its Nature?
“There is no easy answer,” says Frank Hu, MD, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Researchers exploring the link between dairy and inflammation have turned up conflicting evidence. “The picture is murky, and the results are not very consistent,” he says.
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.
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.
Even if you don’t experience gut irritability it doesn’t mean that dairy isn’t a problem for you. There may be low-level inflammation that is building up over time.
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.
What if I drink lactose free dairy?
You would think this might solve the problem, right? Well no! 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.
Finally, There is no debate that excessive Omega 6 consumption can lead to an imbalance between Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory) and Omega 6 (Pro-inflammatory) fats in your body. When cows eat grass they produce loads of Omega 3. However, when they are feed grains they produce more pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fats.
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.
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.
While EAA's are not meant to replace eating an adequate amount of protein from whole foods, it is the perfect dietary supplement to use before, during or after exercise. And because it’s low calorie, it’s great when you’re trying to lose weight and you won’t have to restrict your healthy eating habits.
When you consume a protein shake it’s anyone’s guess how much of the amino acids will absorb. It depends on how good your gut health is, your enzyme production, your current inflammatory status, what you’re eating with it, how hard you exercised and how much muscle mass you have.
There are too many unknowns and health concerns associated with dairy to waste your money on whey protein as a post workout shake. An EAA supplement is absorbed 5 x faster than WPI with NO bloating and NO inflammation. Just faster recovery and better results!
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.