MyPlate dairy recommendations continue to misrepresent dairy as a health food. Yet researchers have known for decades about the link between dairy and many chronic diseases like cancer. Why is this? And what’s so bad about dairy?
- Dairy wreaks havoc on our health
- How the government has promoted dairy
- 1. Subsidies and Buy-Backs
- 2. Pro-Animal Agriculture Legislation
- 3. “Educational” Programs
- 4. Public nutrition recommendations
- Why does no one know about this?
Dairy wreaks havoc on our health
Cow’s milk is not the wholesome product we’ve been led to believe it is. Because it is meant to make a baby calf grow into a 400 pound cow in several months, it is full of growth hormones (IGF).
As Dr. Michael Kleper puts it, “Cow’s milk is the lactation secretions of a large bovine animal who just had a baby. If you’re not a baby calf, you shouldn’t be eating baby calf fluid.” With this in mind, it makes sense that the majority (65%) of the global population is lactose intolerant. Why would humans naturally have the enzymes needed to digest the milk of other animals?
In our bodies, cow’s milk promotes cancer growth, especially prostate cancer and breast cancer. It is linked to the development of type 1 diabetes, and worsened symptoms in arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Cow’s milk also acidifies our blood and pulls calcium from our bones to neutralize the acid. We then excrete more calcium, which increases our risk of osteoporosis. Furthermore, the antibiotics and natural and artificial hormones in cow’s milk increase propensity for acne.
Yet MyPlate dairy recommendations ignores this evidence. It states that “90% of Americans do not get enough dairy,” when we should be consuming none. MyPlate recommends a daily intake of one cup and states that “most individuals would benefit by increasing intake of fat-free or low-fat dairy.”
How the government has promoted dairy
Through several different avenues, the U.S. government has played a huge role in facilitating the consumption of dairy, namely: subsidies and buy-backs, legislation, “educational” programs and misleading public nutrition guidelines.
1. Subsidies and Buy-Backs
The government subsidizes animal products like dairy, making them artificially cheap. This means that their sticker price doesn’t reflect the real cost of production. Additionally, when a given sector of the animal agriculture industry makes lower profits than the previous year, the government buys their excess products. In 2018, the US government bailed out the dairy industry with $1 billion dollars of taxpayer money simply because the industry made less money than the year before.
This has happened often with the dairy industry, as production continues to increase despite decreasing demand. Because of buy-backs, the government has huge stores of cheese underground and has attempted to pawn off excess dairy products to food handout programs and ship them to Asia, where the vast majority of people are lactose intolerant.
2. Pro-Animal Agriculture Legislation
The Dairy Checkoff program
To further promote the use of dairy products, the dairy industry created the Dairy Checkoff Program in 1983. Through this program, dairy farmers pay for marketing campaigns and for fast food chains to use more of their products. (That’s how Domino’s double stuffed cheese crust pizza came about, for example.) Disturbingly, the USDA supervises this and supports it via nutritional guidelines that encourage the public to consume more dairy.
Certain states have established ag-gag laws in an effort to prevent documentation of the cruel conditions inside factory farms from reaching public view.
Veggie libel laws
Veggie libel laws exist in some states as well, which make it illegal to make disparaging remarks about a food product that could hurt their sales. These laws make it easier for food producers to sue those who criticize their products in thirteen states. These laws threaten free speech regarding animal products. They place the burden of proof on the defendant to prove that their statements are true.
Attempts to stifle the competition
Senators funded by the dairy industry have repeatedly, unsuccessfully attempted to pass the Dairy Pride Act. This legislation would prevent nondairy products from being labeled milk, claiming that it misleads the public. The truth is that the dairy industry is attempting to stifle the competition by preventing these products from being labeled in ways that indicate how they are intended to be used.
3. “Educational” Programs
Grade school programs promote dairy
The dairy industry has weaseled its way into public schools as “part of an effort to guide school-age children to become life-long consumers of dairy products,” according to a Dairy Management, Inc press release.
Their goals are to “market to young children and their mothers, use schools as a channel to young customers and conduct and publicize research favorable to the industry… the dairy industry reaches young children more effectively than any other industry. It has enlisted the public education system as the primary vehicle for increasing demand for its products.”
The dairy industry has also disseminated their own lesson plans for preschool and kindergarten, elementary school, high school and athletes. Astoundingly, 76% of preschools and kindergartens in the country have used them. But don’t be fooled – these programs are marketing schemes, not evidence-based nutrition research.
Medical school programs promote dairy and other animal products
In medical school, most doctors receive only a few hours in nutrition education. Unless doctors pursue further nutritional training on their own, we cannot expect them to know any more about nutrition than our friends or neighbors. This fact is well-established, supported by research studies published in 2017, 2015, 2014, 2014, 2014, 2010, and dating all the way back to 1985.
In an effort to encourage doctors to recommend animal-based products to their patients, animal agriculture lobbyists provide “educational” materials and programs to many medical schools.
“Big Medicine” as a system profits from animal agriculture. Hospitals are in the business of treating sick people with expensive drugs and surgery after symptoms appear. They don’t profit by preventing them through lifestyle changes.
4. Public nutrition recommendations
How did the government start recommending cow’s milk?
American health organizations are not always a reliable source for the most current scientific information, in part due to the fact that many are sponsored by meat, dairy and egg industries.
Despite the dairy industry pushing the message that dairy is a necessary part of a balanced diet, humans do not need cow’s milk any more than we need giraffe’s milk, or rhino milk, or any other animal’s milk created for their young. Before the domestication of animals in the early to mid-1900s, people didn’t consume cow’s milk.
Consuming dairy was originally simply a way to survive long winters. When farms began sending powdered milk overseas to feed soldiers during WWI, demand increased, and they began to breed more cows. After the war, rather than reducing production, the industry worked with the government to market the idea that cow’s milk was necessary to human health and development. During this time, the USDA recommended that children drink four glasses of milk a day.
Why does no one know about this?
The public is unaware of this information because of the influence of the animal agriculture lobby on how information is created and shared with the public. By funding studies designed to portray their products in a positive light and donating to the USDA to gain access to their policy makers, animal agriculture lobbyists influence how “knowledge” is created and spread to society.
But, you’re one of those few who know, now. Every day, we have the power to control our own food choices and make the switch away from dairy for good. Every day, we have the power to influence those of our social circles.
As we can see, MyPlate dairy recommendations are just the latest development in a long line of government and industry efforts to deceive the public. People need to know the truth about food and disease.
If the government won’t tell, then we will.