If you look at modern nutrition habits and health-oriented lifestyles, it’s all about trends. This interesting (and fairly recent) development can be attributed to our growing dependency on the internet as a source of information and our active engagement in social media. It’s simply easier to package and promote something as a health fad. The problem with fads is that people who follow them often go to extremes. They fully embrace the recommended trend, wiping any trace of unwelcome products out of their life. This often results in scapegoating a certain food or even an entire food group without understanding why you specifically shouldn’t be eating it.
Is dairy really that bad?
A great example of this is dairy.
Dairy has been a part of our diet for centuries, literally. Scientists hypothesize that milking of the domesticated cattle for consumption could have begun as early as 6,000 years ago. Dairy is known best as a source of calcium, recommended for consumption particularly among young adults to set the stage for strong bone health in the future.
However, many recent health fads blame dairy products for a lot of health problems. Without a clear scientific backing, online health experts claim that banning dairy from your diet can make a huge difference in your health. Of course, there is a grain of truth to this. Some people cannot digest some or all milk products due to lactose intolerance—the body’s inability to process lactose, a sugar characteristic of all things dairy—which can be a standalone condition or a secondary condition accompanying other gastrointestinal diseases. (Breakthrough new mineral that’s more effective at protecting and supporting bone health.)
But here’s where it gets confusing. According to a recent survey conducted by the Food Standards Agency, nearly half of young adults reported an intolerance to milk, while only 24 percent of them have actually been diagnosed by a doctor.
Adequate calcium intake is critical for healthy bones. In younger people, eating calcium-packed dairy is important for building strong bones that will last through old age, when calcium absorption becomes less efficient. Older people still require an adequate calcium intake to maintain their bone strength and avoid nutritional deficiencies.
By completely eliminating dairy from your diet without a medical reason to do so, you’re denying yourself a great source of calcium, as well as high-quality protein and important minerals and vitamins. Reducing your dairy intake only makes sense if you substitute milk products with other non-dairy sources of calcium like nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cooked beans, certain white flour products, and fish like salmon and sardines. Soy and almond milk are often calcium-fortified too. (Strontium: The most effective total bone health.)
Recommended calcium levels in adults can be met by eating three servings of dairy a day, such as oatmeal with milk, a yogurt, or a slice of cheese.
Whichever fad you’re falling for, do your own research. Simply cutting out something from your diet can do more harm than good if you’re eliminating an important source of nutrients without substituting it with something else.