On Common Dairy Misconceptions

If you grew up learning about the food pyramid, you probably grew up believing that dairy products are an essential food group to a healthy diet.


The truth is, dairy isn’t as good for you as mainstream media would have you believe. The associated risks can easily outweigh the proposed benefits.

Below are just a few of the most common misconceptions I’ve heard regarding dairy, although there are many more, and exhaustive ethical implications that could be discussed.

  1. Drinking Milk is Good for your Health
    • 3/4 of us lack the enzyme to properly digest cow’s milk, and suffer digestively as a result
    • One study removed dairy from the diets of people experiencing regular migraines or asthma, and nearly 75% of participants reported a significant improvement in their condition
    • Over 100 studies have noted a significant correlation between Type 1 diabetes and higher amounts of milk consumed by children
    • Another study on 7500 men found a link between the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease and drinking 2+ glasses of milk a day
    • A Harvard study looking at 100, 000 women aged 26-46 found those with the highest intakes of meat and dairy also had the highest risk of breast cancer
    • For men, over 20 studies have discovered significant links between prostate cancer and milk consumption
  2. You Need Milk to Get Enough Calcium
    • Calcium is a mineral in the soil which is absorbed by the roots of the same plants that cows eat, so you’re not receiving a direct source of calcium.
    • 14-Calcium-Rich-Vegetables-Infographic-Final7Dark leafy greens are far superior in obtaining calcium: on average, you absorb 30% of calcium found in milk, yogurt and cheese whereas you receive double that in foods like kale, broccoli, bok choy and spinach
    • Milk might actually increase the risk of breaking bones and osteoporosis: a Harvard Nurses study of 77, 000 women over a 12 year time frame found that those who had 2+ glasses of milk a day had a higher risk of breaking a bone
  3. Cows Need to be Milked Anyway 
    • Cows are mammals, and just like humans, only produce milk for the purpose of nursing their young. As such, its contents are entirely intended to provide the nutrients for a calf to grow up healthily
    • Humans are the only species to drink another species milk
    • In order to meet human demands, dairy cows are kept pregnant most of their life through artificial insemination
    • A cow nursing her calf naturally will produce roughly 7kg of milk a day, whereas in the dairy industry, they’re forced to produce roughly 27kg a day, often leading to painful conditions such as mastitis
    • Cows in the dairy industry are often slaughtered at the age of 4 or 5 if they don’t die of exhaustion or infection first. They’re natural life span is 18-25 years


At the end of the day, extracting milk from cows is a profitable business, so the dairy shutterstock_95517259_0 industry will make sure you believe that it’s good for you. This hardly scratches the surface of the issues prominent within the dairy industry, but I hope it encourages reflection on your own intake.