There’s no question that veganism is on the rise. What was once a fad reserved solely for hippies and tree huggers has now gone mainstream. In the past decade alone veganism in the UK has risen by 360%, and Australia is the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world.
Veganism is no longer just for those who are against animal cruelty. It’s now picking up speed with those concerned about their health. In 2015, processed meats such as bacon and sausage made the headlines as The World Health Organisation classed them as Group 1 carcinogenics, due to sufficient evidence that the consumption of processed meat caused colorectal cancer.
There have been progressively more studies done in recent years that demonstrate the adverse health implications of dairy. In response, the dairy industry are resorting to scare tactics to confuse the public into doubt and controversy, an approach reminiscent of the tobacco industry in the 70s.
Yet, the facts are there and irrefutable; dairy is scary. To break it down, milk is a hormonal fluid. Its purpose is to turn a newborn baby calf into a large, fully-grown mammal within a short space of time. And the bottom line is, digesting milk is leading to a myriad of health problems.
Humans aren’t designed to digest milk from other animals, and indeed, most of the world is lactose intolerant. Children are suffering from conditions linked to dairy consumption, including chronic constipation and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Countries that have the highest rates of dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis, and in a 1992 study it was shown that calcium intake demonstrated no protective role at all. A number of studies have also shown that there is a strong link between dairy and autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
But perhaps scariest of all is its link to cancer (it is important to note here that only 5-10% of cancer is actually genetic, yet in both the UK and Australia, 1 in 2 of the population will have it at some point in their lives). The consumption of dairy increases a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 34%, and for women who have had breast cancer, 1 serving of dairy per day increases the risk of them dying from the disease by 49% and dying from any disease by 64%. Woman who consume dairy also have higher rates of infertility and ovarian cancer.
We’re all told we need to drink milk to build strong bones. Yet contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t. A study conducted in 2014 showed that higher dairy consumption was linked to higher fracture rate in women. It has also been reported that dairy consumption has little effect on bone density, strength, or fracture rate in children or adolescents.
You might be wondering why you’ve not heard any of this before. In fact, why is the National Osteoporosis Society worried that cutting out dairy is a ‘ticking time bomb’ for bone health, despite evidence showing that dairy increases fracture rate and has no effect on bone density or strength? A quick Google search will show that in 2016 the UK National Osteoporosis Society held a roundtable with their top corporate sponsors; the National Dairy Council being one of them. The Irish Osteoporosis Society are also sponsored by Yoplait, the largest franchise brand of yoghurt. If a large part of your funding comes from the dairy industry, are you going to publish information conflicting to their objectives?
Ultimately, we shouldn’t be consuming dairy if we care about our health. With hundreds of dairy alternatives available and thousands of vegan recipes that help you create your favourite foods, it’s no longer a challenge to ditch the dairy.
There’s simply no disputing the facts. The dairy industry should be worried.