For anyone who has done their reading on the deleterious consequences of regularly consuming dairy products, perhaps you can relate to my reaction when I look at dairy loaded foods. For those that aren’t enlightened about the chemicals present in a piece of cheese or a stick of butter, this article will point out a few things that may alter the way you view these foods and heighten your willpower to turn down a slice of cheese-loaded pizza or pasta inundated with cheese sauce.
Being in my early twenties results in attending quite a few gatherings with friends in which pizza is the meal of choice. I need to spread the word more about what’s in the cheese! I don’t want my friends consuming foods that promote ill health and increase the body’s toxic load. Heck, I don’t want anyone consuming these types of foods.
Dairy products are produced under mega dirty conditions and these conditions result in the production of “dirty” milk. Blood, fecal matter, pus, E. coli and other dangerous pathogens found in the raw milk at factory farms are routinely boiled off to convert the “dirty” milk to “clean” milk. This probably doesn’t have much to do with the nutritious properties of the milk, but it’s gross to think about. Due to pasteurization procedures that boil the heck out of the milk, factory farms are able to avoid washing their milk machines, don’t have to sterilize milk container, don’t have to make employees wash their hands or make the dairy production environment clean in any way. That’s lovely to imagine, right?!
Then there is the whole issue of dioxin. Without intentions to scare anyone (because it is scary), I must be honest and report that dioxin happens to be one of the most toxic chemicals known to science and is present in dairy and other animal products.1,2 Dioxin describes a group of chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment and are the unintentional byproducts of industrial processes involving chlorine. The Environmental Protection Agency explains that dioxin builds up in the environment and as such, accumulates in the bodies of farm animals that eat contaminated feed or grass.3 Humans are exposed to dioxin primarily via consuming animal products, with concentrated dairy products, such as cheese and butter, being the worst offenders.4 Researchers at the University of Texas at Houston found that Americans get 22 times the maximum dioxin exposure suggested by the EPA through food alone.5 However, vegans were found to have much lower levels of dioxin. Due to measured levels of dioxin that exceed safety standards, the National Academy of Science has for years recommended that people avoid eating a diet rich in animal fats. Obviously, consumers have not taken heed of this advice.
Pesticides are also the most concentrated in animal products like dairy because pesticides accumulate in fatty tissues over time and aren’t excreted very quickly.6,7 Not only are livestock fed animal feed that has been sprayed with massive amounts of pesticides, but many pesticides are used in livestock facilities themselves to kill off flies, mites, spiders cockroaches, ticks and other pests that creep up on the skin, fur and feathers of livestock.8
Dairy products already appear thoroughly off-putting by the above information alone, but I haven’t even touched upon the hormones or antibiotics present in these foods. The stone cold truth is that because dairy products come from animals, we are really eating everything stored in that animal’s tissues. Antibiotics can lead to health problems in large doses and so can synthetic hormones. Did you know that 70 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States go to livestock? In short, dairy products like cheese are not clean, and I don’t consider it a legitimate food choice, regardless of what it tastes like. Dump on the white flour and oil, coat it with cheese, and you’ve got a typical cheese pizza. I say no to cheese pizza, do you?
2. Llobet JM, Domingo JL, Bocio A, et al. Human exposure to dioxins through the diet in Catalonia, Spain: carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk. Chemosphere 2003;50(9):1193-1200.
3. Dioxins and Dioxin-Like Compounds in the Food Supply: Strategies to Decrease Exposure. National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, Oct 1, 2003.
4. Jensen E, Bolger M. Exposrue Assessment of dioxins/furans consumed in dairy foods and fish. Food Addit Contam 2001;18(5):395-403.
5. Schecter A, Cramer P, Boggess K, et al. Intake of Dioxins and Related Compounds from Food in the U.S. Population. J Toxicology and Environmental Health 2001;63(1):1-18.
6. Moorman PG, Terry PD. Consumption of diary products and the risk of breast cancer: a review of the literature. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80(1):5-14.
8. Kegley SE, Schafer SK. Persistent toxic chemicals in the US food supply. J Epidemiol Community Health 2002;56:813-817