2.74 USDA – Dairy

The USDA Food Plan recommends 3 servings of dairy daily on a 2000 calorie diet. They do stress the importance of using low fat dairy products.

Advocates of the whole foods plant based diet would say that removing the fat in dairy (which also removes cholesterol) simply increases the proportion of sugars and casein protein (the type of protein in dairy). Did you know that 1 cup of skim milk has 13 g of sugar? In case you don’t normally read labels (which you should learn to) this is a lot. Also, casein protein and dairy is strongly linked to many cancers including prostate, ovarian and breast cancers as well described in The China Study.

According to the USDA, yogurt should be sugar free and low fat (good luck finding this and if you do, it will have no taste). Cheese should be low sodium and low fat which of course is not what is used in most American’s diets. Try calling a pizza place and asking for low fat cheese on your pizza and see what they say.

Note that 2% milk is NOT considered low fat. Skim milk or 1% is considered low fat. Dairy products that contain significant amounts of fat will give you dietary cholesterol and saturated fats which we know are not good.

Currently, there are a number of different plant based milks that you can use instead of dairy milks. This is a much much healthier choice and the recommendation of HeartStrong.com.

Milk is not needed for calcium and dairy consumption is actually linked to higher rates of hip fracture which seems counter-intuitive. Calcium is in bones. Calcium is in milk. Shouldn’t milk make bones strong? It turns out that the acidity of the casein protein (high in sulfur) needs to be neutralized in the body. We do this by drawing phosphorus out of bones which counteracts any benefit the calcium may give you. Get your calcium from whole plant foods or plant based milks. Avoiding dairy also avoids cholesterol and saturated fat not to mention hormones and antibiotics (80% of antibiotics in the US are given to livestock not humans).

Here is the USDA recommendations for dairy consumption compared to what Americans actually consume:

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