Giving up Dairy- The Netflix Effect
In 2005, the best-selling book The China Study spearheaded a movement against consumption of animal protein and dairy products. Recently, Netflix documentaries like “What the Health” and “Forks over Knives” have taken the message mainstream and fueled a plant revolution.
While the China Study is often quoted as “The biggest study ever done in human nutrition” it is not without flaws. A case in point is the bulk of the research was done in the 1970’s and they used casein protein from cow’s milk to boost the argument against consumption of all dairy. While the general argument was correct, new research in Keith Woodford’s The Devil in the Milk has shed some interesting light on this debate.
It turns out there are two different types of cows in the world called A1 and A2 cows. A1 cows seem to contain a genetic mutation in their casein protein that, when consumed, increase a chemical in your body called beta-casomorphine-7 or BCM7. Research studies have linked increased levels of BCM7 with type 1 diabetes, heart disease, schizophrenia and autism. A2 cows do not contain this genetic mutation and consumption of dairy products from A2 cows are not associated with negative health effects. While the internet is full of information trying to debunk the A1 vs A2 debate, correlation studies have shown that there is less than .001% chance that the science is wrong.
The genetic mutation in A1 cows can be eliminated over about 10 years (2 generations) with selective breeding programs. Countries such as New Zealand and Australia have already bred the A1 genetic mutation out of all dairy cows and produce only A2 milk. Today A2 milk is growing in popularity and can be found in US grocery stores such as whole foods. If you or family members are going to consume cow's milk we strongly suggest you purchase only A2 milk. If you choose to eliminate all cow’s milk from your diet there are many great plant-based alternatives including almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk. Just make sure you opt for the unsweetened versions.
In case you are wondering if it’s safe to consume whey protein the answer is yes. Cow’s milk is about 80% casein and 20% whey. The genetic mutation in A1 cows is located in the casein part of the milk, not the whey. Consumption of whey protein from grass-fed cows is essential for exercise recovery, lean muscle maintenance and anti-aging support. If you would like to know more about grass-fed whey protein, check out our free ebook “The grass-fed difference”.