Dairy Free Diets

A place to get your questions answered from McDougall staff dietitian, Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.

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Dairy Free Diets

Postby Bambie113 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:23 pm

Hi Jeff,
I have recently given up dairy products and most meat products for varying reasons but I am wondering why it is so hard for me to find scientific based (supported by their peers) research studies on diets WITHOUT dairy. My entire family eats/loves dairy and meat products and believes everything the news says about it being an essential part of everyone's diet! Can you point me in the right direction to multiple scholar reviewed articles and/or studies showing the benefits of a dairy free diet? Or the negative effects of a diet high in dairy products? I'd like to be able to support my life diet choice with facts not just opinions, Thanks so much, Happy Easter!
~Bambie
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Re: Dairy Free Diets

Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:45 pm

Bambie113 wrote:Hi Jeff,
I have recently given up dairy products and most meat products for varying reasons but I am wondering why it is so hard for me to find scientific based (supported by their peers) research studies on diets WITHOUT dairy. My entire family eats/loves dairy and meat products and believes everything the news says about it being an essential part of everyone's diet! Can you point me in the right direction to multiple scholar reviewed articles and/or studies showing the benefits of a dairy free diet? Or the negative effects of a diet high in dairy products? I'd like to be able to support my life diet choice with facts not just opinions, Thanks so much, Happy Easter!
~Bambie


Hi Bambie

Hopefully you have read Dr McDougalls books which have lots of information on this issue. And, he has a DVD that also addressed the problems with Dairy.

Also, you may have it backwards. What we really need to see if the evidence (and not marketing from the dairy council) on why dairy is so good and healthy. I would love to see the evidence, and documentation that dairy is a requirement for health and long life. The okinawans who are the longest lived population with more people over the age of 100 per capita then anywhere else, do not use dairy products. They also have about 80% less osteoporosis then we do.

And, the human body needs "nutrients" not specific "foods". We need calcium not dairy. There is no one food, or food group that must be included. Some people are allergic to wheat, some are allergic to eggs, some are allergic to nuts, some are allergic to soy and many many people around the world are allergic to dairy. About 50% of the worlds population is allergic to dairy as is about 25% of the USA population. So, how can dairy be essential? What about all those in Japan, China, Mexico, Africa, etc, who can not digest dairy products?

There can be no requirement that everyone needs to eat a single food, like cows milk, or the products made from it. What we need is calcium, vit D (which has been added to milk), etc. Many dark green leafy greens are a better source of calcium than dairy products.

A little piece of advice, hopefully, all this information you are seeking is for you, the one who is here looking for it. No amount of information, argument, discussion, debate is likely to convince anyone (even close family members) about anything they are not interested in learning or knowing. Nor do I recommend trying to convince anyone who is not interested. However, the best argument for a healthy diet and lifestyle, is that you become a shining example of it. Let the results radiate from you.

We had a discussion recently here on this topic, that you may find valuable.

http://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5907

Also, the following excerpt is from an article was written by Walter Willett, MD, who is chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School.

Reconsidering Calcium

Rather than relying on milk, we should get this vital nutrient from a variety of sources.
By Walter C. Willett, M.D.

(you dont get more mainstream and renowned then him)

Youve seen the advertisements celebrities and public
figures from all walks of life, each sporting a
gleaming white milk mustache. The ads are supposed to
make you aware of the dangers of not getting enough
calcium, while urging you to drink three glasses of
milk a day.

I hope you can resist the allure of this slick but
misleading campaign, sponsored by the U.S. dairy
industry. Theres no question that calcium is an
essential part of a healthy diet, but other major
questions have yet to be answered, among them the
question of how much calcium we really need every day.


In the United States, the official current recommended
intakes are 1,000 milligrams a day for ages 19 to 50,
and 1,200 milligrams a day for ages 50 and older. The
latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the new
U.S. Department of Agriculture food pyramid say we
should get much of that calcium from three daily
servings of milk, cheese, yogurt or other dairy
products. However, theres no solid evidence that
merely increasing the amount of milk in your diet will
protect you from breaking a hip or crushing a backbone
in later years.

Milk is clearly the most efficient way to get calcium
from food, since it delivers about 300 milligrams per
8-ounce glass. Few other foods come close to packing
in that much calcium. But milk delivers more than just
calcium, and some of its other components such as
extra calories, saturated fat and the sugar known as
galactose arent necessarily good for you.

The main reason for all the concern about too little
calcium is the frightful prospect of osteoporosis, the
gradual and insidious loss of bone that often comes
with old age. Each year, osteoporosis leads to more
than 1.5 million fractures, including 300,000 broken
hips. Osteoporosis is usually portrayed as a womens
disease, but it also affects men. Men enter adulthood
with stronger, denser bones than women, and they never
face the sudden, bone-draining loss of estrogen that
occurs with menopause. This gives them a five- to
10-year hedge against osteoporosis over women, but not
lifetime protection. Unfortunately, theres little
proof that just boosting your calcium intake to the
high levels that are currently recommended will
prevent fractures. And all the high-profile attention
given to calcium is distracting us from strategies
that really work such as exercise, medications and
vitamins and, for women, hormone replacement therapy.

Dairy products shouldnt occupy the prominent place
that they do in the U.S. Department of Agriculture
food pyramid, and they shouldnt be the centerpiece of
the national strategy to prevent osteoporosis.
Instead, the evidence shows that dietary calcium
should come from a variety of sources and, if more
calcium is really needed, from cheap, no-calorie,
easy-to-take supplements. Consider dairy products as
an optional part of a healthy diet and have them in
moderation, if at all.

Real Calcium Needs

About 99 percent of your bodys calcium is locked in
bone. The rest is dissolved in your blood and the
fluid inside and outside cells, where it helps conduct
nerve impulses, regulate your heartbeat and control
other cell functions. Although you would never know it
from the milk-mustache advertisements, no one really
knows the healthiest, safest amount of dietary
calcium. Different scientific approaches yield
different estimates.

Daily calcium requirements are traditionally
calculated using a balance study. This is a relatively
straightforward test you assemble a group of
volunteers, put them on a diet of supplements
containing different amounts of calcium for a few days
or a few weeks, then measure the amount of calcium
they excrete. Balance studies show that about 550
milligrams of calcium a day is an optimal level for
the mythical average adult. Another route to estimate
daily calcium requirements is called the maximal
retention study. This approach, which was also used to
help set the current recommendations, tries to
determine the highest amount of calcium that the body
(mainly the bones) can grab and hold on to. Yet
another piece of evidence comes from measurements of
bone density using X-rays before and after a year or
so of calcium supplementation. All of these types of
studies were used by the expert panel that set the
current target recommendations for calcium intake.
What these short-term studies fail to capture is the
bodys remarkable capacity to adapt. A unique study of
Scandinavian prisoners, all men, showed that their
bodies were still adapting after several years on a
lower-calcium diet (500 milligrams a day), mainly by
excreting less calcium and using calcium more
efficiently. In real life, broken bones are a better
test of desirable calcium levels than the short-term
flow of calcium in and out of the body or measurements
of bone density. Studies comparing people who have
broken their hips or wrists because of osteoporosis
with people who havent broken bones have yielded mixed
results. More importantly, the results from seven
studies done in the United States, England and Sweden
that followed large groups of people for long periods
didnt show any important reduction in risk of broken
bones with increased calcium intake.

Why Not Drink More Milk?

If no one really knows the best daily calcium target,
then why not play it safe and boost your calcium by
drinking three glasses of milk a day? Here are a few
good reasons:

Lactose intolerance. All babies are born with the
ability to digest milk. Some people, especially those
of northern European ancestry, keep this trait for
life. Most children, though, gradually lose this
ability as their bodies stop making an enzyme called
lactase that breaks down milk sugar (lactose). In
fact, only about a quarter of the worlds adults can
fully digest milk. In the United States, as many as 50
million adults arent equipped to digest milk. Half of
Hispanic-Americans, 75 percent of African-Americans
and more than 90 percent of Asian-Americans cant
tolerate a lot of lactose. For them, drinking a glass
of milk can have unpleasant consequences, such as
nausea, bloating, cramps and diarrhea.

Saturated fat. An 8-ounce glass of whole milk contains
nearly 5 grams of saturated fat; 20 grams is the
recommended daily limit. Drinking three glasses a day
would be the equivalent of eating 12 strips of bacon.
If you enjoy milk, low-fat and skim are better choices
than whole milk.

Extra calories. Three glasses of whole milk a day add
450 calories to your diet about one-quarter of your
daily intake allowance. Low-fat milk, at 330 calories,
adds a bit fewer, but still a lot if the main goal is
to get more calcium.

Prostate cancer. A diet high in dairy products has
been implicated as a risk factor for prostate cancer.
In nine separate studies, the strongest and most
consistent dietary factor linked with prostate cancer
was high consumption of milk or dairy products. In the
largest of these "the Health Professionals Follow-up
Study conducted by the Harvard School of Public
Health" men who drank two or more glasses of milk a
day were almost twice as likely to develop advanced or
metastatic (spreading) prostate cancer as those who
didnt drink milk at all. To be on the safe side, men
should try to keep their daily calcium intake below
1,000 milligrams.

Ovarian cancer. About 15 years ago, Harvard Medical
School researchers suggested that high levels of
galactose, a simple sugar released by the digestion of
lactose in milk, could damage the ovary and possibly
lead to ovarian cancer. Since then a number of studies
have tested this hypothesis. While the evidence isnt
conclusive, I think that a positive link between
galactose and ovarian cancer shows up too many times
to ignore the possibility that it may be harmful.

In Health
Jeff Novick, MS, RD
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Re: Dairy Free Diets

Postby Quiet Heather » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:54 pm

JeffN wrote:The okinawans who are the longest lived population with more people over the age of 100 per capita then anywhere else, do not use dairy products. They also have about 80% less osteoporosis then we do.


Jeff, can you tell me more about the Okinawan diet? Specifically, what percent of their diet is animal based? I've been searching for this information for a while, and I can't come up with any definitive numbers.
Can you recommend a book or other source where I can find out more?
Thanks
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Re: Dairy Free Diets

Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:08 pm

Quiet Heather wrote:Jeff, can you tell me more about the Okinawan diet? Specifically, what percent of their diet is animal based? I've been searching for this information for a while, and I can't come up with any definitive numbers.
Can you recommend a book or other source where I can find out more?
Thanks


There are some books out there but they were based more on the current intake which does not accurately represent what these now centenarians ate for most of their life.

However, a new study from the NY Academy Of Sciences went back and documented what they ate before 1950, when we began to westernize the island.

So, here are the definitive numbers.. (with citation)

Caloric Restriction, the Traditional
Okinawan Diet, and Healthy Aging
The Diet of the World’s Longest-Lived People and Its Potential Impact on Morbidity and Life Span
Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1114: 434–455 (2007).

TABLE 1. Traditional dietary intake of Okinawans and other Japanese circa 1950

Total calories 1785
Total weight (grams) 1262
Caloric density (calories/gram) 1.4
Total protein in grams (% total calories) 39 (9)
Total carbohydrate in grams (% total calories) 382 (85)
Total fat in grams (% total calories) 12 (6)
Saturated fatty acid 3.7
Monounsaturated fatty acid 3.6
Polyunsaturated fatty acid 4.8
Total fiber (grams) 23

Food group Weight in grams (% total calories)

Grains
Rice 154 (12)
Wheat, barley, and other grains 38 (7)
Nuts, seeds <1 (<1)
Sugars 3 (<1)
Oils 3 (2)

Legumes (e.g., soy and other beans) 71 (6)
Fish 15 (1)
Meat (including poultry) 3 (<1)
Eggs 1 (<1)
Dairy <1 (<1)


Vegetables
Sweet potatoes 849 (69)
Other potatoes 2 (<1)
Other vegetables 114 (3)
Fruit <1 (<1)
Seaweed 1 (<1)
Pickled vegetables 0 (0)
Foods: flavors & alcohol 7 (<1)

Data derived from analysis of U.S. National Archives, archived food records, 1949 and based on survey of 2279 persons.

Some points

Their diet was 85% carb, and 6% fat. Sweet potatoes (a Japanese sweet potato) made up almost 70% of their calories. Nuts were less than 1% of calories (the equivalent of 1/10 of an ounce a day) Oil was less than 2% of calories (which is about 1 tsp a day) and sugars were less than 1% of calories (less than a tsp a day)

The total animal products including fish was less than 4% of calories which is less then 70 calories a day. That is the equivalent of around 2 oz of animal products or less a day

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Postby Quiet Heather » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:18 pm

Thank you! That was exactly what I wanted to know. :D
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Postby satlew » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:00 pm

A big thanks from me as well Jeff. I'd all but given up trying to find out what the Okinawans really ate as opposed to the Americanized version that I see all around.

I find two aspects to their diet very surprising:

1 - The amount of rice they ate is far less than I expected
2 - Their fiber intake is also far lower than I expected
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Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:13 pm

satlew wrote:
I find two aspects to their diet very surprising:

1 - The amount of rice they ate is far less than I expected
2 - Their fiber intake is also far lower than I expected


I agree on both 2 points.

But we see the difference on the first point if we go to mainland Japan as at that same time, the rice intake was higher and the sweet potato intake was lower on mainland Japan. Fiber intake was the same.

Rice made up 54% of their calories which is more what I would have expected. Wheat, barley, and other grains made up another 24%, for a total of 78%. Sweet potatoes made up 3% of calories.

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Re: Dairy Free Diets

Postby energy_dad » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:22 pm

JeffN wrote:
Quiet Heather wrote:Jeff, can you tell me more about the Okinawan diet? Specifically, what percent of their diet is animal based? I've been searching for this information for a while, and I can't come up with any definitive numbers.
Can you recommend a book or other source where I can find out more?
Thanks


There are some books out there but they were based more on the current intake which does not accurately represent what these now centenarians ate for most of their life.

However, a new study from the NY Academy Of Sciences went back and documented what they ate before 1950, when we began to westernize the island.

So, here are the definitive numbers.. (with citation)

Caloric Restriction, the Traditional
Okinawan Diet, and Healthy Aging
The Diet of the World’s Longest-Lived People and Its Potential Impact on Morbidity and Life Span
Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1114: 434–455 (2007).

TABLE 1. Traditional dietary intake of Okinawans and other Japanese circa 1950

Total calories 1785
Total weight (grams) 1262
Caloric density (calories/gram) 1.4
Total protein in grams (% total calories) 39 (9)
Total carbohydrate in grams (% total calories) 382 (85)
Total fat in grams (% total calories) 12 (6)
Saturated fatty acid 3.7
Monounsaturated fatty acid 3.6
Polyunsaturated fatty acid 4.8
Total fiber (grams) 23

Food group Weight in grams (% total calories)

Grains
Rice 154 (12)
Wheat, barley, and other grains 38 (7)
Nuts, seeds <1 (<1)
Sugars 3 (<1)
Oils 3 (2)

Legumes (e.g., soy and other beans) 71 (6)
Fish 15 (1)
Meat (including poultry) 3 (<1)
Eggs 1 (<1)
Dairy <1 (<1)


Vegetables
Sweet potatoes 849 (69)
Other potatoes 2 (<1)
Other vegetables 114 (3)
Fruit <1 (<1)
Seaweed 1 (<1)
Pickled vegetables 0 (0)
Foods: flavors & alcohol 7 (<1)

Data derived from analysis of U.S. National Archives, archived food records, 1949 and based on survey of 2279 persons.

Some points

Their diet was 85% carb, and 6% fat. Sweet potatoes (a Japanese sweet potato) made up almost 70% of their calories. Nuts were less than 1% of calories (the equivalent of 1/10 of an ounce a day) Oil was less than 2% of calories (which is about 1 tsp a day) and sugars were less than 1% of calories (less than a tsp a day)

The total animal products including fish was less than 4% of calories which is less then 70 calories a day. That is the equivalent of around 2 oz of animal products or less a day

In Health
Jeff Novick, MS, RD


Hi Jeff,

I have heard the argument that the longest people in the world had a little bit of animal in their diet and that is part of the reason they live so long. If you cut out all animal products you may not live as long as them. What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks!
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Re: Dairy Free Diets

Postby JeffN » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:56 pm

energy_dad wrote: I have heard the argument that the longest people in the world had a little bit of animal in their diet and that is part of the reason they live so long. If you cut out all animal products you may not live as long as them. What are your thoughts on this?
Thanks!


Where is the evidence for "that" being the reason?

http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Newsletter ... e_Way.html


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