Being vegetarian and seeing all the benefits of it, the question of stopping dairy came also to the scope.
In Europe, the population started to eat dairy 8’000 years ago, but before that, most of the population was intolerant. Today, we assume that only 5% are intolerant (or don’t have the lactase enzyme). So we introduced, milk for example, as a new product into the food market and we adapted to it.
Population like Japan or China, which have not dairy in their nutrition are still nowadays mostly dairy intolerant. Cheese (fermented milk) having less lactose is more accepted than milk in those regions.
Mainly, it’s because in our life being kids, we have dairy or milk, that we are still able to consume dairies being an adult, and that because we continue to produce the lactase enzyme at adult age.
Milk is not essential to our diet, but if we can digest it, then we can benefit from the advantages of dairies.
What are the advantages of dairies?
If you are lactose tolerant, then milk is a good potion (or super food) to get essential vitamins and trace elements, normally more difficult to get by the nutrition.
Lactose in milk (less present in cheese) is a form of sugar, so it gives you a good source of energy.
There is no study proving that having calcium from dairies in diet, can increase bones solidity. But population with dairies in their diet seems to have stronger bones.
What are the disadvantages of milk and dairies? Can we be dairy free?
Milk is a problem if you are lactose intolerant (or missing the lactase enzyme), and therefore having such symptoms as, upset stomach, bloating, gas, diarrhea, like explains here is common.
Lactose is a form of sugar, so if you eat too much of it, you can have inflammation and gain weight rapidly. It is recommended to eat small portions daily.
Cheeses are less a problem since the lactose is mostly gone after processing the milk to the cheese form. But contain a bigger amount of fat. This animal fat could be responsible for weight gain.
Quality of the milk is also essential.
87% of the milk you drink is water, the rest is milk fat, vitamins, and minerals. If you buy your milk in the supermarket, you have to understand, it is a processed product and you have to be careful and buy quality product or bio milk, to have all the benefit of it.
The percentage of water in 1 liter of milk can be extremely higher with low-quality milk, so be aware of that. Milk and cheese are processed food so like all processed food, try to read labels and try to buy products bio or with quality labels, which should have fewer additives along the process.
In conclusion, dairy or milk is a good way to get essentials nutrients which could be difficult to find in vegetables or meat, but not necessary if you have a healthy diet or if you are lactose intolerant. Like all processed food, milk tends to decrease in quality and therefore it is essential to buy bio or quality milk and cheese.
Personally, I will continue to eat dairy after all but will check more the quality of the products. What is your opinion?