Wondering if dairy is as great as the media says it is?

A glass of cow’s milk is a great source of calcium right? That’s what we’ve always been told anyway..

I am not a vegan myself and in no way do I judge any one for their food choices they make. I am personally a pescatarian that mainly eats plant based. With the understanding I have of nutrition, and by being in tune to the way my body responds to foods – this is the diet that suits me best.

If you actually think about humans drinking the milk of a different animal it’s a pretty bizarre concept, as babies we drink human breast milk and then as we age we commonly switch to drinking cows milk. An animal’s milk is specifically designed to nourish its young right – not to be mass-produced for a completely different species.

Anyway, the point to this blog is to explain the scientific effect dairy consumption has on us, and whether or not this is actually a good way to get calcium or not.

Our bodies are constantly working to achieve balance – whether that is our desired body temperature or our desired pH level. Cows milk is actually acidic. It has a pH of around 6.5 (FYI neutral pH: 7, Acidic: anything below pH 7, Alkaline: anything above pH 7). Milks acidity is mainly due to its lactic acid content.  -0.5 below neutral pH may not seem like a lot on the pH scale, however, even the smallest fluctuations above or below our neutral pH level causes our body to respond to get back to a neutral pH.

We have always known cows milk to be a really high source of calcium, however, when we are digesting cows milk (because it is slightly acidic) it actually causes our body to use minerals (such as calcium!) from our blood, to buffer the acidic effect that cows milk has on our pH balance, so even though we are drinking milk thinking it is a great source of calcium for our bones, it is actually using our bodies calcium stores to neutralise the acidic effect of cows milk. When I sat through this lecture at university it really made me shake my head. Wow, the power that marketing can have on an entire nation!

Moral of the story;

  1. Just because a particular food is a “good source” of something – such as calcium, protein, iron etc.. It doesn’t always mean that the good source of “calcium” is actually absorbed into our blood stream (this is where we need the nutrients to get to so that they can actually fuel our body).
  2. Keep in mind that it doesn’t automatically make something a good food choice if it is high in X, Y or Z. My advice is ALWAYS be wary of food advertising, listen to your body and decide whether certain food makes you feel good, light, energized or does it make you feel sluggish, bloated or tired.
  3. Every one has opinions (and often ulterior motives), some nutritionist will be very pro dairy and others wont be. Stay educated and most importantly listen to your body so that you can make the best choices for you!


Rea xx