Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Be Wary of Dairy!

   If you kept a nutritional journal for even a few days, you would probably discover that dairy is among the top five products consumed daily in your household. This is troubling because more and more people are finding that dairy (and more specifically a substance in dairy and other products called casein) may be a contributing factor to allergy reactions and behavioral problems in those sensitive to it. Here are a few things to think about next time you’re strolling through the dairy aisle.

    Many people who assume they are allergic to milk may actually be suffering from a casein allergy. The complicating factor causing a lack of awareness as to the true allergy is that casein is found in more than just dairy products. As a binding agent, it has technical uses as well as edible; it can be found in paints (including fingernail polish), other cosmetics and even glue (or industrial adhesives).

   In 2000, a clinical study by FitzGerald and Bundesanstalt determined that there is a “natural opiate” embedded in casein protein, which may lead to the “comfort feeling” after digestion. This may be a contributing factor to cravings for chocolate and cheese unrelated to hunger.

Studies including those by Dr. Karl Reichel, of The National Hospital in Norway, and Dr. Robert Cade, of the University of Florida, have found high amounts of the casomorphin peptide in urine samples taken from people with conditions ranging from autism to post-partum depression (PPD) to celiac disease to schizophrenia. It has been suggested that this peptide may also be elevated in other similar disorders such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and depression, based on the reported benefits of a gluten-free and casein-free diet.

While casein is most certainly a concern, it’s not the sole problem with milk. A large study led by Catherine S. Berkey of Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston revealed that consumption of milk may be contributing to the growing problem of childhood obesity. And Dr. Robert Kradjian, chief of breast surgery at Seton Medical Center in northern California, reviewed archives of medical and scientific journals and found that milk is not the “perfect food” it is reported to be. He found that many common childhood disorders were, if not induced, certainly aggravated by an increased intake of dairy products, including but not limited to allergies, ear and tonsil infections, bed-wetting, asthma, intestinal bleeding (lesions), colic and childhood diabetes.

Fortunately, these days it’s increasingly possible to substitute when necessary. When a recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, try replacing it with 1 cup of soy, rice or coconut milk or 1 cup of water mixed with 1 egg yolk. If a recipe calls for a cup of yogurt, consider the following substitutions: 1 cup of soy yogurt or soy sour cream, 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce or 1 cup of pureed fruit.

Consuming diary products is a matter of choice, of course, but with the potential for allergic reactions, the high fat content and the problems with casein, it’s good to know that there are other choices. Talk to your doctor for more information.

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment