It’s hard to believe that milk, which enjoys an almost sacred status in Indian culture, can be harmful for us. The reason is that it’s not the food that Nature intended for us. Milk is the food that every mammal produces for its infant and each animal produces the perfect formula for her species. But animal milk is not suitable for human beings at all! If you put petrol in a car that runs on diesel you will have problems even if petrol is perfectly good fuel.
Did you know that dairy milk is one of the leading causes of diabetes? Thanks to refrigeration, Indians consume some form of dairy with almost every meal these days. And India has the second largest number of diabetics in the world! There is a connection.
Type 1 Diabetes
Cow’s milk is a foreign protein in the human body and studies have shown that infants who have been given cow’s milk instead of mother’s milk at an early age are more likely to have Type 1 diabetes than their breast-fed counterparts.
Type 2 Diabetes
Most people think that sugar is the cause of type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is the result of type 2 diabetes. A major cause of it is fat. Fat literally causes insulin resistance. 49 per cent of the calories from whole milk come from fat. In skimmed milk, 35 per cent of the calories come from fat. And dairy products like paneer, cheese are even higher in fat 60 – 70%, with ghee being 100% fat.
Insulin is a hormone and diabetes is a hormonal disorder. The hormone secretions in our body are orchestrated by the pituitary gland. When one hormone is out of balance, others also go out of synch. Milk, the secretion of a female mammal, is naturally loaded with hormones— oestrogen, progesterone, prolactin, powerful growth hormones, oxytocin and more. Dairy can be implicated in the hormonal disorders that we see today – PCOD, hypothyroidism, premature puberty, infertility, prostate enlargement, breast, prostate and ovarian cancers and of course diabetes!
Stress causes diabetes
Have you noticed that whenever you experience emotional or physical stress, the blood sugar levels most likely go up? For example, during an operation or a medical intervention, fever or even a visit to the dentist, the blood sugar levels may rise. When we are stressed we produce adrenaline. When animals are stressed they, too, produce adrenaline. Cows are subject to crude artificial insemination, and after delivery have their babies taken away from them so that all their milk can be sold. They are re-inseminated just a few months after, so that they are pregnant and lactating at the same time. After just a few repeated pregnancies she is spent and goes to slaughter. This is a severe stress and therefore dairy is full of stress hormones and contributes not just to diabetes but also psychological issues.
How do we know that all this is true? There is one way to find out – give it a try and see how you feel! Remember that you are not an infant and your body doesn’t need any dairy – not even an alternative. But if you like your milk, curds, buttermilk, cheese, paneer, butter, cream, ghee or things made from them, there are plenty of alternatives available. SHARAN has many recipes on their website of dairy alternatives and even more are available all over the internet. Try it for at least a month and see how you feel. Most of us are lactose intolerant without even knowing about it and so you may find other problems clear up too!
Here is the experience of a doctor who tried this - ‘When I removed animal products and switched to the whole plant- based diet after attending your seminar, I immediately saw my sugars normalize and was able to give up my medication.’
If you decide that you would like to live a life without medicines, then do consider learning as much as you can about this lifestyle and give it a go. Habits are difficult to change but once the switch is made the new habit is what you will enjoy. It’s easier than you think and the chances are you will love the way you feel.
(Dr Nandita Shah is the author of the book, 'Reversing Diabetes in 21-Days'. Views are personal )