How many times have I heard this? Too many! It is the language of addiction. This is really what got me thinking about dairy. Why do people talk about it in these terms? Is it REALLY addictive & could there be something in Dairy, a known substance, that we can directly attribute to addiction?
No one needs to convince me or my family about the potent inflammatory effects of dairy. In particular, for both myself and my daughter the symptoms are all too clear; a total block on ketosis for me & severe skin reactions for her! Although my wife did not experience anywhere near the same symptoms as the 2 of us, when she also dropped dairy she noticed a distinct reduction in inflammation in the form of less puffiness and an overall better sense of well-being, not to mention looking way younger. When I ask her if she would ever consider going back to dairy, the answer is a resounding, “Never!”
When I started LCHF nearly 5 years ago, I actually increased my dairy consumption on the advice of the so-called “experts”. I like them thought there was nothing wrong with this since dairy is full of “good fats”, right? How wrong I was! It wasn’t until I dropped ALL dairy, and I mean ALL (not even milk in tea!), that my weight finally started to fall, peaking at an amazing 2kg/ week on ZERO exercise! This was when the penny finally dropped; this wasn’t really about carbs at all for me but actually Dairy, in particular the inflammation caused by dairy which was blocking ketosis. That was when LIHF Living was born and the rest, as they say, is history..
Drilling into the Detail..
So what exactly is going on here?
Why is Dairy so addictive & why does it affect weight loss?
You have to look hard to find the answers. Research on Dairy and its effects on human health are difficult to come by, and most of it is largely inconclusive, but there is some out there if you are prepared to dig, even if some of that information is to be found in “unusual places”..
Casein – The “Smoking Gun”
The 2 principal proteins in Dairy are Casein & Whey. I actually experimented with drinking neat whey in order to find out if this was the problem. For me there were no issues here which left casein as potentially the only problem. Note that I consider lactose to be a sugar, just like any other and that when consumed in large quantities, this can indeed be glucogenic. However, the lactose content of milk is only 2-8% by weight, well within the limits of what is considered to be a “low-carb” food item and remember, I was still having problems with just a few teaspoons in my tea. Hence, I immediately ruled out lactose as the problem.
It was then that my research led me to a website called NutritionFacts.org, a “no-go” site for the die-hard LCHF community, mainly because of its vegetarian/ vegan agenda promoted by its founder Dr. Greger. I’m sure some people will be tuning out right now but please hear me out! If there’s one page on that website worth looking at it’s this one. There’s a veritable wealth of information on this page, including some great videos about dairy & casein that are well worth watching. It also includes a comprehensive list of referenced research papers. Now I could have claimed that I found these papers myself and cited them all here as my own findings, but I’m not going to. I’m more than happy to give credit where credit is due, even if on the whole I don’t agree with most of the other stuff on the NF website, but in this case they’ve done an excellent job in my view.
The main points of note are as follows:-
- Certain casein proteins break down into casomorphin. The opiate-like casomorphin from the more concentrated casein in cow’s milk may contribute to health conditions, including altering immune function and perhaps increasing susceptibility to infections that may trigger type 1 diabetes.
- There is a higher prevalence of infant T1D in countries with high dairy consumption (Finland) compared to those with low (Japan). Further, infants that move from Japan to countries like Finland experience the same T1D rates as the indigenous population.
- Casein’s opiate-like peptide casomorphin may play a role in attacks of infant apnea (when babies stop breathing) and may trigger pseudo-allergic reactions and other abnormalities seen in crib death (sudden infant death syndrome). Casomorphin in cow’s milk may have effects similar to morphine and may inhibit the respiratory center in babies’ brain stems, which could lead to abnormal breathing, apnea, and death.
- Bovine Insulin (not removed during pasteurization) may also be a factor in infant T1D.
As usual, it’s difficult to draw any firm conclusions from the above. When it comes to dairy, much more research is required. The Vegans will use the above to further their agenda & the LCHF Brigade will keep quiet about it to suit theirs. Somewhere in between probably lies the truth, but for me the facts are these: I know I have a BIG issue with dairy and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Casein comes in 2 types: A1 & A2. It is possible to be tolerant to one and not the other, something I’ve discussed in a previous post here. All the people I know who have dropped dairy have a) only seen benefits and b) never gone back! I also know that more & more people are contacting me via both SoMe and on this website to say that they know they have issues with dairy but that they “can’t give it up!” Could it be that they are simply casomorphin addicts?