The meat and dairy industries have influenced global dietary guidelines for decades. Here in New Zealand, we grew up being bombarded with messages from our “world-leading” industries. A lot of what was said was completely false.
Cow’s milk has long been marketed as healthy for all, especially children, with a lot of public and government support around the promotion of feeding kids milk for “building strong bones”, offering a healthy alternative to water and an essential source of high levels of calcium.
If we look through the marketing hype, it’s been clear for decades that dairy food consumption is highly problematic for humans. In addition, numerous well-researched studies have found startling health issues related to dairy food consumption:
- Epidemiological studies show that countries that drink the most cows’ milk have the highest rates of osteoporosis (1).
- Dairy consumption and its high-fat content are linked to numerous diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and an increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers (2).
- Cow’s milk is the number one cause of food allergies among infants and children (3). Studies suggest that when allergies are present, milk consumption may also contribute to asthma, recurrent ear infections, constipation, and iron deficiency.
Government departments have reinforced dairy-heavy nutritional guidelines for many decades, including a free milk in schools program. This began in 1937 and was recently revived for a short time in selected schools between 2014 and 2020.
The New Zealand dietary guidelines recommend schoolchildren drink at least two to three servings of dairy products per day (4), but one must ask – where does the motivation for this recommendation actually come from? There’s clearly an underlying commercial motivation to boost dairy consumption to drive profit margins, and the dairy industry spends huge amounts on activities such as government lobbying and advertising.
“Where do you get your protein from?” is likely the most commonly asked question to vegans, and it’s all due to the myth promoted by the meat industry that animal products are the only good source of protein. This is a complete marketing fabrication. Animals like elephants, giraffes and gazelles develop a fine set of muscles on their plant-based diets, and humans certainly can too.
All foods need to be broken down into amino acids by the body before it turns them into protein. This means that as long as the body is getting the amino acids it needs, it can make the necessary proteins no matter where these amino acids are derived from.
- Eating lots of red meat has always been promoted by the meat industry as the best way to build muscle and be healthy, but research shows this can lead to very high rates of cancers (particularly bowel cancer) (5).
- Chicken has moved from the sidelines into the mainstream in recent years, marketed as a wonderful cheap meat without the associated dilemmas of red meat production. Except, the mass production required to meet current demand has meant chickens are pumped full of antibiotics and other chemicals to accelerate growth, artificially maintain health and promote a meatier physique, causing global health issues (6).
- Fish is said to be harvested sustainably, but destructive fishing practices are leaving our undersea coastline as a barren underwater desert. Seabed trawling and dredging are the most destructive fishing methods (7), resulting in the accidental death and destruction of a much wider marine ecosystem.
The tobacco industry fought for many decades with misinformation and lobbying, but now everyone acknowledges that they are an extremely damaging industry. In recent years, the government has finally admitted that dirty dairying has caused massive environmental destruction in New Zealand, and now, finally, things are changing for the better. There will also come a day when there’s a widespread acknowledgement that the meat and dairy industries are causing significant health issues to humans.
Don’t fall for meat industry propaganda. By eating a plant-based diet, you can safeguard your own health, and you can opt-out of propagating animal cruelty.
- Health Concerns About Dairy
- Current Food and Nutrition Guidelines
- Cow’s Milk Allergy
- The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health
- Read This And You May Never Eat Chicken Again
- Colorectal Cancer
- Our Marine Environment 2016
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