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Why dairy products are not allowed on a Paleo diet?

Why dairy products are not allowed on a Paleo diet?

Consumption of milk and other dairy products is a staple in almost every household. Milk obtained from cow, goat or buffalo has held a distinct place across the world as a nutritious drink. Its consumption is prevalent across all age group and health conditions.

Milk is touted to be a rich source of animal protein and the bone building mineral calcium. Milk features as an important part in the food group and almost every health care provider to Nutritionist recommend consuming at least two glasses of milk per day. Milk is consumed in the form of drink and as milk products such as butter, cheese, yogurt, fermented drinks etc.

No milk! But why?

However, Paleolithic eating does not recommend the intake of milk or milk products in its dietary regimen. Archeological and retrospective studies clearly indicate that milk did not feature as part of the caveman diet. This could be because of two reasons – cave man did not domesticate animals such as cow or buffalo and the second reason was that they did not know how to milk the cow or even if they did know the milking technique it was not easy to milk an animal that roamed about in the wild.

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Paleo researchers also have their technical stand points as why milk should not be included in a Paleolithic diet regimen.

Insulin promoting factor

The carbohydrates in milk are said to be insulin promoting. The main carbohydrate in milk is lactose which has a direct effect on the insulin response. Studies have confirmed that consuming lactose results in increased secretion of the hormone insulin, which in turn leads to weight problems and associated conditions. Prolonged consumption of lactose rich food decreases insulin sensitivity and increases insulin resistance which is a predisposing factor for type 2 diabetes.

Some studies have also linked consumption of milk to inflammatory conditions (due to omega 6: 3 imbalance) and crohn’s disease.

Paleo Diet Dairy (VIDEO)


Grain-fed cows

Milk from grain fed cows are not allowed in Paleo. Paleo does not encourage grain consumption due to the toxins and anti-nutrients in them. The components of cow’s milk is directly associated with the type of feed the animal takes. These cows are fed with soy, corn and other grains.

Thus the nutrition composition of the milk from grain fed cows differs with high omega- 6 fats and saturated fats. This creates an imbalance in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the diet and hence it is not recommended in a Paleo diet.

Pesticide residues

Milk that is obtained from the cows that are not grass fed, but instead fed with grain crops that are laden with fertilizers and pesticides and other chemical residues. Paleo does not encourage foods and other produce that are prone to pesticide residues and hence milk from inorganically fed and raised cows are not permitted in Paleo.

Hormones and antibiotics

In addition to the pesticide residues, the regular cow’s milk is also rich in antibiotics and growth hormones. The cows are raised, injected with growth hormones to increase the milk production and with antibiotics to fight infection and diseases. These harmful substances that are injected into the cow’s blood are reflected as hormone and antibiotic laden milk.

Consuming such products results in severe health problems such as estrogen dominance, thyroid imbalance, and other hormonal disorders. The antibiotics lead to several other medical complications including cancer cell formation. Since Paleo does not encourage chemicals, preservatives or other additives milk from inorganic sources is avoided in Paleo.

Stimulates IGF- 1 factor:

Milk is basically a liquid that is secreted by mammary glands of mothers to feed their young ones! The composition of milk has many growth promoting factors like IGF-1 ( Insulin like growth factor-1) which is not desirable in higher quantities.

In one study it was found that milk protein consumption resulted in elevated insulin levels in the blood and there was a permanent shift of the IGF-1 levels to higher serum levels. Elevated levels of IGF-1 is implicated in acne, diabetes, atherosclerosis, obesity, nervous disorders, cancer etc.

However, if you do want to consume milk, following 80/20 Paleo rule you may consume milk obtained only from organically fed and raised cows. Organic milk that is obtained from grass-fed cows are high in healthy saturated fats, omega-3 fats and devoid of pesticides. They are also rich in conjugated linoleic acid (an antioxidant) and vitamin K2. Milk products such as butter, cheese, yogurt, kefir and clarified butter derived from organic milk is safer and can be consumed in a Paleolithic diet.

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