In the last issue we discussed a number of potential problems with dairy foods - lactose deficiency and milk protein allergy. In this article we will discuss other possible health problems with dairy and in future articles we will discuss choosing which dairy to use.

Some researchers have found a statistical relationship between heavy milk consumption and ischaemic heart disease (including angina). Though I do not take this too seriously, as statistics can prove almost anything, it is interesting to note. It is not clear from the studies what component of milk is causing the problems: lactose intolerance, protein allergy, fat content, or what?

One researcher found that drinking milk dramatically increases the body's retention of lead by increasing its absorption from the intestinal tract. Lead is a toxic metal in our environment, but it is unclear how severe this is in practical terms.

Another researcher studied a group of 54 long-time juvenile delinquents, compared with a group of non-offenders. He found to his surprise that there was an extremely strong statistical association of heavy milk consumption with delinquency. The offenders tended to eat very little fruit, vegetables or nuts, but drank 60 to 120 ounces of milk a day.

Some people will not use milk or dairy products because they say it is mucus forming. It is true that milk tends to form mucus, but so do many other foods. Mucus is a substance our body needs. If you take any of the mucus forming foods away or cannot assimilate them, the body will eliminate the excess mucus as waste. There is no reason to eliminate dairy products, unless you cannot assimilate them. The solution is moderation, though if you have any disease process such as a cold or flu in which the body is producing excess mucus, then it is best to avoid dairy until you are well again.

To conclude, some people (especially infants) who are allergic should avoid all milk and dairy products. Other people are better off using dairy products other than milk to avoid the lactose in milk. People can eat as much dairy as they can assimilate; that is - the amount of lactase they have. For people who can assimilate dairy products, they are excellent foods. Milk has been used by the healthiest of peasant cultures. It has excellent protein and it is high in many minerals, especially calcium. Yogurt, kefir and cheese are also excellent foods if used in moderation.