Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health, by Joseph Keon. New Society, 2010

Keon gives us a comprehensive look at what the dairy industry is NOT telling us. By analyzing numerous studies, he chips away at, and ultimately demolishes, all the reasons we’ve been given to drink milk, and instead shows how hazardous it is. For adult humans to “nurse” from another species is pretty bizarre at the outset, when you view it objectively. The author’s stated purpose in writing the book is to show that instead of supporting bone health, dairy products actually undermine it. Countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are those with the highest consumption of dairy.

We learn not only about the harm from what’s actually in milk–casein and other proteins, fat, cholesterol, lactose, etc.–but the numerous contaminants it carries. Pesticides and other environmental toxins are also present in plant foods to a certain extent, but are greatly concentrated in the fat of animals and transmitted in their milk. How about some salmonella, rocket fuel and dioxin with that yogurt? Plus there are the growth hormones and antibiotics routinely given to dairy cows, also transmitted in their milk. Diseases that can usually be prevented or improved if patients remove dairy products from their diets include heart disease, obesity, breast or prostate cancer, joint pain, MS, and many others. The chapter on children’s health points out the remarkable relief experienced by most children with autism, chronic ear infections, asthma, behavioral and learning problems, and more, when dairy is removed from their diets. Milk has been strongly implicated in the development of Type 1 diabetes in young children.

The clincher, after we learn the health consequences of consuming milk products, is the chapter on the horrible treatment of dairy cows in the U.S. industrial farming system. Confined in sheds, standing constantly in feces, mutilated without anesthetics, kept constantly pregnant, then having calves removed at birth–this is a process that no compassionate person would want to support. The massive amounts of feces produced–120 lbs. per cow per day–totals 54 billion lbs. annually in the U.S., two and a half times as much as produced by humans! This, plus the methane they produce, have serious environmental impact.

The book concludes with much helpful info showing how easy it is to get one’s calcium from plant sources.

I’d read quite a bit about the dairy issue over the years, but still learned new facts from this book. Recommended for everyone who wants to improve or maintain good health and retain strong bones, with the bonus of not having to support cruelty.


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