Got the Facts on Milk?
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While the dairy industry is a major cause of cruelty and environmental destruction, the makers of Got the Facts on Milk? mostly focused on the health issues surrounding a product that is marketed as an absolutely crucial part of a healthy diet despite the fact that about 75% of the world cannot digest it properly. Like most mammals, the majority of the human species loses the ability to break down milk sugars after infancy. (We’re supposed to be weaned off of breastmilk, after all.) For example, between 80 and 100% of indigenous people living in North America are lactose intolerant; the film interviewed Native Americans living in the southwest to learn more about their experiences with food assistance programs–what the filmmakers referred to as a “dumping ground” for excess from the meat and dairy industries. Native populations are more likely to be disadvantaged and to live in poverty and the fact that they are forced to rely on foods that make them sick is a form of racism as well as an indication of the incredible power of the dairy industry. Shira Lane, the director of the film, asked one woman whether she was able to get fruits, vegetables, or other basic foods, through the food assistance program.
“No,” the woman replied. “Just cheese, yogurt, that sort of thing.”
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, and they can range from mild to severe.
The film also discussed the links between dairy consumption and cancer, migraines, asthma, allergies, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and more. Perhaps most surprising of all is the fact that even though they consume more calcium overall, nations that eat the most dairy have much higher rates of osteoporosis than those that get their calcium from plant-based sources. (This isn’t a case of genetic predisposition to osteoporosis, either: when people from East Asia, for example, move the North America and adopt our typically dairy-heavy diet, they begin to suffer the same elevated rates of bone loss.) The reason is that while dairy does have calcium, it also has animal protein, which evidence suggests actually leaches calcium from bones.
To back up all of these claims, Got the Facts on Milk? featured interviews with an impressive number of experts, including nutritional researcher T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. , physician and nutrition expert John McDougall, M.D., diet and health experts Jennifer K. Reilly, R.D. and Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D., physicians Neal Barnard, M.D. and Joel Fuhrman M.D, large animal veterinarian Mira L. McGregor, V.M.D., environmental researcher Victor E Cabrera, Ph.D., and physicist Noam Mohr.
After having interviewed all of these people, the director got an audience with the dairy industry’s official dietary spokesperson. The spokesperson was shockingly ignorant about the product that she was meant to promote; for example, with zero explanation whatsoever she announced that “African-Americans really, really need to drink milk”, despite the fact that 75% to 90% of people of African descent are lactose intolerant. When Lane asked her if there are any sources other than milk from which to get calcium, the spokesperson enthusiastically said, “Oh yes! You could eat cheese, yogurt, butter…” (Some real non-dairy sources of calcium include nuts, tofu, broccoli, kale, beans, and much more.)
I can’t tell you how many people came up to us after the film in absolute awe of all the new information they’d learned. If you missed our screening but still want to see it, you can order the DVD from the official website or even stream it online and watch it instantly. It’s definitely recommended, especially if you’re looking for more info on the health repercussions of dairy.