Saturday, February 25, 2006

Midweek Cuckoo: Milking it for all it's worth

i was watching SABC Africa the other day, and Peter Ndoro was interviewing Dr. Magde Nkoane (from some south african Nutrition Center i didn't catch the name of) about the dangers of pasteurized milk. There are danger? i ask myself. I should watch this.

She started out innocently enough, explaining that the pasteurization process destroys not only the bacteria present in milk, but also some of the nutrients. Well, that doesn't sound so implausible, i think. She may have a point.

But then she went off the deep end. According to her, before africans drank pasteurized milk, there was no osteoporosis or allergies in africa. What? Are you trying to tell me that the process of pasteurization somehow imbues milk with the ability to leech calcuim from bones, or to trigger the body's autoimmune system into overreacting to bees (she didn't specify only an allergy to milk, so one can only assume she means all allergies)? She was billed as a doctor, but i wonder about that, given her apparent misunderstanding of how the human body works.

It got even worse, of course. She went on to claim you don't need to drink milk at all to get calcium, in fact you should never drink milk after about 3 years of age. Later, she suggested that in rural areas where no refridgeration means pasteurized, long-life milk is the only option, that africans return to drinking maas, or soured milk. Wait, so we shouldn't drink milk as adults, but africans should drink soured milk? I was shocked that Peter Ndoro didn't pick this up. You would think it was the job of a professional journalist and interviewer to notice when the interviewee is contradicting herself.

Later, Peter asked her how drinking pasteurized milk is affected kids today. She explained that we are now seeing higher incidences of allergies and ear infections. Ear infections? From drinking milk? What, are parents feeding their kids through their ears now?

But it's not just her. A little googling reveals a wealth of international crackpottery on the subject of milk, pasteurized or otherwise. Dr Gina Shaw (not sure what she's a doctor of, the letters after her name do not include M.D.) says that milk does not provide any calcium because "[t]he calcium in cow's milk is pasteurised and therefore inorganic which means that it is largely unusable to the human body". I'm not sure in what reality the element calcium has ever been organic. She goes on to say that "[t]he only type of milk which is fit food for humans (in particular baby humans of course) is the milk of our own species". Why? Is the calcium in that milk somehow not made of calcium anymore, and therefore usable? This woman demonstrates a complete lack of understand of the difference between an element and an organic molecule, or the body's ability to process either.

She goes on to say that because dairy products are mucous-forming, "[they] are implicated in almost all respiratory problems. Hay fever, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, colds, runny noses and ear infections can all be caused by the consumption of dairy products. Dairy products are also the leading cause of allergies." Again, no specification of only allergies to dairy. So again, somehow dairy products are the leading cause of allergies such as those to pollen, dust mites and nickel, one can only suppose. Also, again with the ear infections. Mucous causes ear infections?

Dr Shaw also argues that lactose intollerence occurs because we're not meant to be producing the enzyme that breaks lactose down after about the age of 3. People who drink milk after this age must therefore run the risk of becoming intollerent to it. Of course, she fails to mention the fact that many people are born lactose intollerent.

I did a little looking around for Dr. Shaw. She lists her full qualifications as DS, MA AIYS (Dip. Irid.). Now, DS could mean Doctor of Surgery, or Doctor of Science. But here's where it gets interesting. Searches for 'MA AIYS' or 'AIYS Dip Irid' with the inclusion of -shaw yielded zero results from google, so she seems to be about the only person in the world with this combination of qualifications. Breaking it down, MA might be Master of Arts, AIYS in a nutritional context is probably Association of International Yoga School, and Dip Irid. is very obviously a Diploma in Iridology. Only the AIYS doesn't seem to offer a Dip. Irid. Odd.

What the hell is iridology anyway, you ask, and i'm glad you did. Iridology, sometimes referred to as iris diagnosis, is the bizarre belief that each area of the body is represented by a corresponding area of the iris of the eye. I'm not kidding, you can see for yourself on Dr. Shaw's website. There are people out there diagnosing and offering treatment based on the colour of your eyes. You can read more about it here if you're interested.

She is a vegan, raw foodist, and has written a number of books on the subjects of why eating meat is suicide and how good raw foodism is for you. And she believes she can look into your eyes and tell you what's wrong with you. What more do i need to say?


Blogger Bast said...

I have heard people riling against milk before. It is true that our digestive systems are not entirely at home with cows milk since we've only been consuming it for a couple of thousand years. But neither are our systems at home with alcohol or any amount of other things to which we are slowly evolving a tolerance.
The only milk that can be classified as inorganic is Milk of Magnesia.

February 26, 2006 3:38 PM  
Anonymous dystopia said...

this 'doctor' shaw sounds scary, i wouldn't want her staring into my eyes promising to 'make it better'.

February 27, 2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger totalwaste said...

i'm proud to be lactose intollerant! as a chocoholic, feeling like shit all the time (and sporting a flashy runny nose) reminds me of how primitive i am ^_^

March 04, 2006 8:37 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Don't hate, Celebrate!!

December 20, 2007 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize this is an old post, but dairy is indeed bad for us (cancer-causing and not the best source of calcium as it is an animal protein). Yes, studies have been done. So if you want to do some self-educating, at least one good source is The China Study. But even common sense should tell us that it is odd that humans would need milk past infancy, and another species milk at that ... it is really quite ludicrous. Google "Forks Over Knives", the trailer is available online.

August 27, 2011 10:05 PM  

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