The government sure is milking that moustache gag. They've promoted dairy so much that the phrase 'Got Milk' is now a national catch phrase. But why are they promoting milk so hard? And is it really the building block of health? The answers will shock you.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends three glasses of milk a day. Why? Because milk will build strong bones and combats osteoporosis. Well that's what the government tells us. But I'm telling you that milk breaks bones and may even be linked to cancer. And I've got significant studies, leading research, and Harvard University experts to prove it.

Pyramid Power

Milk is considered one of nature's great building blocks. That's because it's enjoyed great promotion for many years. Much of that promotion comes from the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. But several of the "experts" who 'built' the pyramid are dairy industry insiders. The pyramid protects industry interests, not what's best for your health. That's according to Dr. Mark Hyman. Hyman practices family medicine in Lenox, Mass. He's also on the Board of Advisors and faculty of Georgetown University School of Medicine's Food as Medicine training program.

The Milk Myth

The government tells us that milk is good for us because it:

* Builds strong bones
* Combats osteoporosis
* Rebuilds muscle

Here's the government argument for you. Milk is rich in calcium. Calcium builds strong bones and teeth. Dairy will strengthen your bones.

However, there are many significant studies - and leading experts - that hotly refute this. In fact, they conclude that it simply isn't true.

Two studies conducted by leading Harvard University researcher Dr. Walter Willet provided proof that this is not the case.

The first study revealed that eating dairy does not reduce the risk of fracture. The extensive 12-year Harvard study reviewed 78,000 women. It concluded that dairy may actually increase the risk of fractures by 50 percent.

"Milk is a primary source of calcium and vitamin D and therefore might be expected to decrease osteoporotic bone loss and fracture risk, yet research has not generally supported this assumption," concluded the study.

The follow-up study, also led by Dr. Willet, was published six years later in 2003. It showed that milk consumption "conferred a weak, non-significant reduction in fracture risk." Even worse, the study found that with "higher daily intakes of milk, there was still no evidence of a protective effect."

The studies are not alone in damning diary. Leading authorities are also daring to speak out against milk products. They link the over promotion of diary - its benefits and worth - to big business.

"The myth that osteoporosis is caused by calcium deficiency was created to sell dairy products," said Dr. John McDougall. Dr. McDougall operates a health and medical center in Santa Rosa, California "There's no truth to it. American women are among the biggest consumers of calcium in the world, and they still have one of the highest levels of osteoporosis in the world. And eating even more dairy products and calcium supplements is not going to change that fact."

Vitamin D More Effective than Calcium for Preventing Fractures?

Further research found that Africa and Asia had the lowest rates of osteoporosis. Those countries also consumed the lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption. The conclusion: dairy does not defend against osteoporosis, weak bones, or fractures.

Instead, the Harvard studies suggested that Vitamin D was more effective than calcium in preventing fractures.

"An adequate vitamin D intake is associated with a lower risk of osteoporotic hip fractures in postmenopausal women. Neither milk nor a high-calcium diet appears to reduce risk."

The study suggested dark fish as a good source of vitamin D.

Credible Link Between Calcium and Cancer?

Believe it or not, there's even been links between calcium and cancer. A national health and nutrition study reviewed links between dairy and prostate cancer. It concluded that calcium may indeed raise the risk of cancer.Research suggested that the more dairy a man consumed, the more it raised his risk of cancer by up to 50 percent. Further, dairy consumption increases the body's level of insulin-like growth factor-1 - another red flag for calcium causing cancer.

Digesting Dairy

Then there are the more commonly recognized problems with diary. It's reported that approximately 75 percent of the world's population is lactose intolerance. The report concluded that the root of lactose intolerance lies in our origins: we are genetically unable to digest milk and other dairy products.

This plays back into primal diets and eating only what our caveman ancestors did. Milk is not a natural food for human beings. We didn't domesticate animals until about 10,000 years ago. That means we certainly weren't milking them before that. Ten thousand years is an evolutionary blink of the eye. Our bodies haven't evolved to match our diets.

Further to this: humans tend to stop producing significant amounts of lactase - the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk - during infancy. It usually happens between the ages of two and five. Simple conclusion: we weren't meant to digest milk on a regular basis.

Migraine-Milk Connection

Intolerance to milk and diary can manifest itself in many different ways. Milk became a real migraine for one concerned mother... who we'll call Sarah.

"When my son started kindergarten he developed what looked like acne around his mouth," explained Sarah. "We discovered it was caused by the milk he was drinking at school. We never gave him milk at home because our family has a history of lactose intolerance. We started giving him a lactose pill everyday so he could have all the dairy he wanted at school....we didn't want him to feel left out on ice cream day. He started having headaches that became more and more severe as he got older. They eventually turned into migraines that were so bad he could hardly function and was getting them about every five days..."

When the doctor couldn't provide either answers or solutions, "Sarah" took to researching the migraine-milk link for herself. She looked beyond traditional medical advice to discover an alternative explanation. She began researching newspaper articles, holistic web sites... anywhere and everywhere to discover the truth about diary.

"I discovered that dairy can cause migraines in people who are allergic to milk. My doctor apparently was unaware of this... We immediately put my son on a dairy-free diet and the migraines disappeared. He is now a very different little migraines, doesn't miss school, and is happier."

Campaign Claims Not Backed by Science

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently requested that the UDSA back up the "milk mustache" campaign claims with science. The panel of scientists concluded the following:

* There was no compelling proof that dairy builds strong bones.
* Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.
* Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.
* Milk doesn't offer sports benefits. It does not improve athletic performance.
* Dairy may be linked to prostate cancer.

Being Smart about Dairy

Given all the findings about dairy, you'd be better getting your vitamin D, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources. Lean red meats, vegetables, and fruits offer balanced benefits.

Keep this in mind when dealing with dairy:

* Dairy Doesn't Build Strong Bones. Instead, look for other minerals to do this. Build strong bones through exercise and supplement your diet with 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.
* Eliminate Milk. Try to eliminate dairy from your diet.Gradually phase out milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream over the course of a week. Try going one month completely diary-free. And see how you feel at the end of that month. You should be smiling: your sinuses should be clearer; your headaches should be less regular; your weight should be less; and your energy increased.
* Need Dairy. If you can't get by without dairy, try opting for healthier versions such as unsweetened yogurt.

Other Options for Calcium, Protein

Our primal diets evolved over the course of two-and-a-half million years. That perfectly balanced natural diet contained all the health benefits we needed. It was based largely on meat, fruit, seeds, nuts, and vegetables.

Dairy was not a significant part of that diet. So, you don't need to worry about losing essential sources of minerals. For example, dairy is only one source for calcium and protein. There are many alternative and natural sources available.

If you're looking to boost calcium, stick with non-dairy options. These can include fish such as salmon (but buy natural Alaskan-waters fish) and green leafy vegetables like spinach.

Protein Power

Protein is an essential macronutrient. It is an important component of every cell in your body. It's composed of 20 amino acids. For great health, you must consume eight of these essential amino acids every day. But you don't have to get them from dairy.

Four great alternative protein-rich options include:

Meat: Simply put, a great option for protein is meat. Animal-derived foods deliver those essential amino acids. White meat or red is fine. But be careful about the type of meat you select. Avoid grain-fed cuts and stick to grass-fed meat. The most heart-healthy meat comes from animals that were grass-fed, not grain-fed. So when you buy red meat, select meat that is labeled "grass-fed". Also, avoid processed meat such as hot dogs, deli, and sausages. If buying fowl, stick with "free-farmed" labeled cuts.

Eggs: Eggs are rich in protein. They also contain those essential amino acids in exactly the ratios your body needs. They're low in calories and contain no "bad" trans fats. They're also brimming with vitamins and minerals.

Beans: Beans are another decent source for protein. Consider this as an additional source: you should not rely on them as your primary protein source.

This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs which offers alternative health solutions for mind, body and soul.