Did you know that in your efforts to be healthy you just might be consuming more chemicals than you think? Yup, non-dairy milk may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Let’s look a little closer at some of the additives in non-dairy milk, and why they are best avoided – at least the store bought non-diary milk.
Brutally Beaten For Decades
Milk and other dairy products have on the receiving end of bad press for decades already. However, once the “Low Fat” movement kicked off, this bad press virtually became sheer brutality. Everything dairy was suddenly condemned. Everywhere we look we see warnings about the dangers of milk and all products derived from it. Butter in particular suddenly became a mass murderer once low fat margarine arrived on the scene.
Now, I’m not saying that you should or should not eat butter because that’s your choice to make, but if you think margarine is a healthier option, then I can only suggest that you do some research regarding the ingredients used in practically every single margarine on the market. I’ll put my hand up here and say that I don’t touch the stuff myself, but let’s forget the whole butter and margarine thing, and focus instead on non-dairy milk.
Facts You Should Know About Non-Dairy Milks
With all the bad press dairy has received, countless people are nowadays too terrified to use anything that is derived from milk. As a result, they have turned their attention to non-dairy milks, with the most common ones being:
- Soy milk
- Almond milk
- Rice milk
- Coconut milk
I prefer fresh raw milk from grass fed cows but when I do partake in non-dairy milks you can bet they are homemade. There are a number of reasons why I feel this way, but I won’t get into that right now. Instead, I’m going to the facts about what is really in your non-dairy milk.
1. Natural Flavors
How very convenient this term is for the food industry. It essentially saves them from having to list each and every “flavoring” agent on their list of ingredients. When people see “All Natural Flavors,” they rarely question what those natural flavors actually are. Little do they realize that they’re probable consuming things like artificial sweeteners or even MSG.
Artificial sweeteners have been a hot topic for decades, and as a result, they’ve been subject to a great deal of scrutiny. Today, people are as divided as they’ve ever been regarding the benefits and/or dangers of some artificial sweeteners. Whether you choose to avoid them is a decision only you can make, but personally I don’t favor them at all. On the fence about artificial sweeteners? Check out a few articles about the side effects as well as potential damage that can occur from consuming artificial sweeteners here.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is most often described as being a flavor enhancing agent, and it is probably the most common food additive in the world today. It is added to almost every dish in places like China; Japan; Thailand and etc. You’ll find a packet of MSG in every kitchen and at every roadside stall that sells food, particularly in China and Thailand. However, it is also used extensively in western countries, and can be found in practically all processed foods. In short, the world has become addicted to the effects of MSG. I say “effects” because MSG itself has hardly any detectable flavor at all. Instead, it enhances the flavor of food by tricking some of the taste buds on your tongue. Trust me, I have tasted MSG straight from the packet, and it really is tasteless. Now, with this in mind, here is a little interesting fact:
A company by the name of Ajinomoto is the world’s biggest manufacturer of MSG – They are also a major drug manufacturer.
Please, if holistic health means anything to you, do yourself a favor and avoid MSG altogether. If you’d like to find out more and this silent killer, I strongly recommend that you read a very good article written by Dr. Mercola which you can find on his website, Mercola.com.
Even if additives in non-dairy milk are labeled as being “natural” additives, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good for you. In fact, it doesn’t even mean they are safe to consume. Carrageenan is a perfect example. This is a natural seaweed-based additive, so most people would instinctively assume that it is harmless, or perhaps even beneficial to their health. Well, I’m going to share a little secret with you…Carrageenan is intentionally used by researchers in order to induce colitis in laboratory animals.
So, what is this nasty additive doing in non-dairy milk in the first place? To cut a long story short, let’s just say that it is added to act as a thickening agent. Add a good scoop or two, and suddenly your watery non-dairy milk becomes luxuriously thick and creamy, and of course, it’s still “Natural” and healthy. All I’m saying here is that you shouldn’t be too quick to believe everything food manufacturers tell you.
3. Vitamin D2
Many non-dairy types of milk are fortified with vitamin D, as are several other foods and beverages. It is common to see “Added Vitamin D” printed on cartons of non-dairy milk, but the manufacturers rarely state what type of vitamin D they have added. In the vast majority of cases, they add vitamin D2 rather than vitamin D3. Ironically, vitamin D2 is of very little use to our bodies. Instead, we need vitamin D3. This is the type of vitamin D our own bodies make when our skin is exposed to the sun’s UVB rays. Of course, and as is to be expected, vitamin D2 is cheap and plentiful.
4. Other Vitamins & Minerals
Added minerals and vitamins to non-dairy milk can do more harm than good. The problem with adding mineral and vitamins, aside from the fact they are likely synthetic is the fact that minerals like calcium can only be absorbed by the body if conditions are right. Vitamin D3 is needed for the absorption of calcium, not vitamin D2. Also, we need to remember that not all calcium is the same.
For years and years people have seen soy as being a “wonder food” capable of replacing many foods such as meat; milk and etc. As a result, soy and/or soy bean extract has found its way into just about everything, including non-dairy milk. Of course you get soy milk, but soy is also added to some other types of non-dairy milk. Even if you stick to organic soy, please do take into consideration that studies have shown soy can cause serious hormone disruption. You can read all about the dangers of soy here.
6. Vegetable Oils
Believe it or not, but you’ll often find that vegetable oil is one of the additives in non-dairy milk. Regardless of whether they use sunflower oil; palm oil; corn oil or canola oil, it’s going to harm your health. These are toxic and should be avoided at all costs not to mention most of them are GMO.
If you prefer non-diary milk alternatives you should try making your own, it’s not as hard as you think. I make my own almond and coconut milk all of the time and it doesn’t take any time at all.