July 9, 2012

Got GERD?: Going Dairy-Free May Help

In the July 7 Opinion section of the New York Sunday Times (and online blog), food/cookbook writer Mark Bittman writes about his experience with heartburn and milk -- and how removing dairy products from his diet immediately resulted in no more GERD.   Bittman notes he had been popping Tums and taking Prevacid for years; when he switched to a dairy-free diet, his symptoms went away -- and so did his medications.  This also worked for a friend of his (emphasis mine):

"So, three months ago, I decided to give up dairy products as a test. Twenty-four hours later, my heartburn was gone. Never, it seems, to return. In fact, I can devour linguine puttanesca (with anchovies) and go to bed an hour later; fellow heartburn sufferers will be impressed. Perhaps equally impressive is that I mentioned this to a friend who had the same problem, tried the same approach, and had the same results. Presto! No dairy, no heartburn! (A third had no success. Hey, it’s not a controlled double-blind experiment, but there is no downside to trying it.)
"Conditions like mine are barely on the radar. Although treating heartburn is a business worth more than $10 billion a year, the solution may be as simple as laying off dairy. (Which, need I point out, is free.) What’s clear is that the widespread existence of lactose intolerance, says Dr. Baker, is “a pretty good sign that we’ve evolved to drink human milk when we’re babies but have no need for the milk of any animals. And no matter what you call a chronic dairy problem — milk allergy, milk intolerance, lactose intolerance — the action is the same: avoid all foods derived from milk for at least five days and see what happens.”

It's worth reading the comments after Bittman's online article, which refute some of his points, and one person points out millions of people in the U.S.  are able to tolerate dairy.  

Food Politics Note:  Still, no one can refute the link between dairy farming -- even organic, small-scale farms -- and the veal industry.   I used to buy my cheese at the local greenmarket guilt-free until one day the same stand sold slabs of veal.  Most farmers cannot afford to keep dozens of non-producing cows (male or old females) around as pets.  My lightbulb moment.

1 comment:

  1. !!!

    Heartburn was the first sign that I had a problem with dairy. It's not just me!!!!!! Thanks for posting this!