After tremendous effort, the campaign to persuade the US Dietary Guidelines to acknowledge the serious health dangers that dairy poses for many has succeeded. The US Dietary Guidelines–revised every five years by a committee of expert nutrition and medical researchers, academics, and practitioners–recognized, for the first time, the seriousness of lactose intolerance and included soy milk as a viable replacement in the new guidelines effective for the next five years.

US Dietary Guidelines Finally Recognize Negative Health Effects of Dairy

Leaders of the campaign to have the updated guidelines “ditch the dairy” included the plant-based physician Dr. Milton Mills and the health organization Switch4Good, an advocacy group founded by the cycling Olympic medalist Dotsie Bausch. Earlier this year, Switch4Good launched an advertising campaign featuring Olympians and pro athletes sharing their personal experiences ditching dairy, the associated health risks of dairy, and the negative environmental impact that the dairy industry causes.

In his speech to the committee, Dr. Mills emphasized the importance of revising the former guidelines given dairy’s disproportional adverse health effects on people of color. As he explained to the committee: “The vast majority of people of color in this country are intolerant to the lactose that’s in milk. It’s really outrageous to encourage people to eat foods we know will make them sick, particularly when the number one reason advanced for dairy foods is their calcium content. But African American women are genetically protected against getting osteoporosis. So we’re making them sick for no good reason.”

With this victory under their belt, Switch4Good hopes to continue their efforts to continue to bring awareness to the adverse health impacts of dairy, battling the “dairy industry’s grasp on our government.” More health experts are beginning to warn against dairy: The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, led by Dr. Neal Barnard, petitioned the FDA to add a warning label to cheese to indicate that it contains hormones that can increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. If these doctors have inspired you to finally put down the cheese, use these helpful tips to help you transition into your dairy-free new year and check out these guides to our favorite plant-based milk and cheeses.

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