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Casein: The Disturbing Connection Between This Dairy Protein and Your Health


Milk, cheese, and butter are some of the top three foods many people have a hard time giving up when transitioning to a healthy, plant-based diet. Even though the plant-based milk industry is now booming, thanks to all the varieties of options that we have, many people still do use dairy milk, cheese, and butter without abandon. But is this a coincidence? Is cheese pizza really something magical or is it addictive for so many people because of something else?

Considering cheese actually has a horrible smell and is rather gross when you consider how it’s made, there aren’t any magical properties behind cheese (or other dairy products) that make them anything special. The reason why they’re so addicting is largely due to a certain type of protein dairy products contain.

Meet Milk Protein: Whey and Casein

There are two types of protein found in dairy products: casein and whey protein. Thirty-eight percent of the solid matter in milk is made of protein. Of that total protein, 80 percent is casein and 20 percent is whey. Cheese is made mostly of casein, where most of the liquid whey found in milk has been filtered or strained out. But all dairy products contain casein, not just cheese. The difference between whey and casein is how they’re digested and how they react in the body. Whey protein is digested quickly and absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream, which causes an increase in insulin quickly. This process stimulates IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) which has been found to create new cancer cells and proliferate cancer cell growth. Yikes!

Casein: Your Brain and Body’s Worst Nightmare

Casein is very different from whey, though just as detrimental to your health. Casein breaks down more slowly and in the process, also wreaks havoc on your health.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, says through his studies he has found casein to be the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered.  Because casein digests so slowly, natural morphine-like substances in casein known as casomorphins, act like opiates in the body as they enter the bloodstream. Just minutes after you eat a dairy-based food, the casein protein begins to break down. This releases the drug-like casomorphins, which attach to opiate receptors in the brain, and cause severe addictions to dairy products (hence the reason they keep people coming back for more.) Casomorphins trigger such an addictive response that they’ve been compared to heroine in terms of their strength to cause food addictions and mood disorders.

Casein’s slow digestion rate also puts great strain on the digestive system. Dr. Frank Lipman (an Integrative and Functional Medical expert), explains that the body has an extremely difficult time breaking down casein. Dr. Lipman says that common symptoms of dairy sensitivity due to casein are: excess mucus production, respiratory problems and digestive problems like constipation, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea. Dairy intolerance is also known to cause skin issues like acne, rashes, and redness or irritation. Skip the casein and try eating more of these Inexpensive Vegan Foods That Brighten Your Skin instead!

Morphine in Milk- What the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Advertise on Their Products

If you still think a harmless glass of milk, a cup of yogurt, or a small serving of cheese isn’t potentially dangerous, think again. Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. (founder of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, a.k.a PCRM) found that in various studies, when dairy products were removed from the diet, cheese was the hardest food for people to give up. Dr. Barnard credits this finding to cheese being the most concentrated source of casein of all dairy products. PCRM has also discovered that milk actually contains morphine, which can clearly be seen when milk is inspected under a microscope. Morphine is not added to cow’s milk; cows actually produce these opiate-like chemicals on their own.

Beware of the Sneaky Place Casein Lurks (Hint, It’s Not Just Dairy!)

The Trouble With Casein is that it’s not just found in dairy products. In fact, this dangerous ingredient is often used in other foods, even those that are marketed as a vegan food. Casein is used in food for its scientific properties to thicken and congeal foods and likely for its addictive properties to sell more products. Some brands of veggie cheeses, non-dairy yogurts, non-dairy, and non-dairy creamers contain casein for these very reasons. Casein is also found in some other non-food items such as: paint, adhesives, glues, fabrics, textiles, and plastics. Can you believe that? Items in your home and your clothes could even contain this toxic protein naturally found in dairy!

How to Spot Casein on a Label:

You’ll find casein listed as either of the following: casein, caseinates, calcium caseinate, potassium caseinate and sodium caseinate. Read labels thoroughly and buy products that are 100 percent vegan to be sure you’re not consuming this ingredient. If you have a question about the ingredients in your food or household product, you may also want to contact the manufacturer to inquire about it more thoroughly.

Other Problems With Dairy and Your Health

As you can see, it’s no wonder that gooey cheese pizza or bowl of dairy milk ice cream is so hard for many people to give up, but addiction isn’t the only problem dairy causes. Dairy has also been linked to brain fog and depression, which creates even more havoc to the brain and body. Lactose, a milk sugar found in dairy, is also one of the number one allergies people have in the United States.

You Don’t Need Casein or Dairy to be Healthy or Happy

Believe it or not, life does go on without dairy milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, and butter. In fact, it gets better! Plant-based foods come with just as many satisfying properties as dairy foods do, yet they contain no morphine or other nasty chemicals found in dairy foods. Check out these 10 Reasons to Ditch Dairy if you’re still on the fence.

Here are some healthy options to buy instead of dairy products:

As you can see, there are plenty of dairy replacements to choose from to avoid casein, though you’ll still need to read labels to be sure. You can use these delicious plant-based options to recreate fabulous dishes in your recipes and change your health in the process.

Need recipes? We’ve got plenty of dairy-free options to choose from!

 Image Source: Carly Lesser & Art Drauglis/Flickr

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68 comments on “Casein: The Disturbing Connection Between This Dairy Protein and Your Health”

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john the real Greek
10 Months Ago

You people in Usa allow two multibillion fractions to tell you what to do..The whole grain Counsil fraction and the animal based fraction-meat,dairy,fish,poultry etc-....i believe both fractions are making good points regarding their enemy, gluten makes you sluggish,foggy and the more you eat the more you want it.The same applies to casein,the more you eat the more you want it..And dont tell me there is NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT ADDICTIVE CLAIMS,HEEEEEEY how about real life????want a paradigm??here it is: why is it that we dont crave to wake up in the morning EVERY Day and eat melons,apples or veggies?They are not addictive!!Why are we having cheese,coffee,gluten grain,sugar or anything cocoa related???? I live in Greece,Thessaloniki and i have a friend from ALbania,this guy needs about 15-20 kilograms of goat cheess per MONTH, ooohhh come on,dont tell me there is no addiction here!!!He even eats macaroni almost every day and drinks 2-3 cups of coffee per day!!!i never seen him ordering 1 kilogram cherries,prunes or oranges and eating them within minutes (thats what i actually do)....despite the fact that people in usa believe Greece lives behind the Moon,let me tell you that our doctors Eftimiadis and Petru long before the age of William Davis or Perlmutter (1970 and 1930 respectively) already knew that Wheat has addictive properties and that one substance (unknown at that time) is very tricky for the digestive system-gluten- and promoted a vegan diet BASED ON FRUITS MOSTLY AND Veggies in place 2,with low amounts of legumes and ALWAYS SOAKED overnight nuts and seeds.Thank you for your time and remember to be always suspicious when someone is advertising,because money is a great motive in our days,if not the only motive on which war-religion-advertising-companies-doctors are based on..its simple as that.I am sure one day all those Institutions will fall,and the time is coming closer because man WILL INHABIT OTHER PLANETS during the next 100-200 years or sooner (yes we all are going to be under the dust by then or even reborn somewhere else).............

1 Years Ago

This article made me cringe....at how bad it is. Absolutely none of this is true with backed evidence from credible sources. Yes, there is morphine, but you would consume enough cheese to stuff yourself before you ever felt the slightest effect from the morphine.

1 Years Ago

Beta-casomorphin-7 is only problematic in A1 dairy cattle. The opiate is present in A2 but is not readily released. At the 67th amino acid chain proline was replaced by histidine in the genetically mutated, now termed, A1 dairy cattle. The problem is that histidine apparently breaks down during digestion and releases the opiate while proline does not break down and binds tight to bcm-7.

I have a genetic sensitivity to casein protein and it has caused me MANY issues before diagnosed. But plant based foods cause many many sensitivities as well. My husband reacts to pinto beans and my grandson reacts to gluten (same symptoms as what dairy causes in me). About 30% of our food supply have these lectin proteins (like casein and gluten) most of which are from plants --- legumes and nightshade plants being some of the worst.

Pure butter, being a fat, should not have enough, if any, protein in it to cause a problem except for the most sensitive or those consuming mass amounts.

mr bagel
1 Years Ago

Wow, vegans really are quite insane.

Craig Glurp
1 Years Ago

There is not yet any empirical evidence to support the claim of addictive potential and citing Dr. Oz\'s website does very little to support the credibility of the claim. Most research to date suggests that there is, at present, no reinforcing element that supports a hypothesis of addiction. It\'s all well and good to raise the legitimate, empirically founded concerns relating to casein, but inferring addictive potential from casomorphin\'s status as an opioid is an unfortunate misstep.

Not all drugs within the same class, nor those affecting the same receptors, will meet with identical behavioural outcomes. This is one instance where the evidence seems to point to such a conclusion. Casomorphins are, at present, not associated with any empirically validated addictive potential. Future research may contradict the status quo but repeating the myth in the absence of research that supports it is detrimental.

There are plenty of reasons to exclude dairy from one\'s diet and resorting to distortions of the truth is unfortunately not doing much to bolster the credibility of the overall claim.

Joe Blow
1 Years Ago

Stupidest article I\'ve ever read, with zero facts. I\'ve been consuming HUGE amounts of Casein for 25 years. I\'m 44 in tip top shape.

1 Years Ago

More and more research is pointing to the fact that she is correct. However the road to go down is not to eat lots of \'vegan\' processed foods which might have all sort of processed stuff in. Eat food as it comes naturally, no processed food and plant based. You will feel as if you have been reborn. Note to the author on a small grammar point, it is \'with abandon\' not \'without\'. If you want to drink nut milk, make your own.

Cheri Proctor
1 Years Ago

Think of this, a cow nurses a 30# calf to a 300# steer or hefer in a year. We are not meant to drink cows' milk! Plus dairy farms slack in their care...there are protein, vitamins and minerals from many other foods. Happy Healthy Journey

Mariah Allison
1 Years Ago

Katie Swann

Courtney McFarland
1 Years Ago

Trouble is any non dairy milk that you don't make yourself is full of chemicals! Thickeners, flavorings, preservatives.. I can't find any that are clean, what gives?!!

07 Dec 2014

Just grind up your own nuts (ouch!) with some filtered water and strain through a nut milk bag, or muslin bag from cooking store or Amazon. Much healthier.

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