I’ve been reading a few articles that say dairy is not good for kids. Is that true?

Dairy has many issues. As parents, we consume it and give it to our children only because we were forced to have it when we were young.

The quality of dairy available 30 years ago was very different from what we get now. ‘You are what you eat’ is a principle that goes even for animals, not just humans. In order to make bigger profits by getting more milk, cows are raised very differently these days. Very often, they are pumped with antibiotics and hormones, just so they can produce more milk. These antibiotics and hormones are present in the milk that we get from cows and eventually enters your child’s bloodstream, too.

Also, in many commercial farms, cows are milked when they are pregnant, when the amount of oestrogen in their system is the highest. This oestrogen present in milk plays havoc when it enters the bloodstream of growing girls by altering their natural production of oestrogen. No wonder many young girls suffer from PCOS these days.

Milk also contains lactose, which causes a sharp rise in blood sugar levels, leading to high insulin levels. On getting digested, milk leaves behind an acidic residue, affecting our blood pH negatively.

While an alkaline environment in our system is one of the best ways to keep diseases at bay, an acidic environment is toxic and does exactly the opposite.

Dairy also irritates our gut lining, manifesting in skin acne, lethargy or a disrupted sleep cycle.

Eliminate dairy from a child’s diets, and add nuts, ghee, eggs, fish and sesame seeds. This will ensure there are no issues with their calcium levels. Get their Vitamin D levels tested. Without this vitamin only 25 per cent of the calcium actually gets absorbed by the body.

Nut-based milks, such as those of coconut, almond and hazel are good options.

If you think your child must have milk, go for organic and full-fat. This, though, is my least favourite option.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop