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The Dairy Industry is really big business – with sales of over $11 billion for milk and $16 billion for cheese annually in the USA alone – so you might expect hard line marketing from them – but would you expect them to aggressively sell their products if they were known to be harmful to people – especially to women and children?
The Dairy Management Inc.™, whose purpose is to build demand for dairy products on behalf of America’s 80,000-plus dairy producers, has just released the Dairy Checkoff 2003 Unified Marketing Plan (UMP) with a budget of $165.7 million.1 The United Marketing Plan explains, “This ongoing program area (referring to the section Dairy Image/Confidence) aims to protect and enhance consumer confidence in dairy products and the dairy industry. A major component involves conducting and communicating the results of dairy nutrition research showing the healthfulness of dairy products, as well as issues and crisis management.”1 (Most likely, I fall under the heading of “issues and crisis management.”)
A significant portion of the money from the 2003 Unified Marketing Plan is specifically targeted to children ages 6 to 12 and their mothers. The goal is “to guide school-age children to become life-long consumers of dairy products, 2003 activities will target students, parents, educators and school foodservice professionals.”1 (Similar words and intentions have been attributed to the tobacco industry.) All this marketing is working, too: annual fluid milk consumption among kids 6 to 12 increased to 28 gallons per capita – the highest level in 10 years. Children under 18 drink 46% of the milk consumed in the USA.
Realize that when I say milk in this article, I'm also implicating all dairy products that are made from milk: non-fat milk, low-fat milk, buttermilk, cheeses, cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream, whey, kefir, and butter. All of them share a similar nutritional profile (plus or minus the fat, protein, and sugar), and as a result, all of them contribute to a wide range of health problems.
Will the UMP Inform You of the Contamination? E. Coli, AIDS and Leukemia Viruses?
Last month I left you with some very disturbing facts about the contamination of milk with loads of bacteria and millions of white blood cells (pus cells) which are there to help fight off the infections found in cows and milk (see the April 2003 Newsletter found at www.drmcdougall.com). Will the 2003 Unified Marketing Plan specify money to inform you of this upsetting information? You will never see an advertisement with a famous movie star proudly wearing a white mustache, properly labeled as containing 300,000 white blood cells and 25,000 bacteria.
Dairy products were the foods most often recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the period October 1, 1993 through September 30, 1998 because of contamination with infectious agents, mostly bacteria.2 They are commonly tainted with disease-causing bacteria, such as salmonella, staphylococci, listeria, deadly E. coli O1573 and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis4 (possibly one of the agents causing Crohn's disease; a form of life-threatening chronic colitis) – as well as viruses known to cause lymphoma and leukemia-like diseases, and immune deficiency in cattle.
Has it been shown that the bovine AIDS and/or leukemia viruses will infect you and cause disease? No. Nor has it been proved that they will not. Compared to the efforts to try to convince you of the bone-building benefits of milk, almost nothing has been spent to establish whether or not it is safe to feed your family dairy products teeming with bovine immunodeficiency and bovine leukemia viruses (and/or viral fragments). Some countries take this matter very seriously. For example, in many European countries, health officials have conducted programs to eradicate infected herds – Finland’s program has successfully eradicated BLV from its cattle.19
If you live in a region with a high incidence of herd infection with these viruses you can be pretty sure you will be consuming dairy products containing whole viruses or fragments of these viruses, since the milk from many dairy farms is mixed in large vats at the dairy factory before processing and packaging. Since the industry will not act responsibly in many countries, consumers are left with one choice – eliminate all dairy products from their diet. If eliminating dairy products would prevent even a small risk of human disease, it would be well worthwhile, especially since, as you learned in the April 2003 McDougall Newsletter, they are completely unnecessary for excellent health.
Will the UMP Market the Pain and Suffering Caused Children?
The Dairy Management Inc.™ has specifically targeted children in their campaign.1 This will raise no public concern, because most people consider cow’s milk the healthiest of all food choices, especially when it comes to children. Over 25% of children are overweight in Western countries and cow’s milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, and sour cream, with all their fat and calories, contribute greatly to this deadly epidemic. Many of these overweight children are now developing type-2 diabetes. However, the most common variety of diabetes found in children is still type-1 or insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM).
The evidence incriminating cow’s milk consumption in the cause of type-1 diabetes is sufficient to cause the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue these warnings, "Early exposure of infants to cow's milk protein may be an important factor in the initiation of the beta cell (insulin-producing cells of the pancreas) destructive process in some individuals."20 "The avoidance of cow's milk protein for the first several months of life may reduce the later development of IDDM or delay its onset in susceptible people."20
Exposure to cow’s milk protein early in life, when the intestinal tract is immature, sometimes results in the milk protein entering the blood stream where antibodies to this foreign substance, cow’s milk, are made by the immune system. Unfortunately, these same antibodies also attack the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. By glassful of milk after spoonful of ice cream, over a period of about 5 to 7 years, the child destroys his or her own pancreas – and is left with a lifelong, life-threatening, handicap: diabetes. The pancreas is forever destroyed and the child will have to take insulin shots daily. Complications, such as blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease will be a real threat during his or her shortened lifespan. (See my July 2002 McDougall Newsletter for a discussion of type-1 diabetes).
Not as life-threatening as diabetes, but for some as mentally and physically distressing, is chronic constipation. As a doctor who has cared for hundreds of children, I can tell you they suffer with pain, bleeding, hemorrhoids, and embarrassment. The causal effects of cow’s milk were clearly demonstrated in a study of 65 severely constipated children published in the New England Journal of Medicine.21 These boys and girls complained of only one bowel movement every 3 to 15 days and many didn’t even respond to strong laxatives (lactulose and mineral oil). Forty-four of the 65 (68%) found relief of their constipation when taken off the cow’s milk. Evidence of inflammation of the bowel was found on biopsy, and anal fissures and pain were commonly associated with the constipation – elimination of the cow’s milk solved these problems. When cow’s milk was reintroduced into their diet 8 to 12 months later, all of the children developed constipation within 5 to 10 days. For constipation alone cow’s milk should be banned from the School Milk Programs, worldwide.
Rhinitis and Otitis Media
The multitude of snotty-nosed kids frequently visiting the pediatrician’s office for ear infections is much more obvious than the constipated crowd, and these problems less devastating than type-1 diabetes, but these complaints also can be due to consuming the foreign proteins intended for calves.22-25 In addition, these same children are likely to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, asthma and/or eczema from their unnatural habit of drinking cow’s milk.
Diseases of Foreign Protein
Many conditions can be traced back to reactions to cow’s milk. Milk contains more than 25 different proteins that can induce adverse reactions in humans.26 Our immune system perceives these foreign proteins as alien invaders, like a virus or bacteria, and launches an attack in response, as in the case of type-1 diabetes discussed above and many other allergic and autoimmune diseases.
The UMP Will Try to Deceive You about the Fattening Nature of Dairy Foods
“Independent research confirming dairy’s role in weight reduction is mounting,” said Dr. Greg Miller, senior vice president of nutrition and scientific affairs for the Dairy Checkoff.29 “This helps to position dairy foods as part of the solution to America’s growing obesity epidemic.” And Miller added, “Informing the public about dairy’s role in the fight against obesity will help increase consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt, among other dairy products.”
Shouldn’t the idea of milk acting as an “antiobesity” food strike you as fundamentally contradictory? – After all, the biologic purpose of cow’s milk is to provide large amounts of energy and nutrients to grow the young animal from 60 to 600 pounds. So how does milk become a weight loss product in the 21st century? This idea began with the observation that underprivileged people, who have poor diets in general, are often obese, and also consume few dairy products.30 Some experiments that followed showed people and animals on calorie-restricted diets lost a small amount of extra weight when calcium or dairy foods were part of their diet. The “antiobesity” effects of dairy are difficult to explain, but may be due to calcium binding fat in the intestine, preventing its absorption.30
A thorough search of the literature for properly designed studies shows only one of 17 randomized studies found weight loss in people taking calcium pills, and of the nine randomized studies where fluid milk was added, two showed significant weight gain, and none showed significant loss.31 In one study funded by a grant from the International Dairy Foods Association, 204 healthy men and women were asked to increase their intake of skim or 1% milk by three cups a day for 12 weeks; those consuming the extra milk gained an average of 1.32 pounds (0.6 Kg).32 Can you imagine what their weight gain would have been if they had been asked to add whole milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream to their diet, instead of skim and low-fat 1% milk? The result of all this research was well summed up by one of the dairy industry’s frequent spokespersons at the Dairy Management Inc. sponsored Symposium: Dairy Product Components and Weight Regulation, held April 21, 2002 in New Orleans, with this statement, “In conclusion, the data available from randomized trials of dairy product or calcium supplementation provide little support for an effect in reducing body weight or fat mass.”31 Yet the consumer will hear from Dr. Miller and the rest of the industry, “eat more dairy products and you will lose weight.”
Dairy products are loaded with fats that are easily stored under your skin as “body fat.” The fats in the cold glass of milk, the little bite of cheese, and that small bowl of ice cream will move from your lips to your hips effortlessly. In fact, it moves with so little effort that the chemical structure of the fat isn’t even changed. Cow’s milk contains a unique kind of fat with double bonds located at the C-15 and C-17 position on the fat’s carbon chain. Examination of a person’s fatty (adipose) tissues following a biopsy will show the amount of this kind of fat present, which will be in direct proportion to the amount of dairy products the person consumes.33
All that fat the dairy industry asks us to eat is associated with higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and breast, prostate, uterine and colon cancer. Yet, as a marketing scheme, the dairy industry has teamed up with the National Medical Association to write articles about “the role of dairy in helping reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and other serious health issues.”34 The National Medical Association promotes the collective interests of physicians and patients of African descent. Please explain to me how this association came about when the vast majority of people of African descent (80% to 90%) cannot drink milk because of lactose intolerance; causing them diarrhea, stomach cramps and gas.35
Not only is this dairy fat unattractively worn and a health hazard, but it is also a source of large quantities of environmental chemicals, like dioxins and DDT, that affect your health and the health of a mother’s offspring during pregnancy and nursing.36 One reason a young girl needs to start thinking about a healthier diet early is because the accumulation of these chemicals in her own body fat occurs over her entire lifetime.
The UMP Will Try to Confuse You about Bone Health and Animal Protein
Osteoporosis is caused by several factors; however, the most important one is diet – especially the amount of animal protein and acid in the foods we eat.37-39 The high acid foods are meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and hard cheeses – parmesan cheese is the most acidic of all foods commonly consumed.40 Once consumed, this food-derived acid must be neutralized in the body. Fruits and vegetables can do this neutralizing (these foods are alkaline in nature). However, because the diet of the average Westerner is so deficient in fruits and vegetables and so high in acid foods, the primary neutralizer of dietary acid becomes their bones – the bones dissolve to release alkaline materials.
Worldwide, the highest rates of hip fractures are among populations that consume the most animal food (including dairy products) – like people from the USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, etc.41,42 The lowest rates are among people who eat little or no dairy foods (these people are on lower calcium diets) – like people from rural Asia and rural Africa.41,42 The basic experiments published in the 1980s clearly show protein causes bone loss, and calcium offers little or no protection.43
Even the foremost scientists hired by the dairy industry know protein is harmful to the bones.44 In my April 2003 Newsletter I explained there was only one properly designed study testing the effects of fluid milk on the bone health of postmenopausal women – and the results were: those who received the extra milk for a year lost more bone than those who didn’t drink the milk.44 The authors, funded by the National Dairy Council®, explained in their paper, “The protein content of the milk supplement may have a negative effect on calcium balance, possibly through an increase in kidney losses of calcium or through a direct effect on bone resorption.” Trying to explain why those receiving the milk were in worse calcium balance, they said, “…this may have been due to the average 30 percent increase in protein intake during milk supplementation.”
Unfortunately, all this damning information does not sit well with the powerful dairy industry, so they have started the “3-A-Day of Dairy” program to battle the calcium crisis in America by promoting milk, cheese and yogurt for stronger bones – and they have been busy doing their own research to prove protein is good for the bones.45-48
Regrettably for them, their designing means were just revealed in the May 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.49 The article in this journal exposed the way they made the results show protein is good for the bones. To devise research that appears to contradict hundreds of articles published over the past 35 years, you only have to provide sufficient alkaline material in the diet of the people being studied to neutralize the acid from the animal foods. This was accomplished by studying populations that have diets high in neutralizing fruits and vegetables; the other approach employed was to add a strong alkali source to the experiment, such as an antacid pill (wafer), calcium citrate (like Citracal).
Once the acid from the food is neutralized, then any bone building factors that might be present in meat and dairy can exert their effects. High protein foods, and especially dairy foods, raise the levels of a powerful growth-stimulating hormone in the body, called insulin-like growth factor-1 or IGF-1. Stimulation of bone growth by this hormone is now being offered as the reason dairy products build strong bones. It has long been necessary for them to find a more scientifically supportable explanation, because the bulk of the research shows the calcium in dairy foods has little or no benefit for bone health.50-52
The UMP Will Not Promote the Fact that IGF–1 is a Powerful Cancer Promoter
Consumption of animal products increases the levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 in your body. However, modern dairy technology has made dairy products an even more potent source of this growth stimulant. Since 1985, U.S. dairy farmers have been allowed to inject cows with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH), a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone that increases milk production. RbGH treatment produces an increase in IGF-1 in cow’s milk.53,54 IGF-1 is not destroyed by pasteurization.53 The overall effect is that milk seems to raise IGF-1 levels in people more than any other component of our diet.55
The direct evidence of the effects of cow’s milk on IGF-1 levels in people has been provided by the dairy industry’s own efforts. Two recent studies, one on adolescent girls and the other on postmenopausal women, showed increasing milk consumption actually raises plasma levels of IGF-1 in the person’s body by an average of 10%.56,57 Their take on this is, “this is a beneficial effect” because IGF-1 stimulates bone growth. But, the actual lasting consequences should deliver the final deathblow to dairy products: IGF-1 promotes the growth of cancer. This growth promoter has been strongly linked to the development of cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon.58 Excess IGF-1 stimulates cell proliferation and inhibits cell death – two activities you definitely don't want when cancer cells are involved.58
There is more to cancer promotion by dairy foods than IGF-1. Most dairy products are high in saturated fat – and fat is the number one suspect when it comes to the cause of most common cancers in Western societies (for example, breast, prostate, colon, kidney, pancreas). Recent studies have linked the sugar (lactose) and fat in milk with ovarian cancer,59,60 and the calcium in milk lowers concentrations of a specific form of vitamin D that protects against prostate cancer, raising men's overall risk.61,62 (See my February 2003 Newsletter for more information on diet and prostate cancer.) Hormones (estrogens) are also involved in cancers of reproductive organs, like breast and uterine cancer. There are several reasons dairy products raise a woman’s hormone levels – causing a variety of hormone-dependent problems from early onset of menstruation (menarche) to PMS and uterine fibroids – but one is unique to cow’s milk. Cows are milked even while they are pregnant. As a result of the pregnancy, cows secrete high levels of estrogen into their milk.63
Will the UMP Advertise that Dairy Is Simply Liquid Meat?
Red meat has become a “dirty word” when it comes to health. At the opposite end of the spectrum of opinions on food is cow’s milk – one of the world’s most trusted foods. Do you remember the “Basic Four Food Groups?” Dairy was usually placed first in this chart which was hung in every schoolroom (and by no coincidence the dairy industry also provided the chart). If you compare closely the nutritional make up of meat and dairy you will see why I call dairy products “liquid meats.”64
Dairy products are deficient in iron and beef is deficient in calcium; both contain too little dietary fiber, essential fat (linoleic acid), and vitamin C and B3 (niacin) to meet human nutritional requirements.64 Heavy consumption of either of these food groups – loaded with fat and cholesterol – will result in the diseases common to affluent societies, such as obesity, heart disease, strokes, type-2 diabetes and cancer, to name just a few serious problems.65
If a patient bargained with me, “I’ll give up only one of the first two food groups – meat or milk – in hopes of getting well,” my recommendation for almost all common health problems in Western society would be, “You’re likely to get the most benefits if you give up the dairy products.”
By going to the National Library of Medicine at www.nlm.nih.gov you can view the abstracts of most of these studies, and many times secure the original paper.
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8) Trono KG. Seroprevalence of bovine leukemia virus in dairy cattle in Argentina: comparison of sensitivity and specificity of different detection methods. Vet Microbiol. 2001 Nov 26;83(3):235-48.
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26) Bahna S. Allergies to Milk. Grune and Stratton, New York.
27) School Milk Pilot Test: http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/lvl04/nutrilib/relresearch/pilot_test2.html
28) Results of School Milk Pilot Test: http://www.nutritionexplorations.org/sfs/pilot.asp
29) Greg Miller’s Comments on Obesity: http://www.dairycheckoff.com/check/hl0103.asp
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33) Baylin A. Adipose tissue biomarkers of fatty acid intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Oct;76(4):750-7.
34) National Medical Association: http://www.dairycheckoff.com/check/hl0403.asp#c
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62) Chan J. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians' Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct;74(4):549-54.
63) Janowski T. Mammary secretion of oestrogens in the cow. Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2002 Jul;23(1-2):125-37.
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