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Milk is Not a Health Food

What do you think when you see movie actors and athletes with a white mustache on their lips? Do you think that milk strengthens bones? There is little data to support any health benefits from drinking milk. I do not drink milk.

Data does not show that milk prevents osteoporosis (1). I have quoted several studies that show that osteoporosis is associated far more with taking in too much protein than with not getting enough calcium in the diet (2). Taking in too much protein causes the body to convert protein building blocks called amino acids into organic acids that acidify the blood. The kidneys respond by neutralizing the blood by taking calcium from bones and pushing it out through the urine. A study in the journal Pediatrics shows that a high calcium intake does not strengthen bones in teenage girls. Further studies show that cow's milk contains cow's insulin that can sensitize susceptible infants to cow's insulin forcing the baby to make antibodies that attack the cow's insulin and these same antibodies attack the beta cells of the pancreas to cause juvenile diabetes (3).

The Doctors Study from Harvard Medical school showed that men who drink more than four glasses of milk per day are at higher risk for prostate cancer than those who drink less than that. The Harvard researchers explain that calcium in milk uses up vitamin D. Even though there is added vitamin D in milk, there is not enough vitamin D in milk to offset the loss of vitamin D caused by the calcium in milk. So people who drink a lot of milk have lower blood levels of vitamin D than those who do not drink milk. Lack of vitamin D can be a cause of cancer.

Neal Bernard, president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, believes that milk increases blood levels of a hormone called insulin-like-growth-factor-1. Insulin-like -growth factor causes cancer cells to spread in a test tube. Men with prostate cancer have higher levels of insulin like growth factor-1.

Drinking milk in moderation is not likely to harm you, but you shouldn't let the Dairy Council ads lead you to believe that milk has any special health benefits.

1) RL Weinsier, CL Krumdieck. Dairy foods and bone health: examination of the evidence. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 72, Iss 3, pp 681-689Address Weinsier RL, Univ Alabama, Dept Nutr Sci, Birmingham,AL 35294 USA.

2) Deborah Sellmeyer, an endocrinologist at the university of California-San Francisco. She found that women who eat the most acidic foods are the ones most likely to suffer osteoporosis. (To be published early next year) .

3) J Paronen, M Knip, E Savilahti, SM Virtanen, J Ilonen, HK Akerblom, O Vaarala. Effect of cow's milk exposure and maternal type 1 diabetes on cellular and humoral immunization to dietary insulin in infants at genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. Diabetes, 2000, Vol 49, Iss 10, pp 1657-1665Address Paronen J, Natl Publ Hlth Inst, Dept Biochem, Mannerheimintie 166, SF-00300 Helsinki, FINLAND.

Checked 4/17/12

June 2nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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