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In The News: Low and Non-Fat Milk: The New Enemies

Posted Aug 25 2008 6:55pm
Here is my take on the recent " skim and lowfat milk pose a higher risk of developing malignant tumors than whole milk."

First of all, the findings are rather vague and contradictory.

On the one hand, we have the following quote:

"Low-fat or non-fat milk did increase the risk of localized tumors or non-aggressive tumors, while whole milk decreased the risk."

That is soon followed by this statement:

"Our findings do not provide strong support for the hypothesis that calcium and dairy foods increase the risk of prostate cancer."

Huh? Isn't this like accusing someone of cold-blooded murder and then, when questioned on the stand, saying, "Well, I didn't actually see him carrying the weapon or standing anywhere near the body."?

The report also makes no mention of possible theories behind the alleged link between low/non-fat milk and these higher risks. For example, is this due to something being molecularly altered in the defattening process?

Some people have e-mailed me and asked me if I thought growth hormones and antibiotics in conventional milk could be the culprits behind the findings.

While a very good question, I don't see any mention of the low/non-fat milks being conventional and the whole milk in the study being organic , thus I don't think additives are relevant in this study's context (although, as you know, I recommend consuming organic milk whenever possible, and if it's from grass-fed cows, even better ).

Over the past two days I have tried to localize where funding for this study came from, but have come up empty. The cynic in me wonders if a soft drink company provided the moolah behind this research.

After all, whole milk consumption has decreased considerably over the past few decades, while low/non-fat milk and soda sales have increased.

Perhaps a sly soda exec thought, "Hmmm.... skim milk drinkers would never go back to whole. Maybe if we start making lower fat dairy seem evil, people would replace it with diet soda."

Another interesting tidbit? All food consumption in this study was self-reported, which lends itself to faulty memory, erroneous reporting, and inaccurate data.

This study reminds me of the recent "diet soda linked to obesity" findings, which the mainstream media immediately pounced on without once thinking that more than likely it wasn't the soda that was the culprit, but the fact that people accompany that beverage -- whether regular or diet -- with unhealthy FOODS.

In this case, I wonder, for instance, if the low/non-fat milk drinkers were also consuming alternative sources of fat containing trans fats (which most certainly have been linked with increased cancer risks and tumor growth). Or, they perhaps had a lower fiber intake (a higher fiber intake is considered one of the best nutritional weapons against the development and progression of prostate cancer)?

This truly seems like a non-issue that the media has, once again, taken out of context in an attempt to stir up some controversy.

By the way, apart from a high-fiber diet, I am happy to report that urologists agree that one of the absolute best ways to keep your prostate healthy is to empty it often.
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