One of the most often asked questions that I receive when I tell people that I do not eat anything that comes from animals is “You mean, you don’t eat cheese?”
I don’t eat any kind of animal-based cheese. Why? I tell people that science shows that dairy is not good for the human body.
Dr. Michael Greger runs a non-profit website called Nutrition Facts. Three times a week, Dr. Greger posts short videos outlining some of the best new science regarding health. Additionally, Dr. Greger is the author of “How Not To Die,” a complete rundown of science detailing how consumption of animal products is detrimental to human health. He shows in his book how eating a whole foods, plant-based diet can virtually eliminate or make rare many diseases.
In his latest podcast, he dives headfirst into this most controversial topic (who doesn’t like a good grilled cheese sandwich every now and then?) looking at the science behind the consumption of dairy.
Studies have shown that greater milk consumption during childhood and adolescence contributes to peak bone mass, and is therefore expected to help avoid osteoporosis and bone fractures in later life. But that’s not what they found. Milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture and, if anything, milk consumption was associated with a borderline increase in fracture risk in men.
A hundred thousand men and women followed for up to 20 years; what did they find? Milk-drinking women had higher rates of death, more heart disease, significantly more cancer for each glass of milk. Three glasses a day was associated with nearly twice the risk of death and they had significantly more bone and hip fractures too.
Men in a separate study also had a higher rate of death with higher milk consumption, but at least they didn’t have higher fracture rates. So, a dose-dependent higher rate of both mortality and fracture in women, and a higher rate of mortality in men with milk intake, but the opposite for other dairy products like soured milk and yogurt, which would go along with the galactose theory, since bacteria can ferment away some of the lactose. To prove it though, we need a randomized controlled trial to examine the effect of milk intake on mortality and fractures. As the accompanying editorial pointed out, we’d better figure this out soon, as milk consumption is on the rise around the world.
A bit more:
The latest meta-analysis of all the best case control studies ever done on the matter concludes that milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer. And the latest meta-analysis of all the best cohort studies ever done also concludes that milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer. An even newer study suggests that milk intake during adolescence may be particularly risky in terms of potentially setting one up for cancer later in life.
To listen to Dr. Greger’s podcast, click over to NutritionFacts.org.