Food Dye and Flavored Milk--Why Bother?

Here’s an odd item. New research claims food dye may protect against cancer. From New Scientist:
Gayle Orner at Oregon State University in Corvallis added the carcinogens dibenzopyrene (DBP) or aflatoxin to the feed of trout for one month, with or without the food dyes Red 40 - one of six recently linked to hyperactivity in children - or Blue 2.

Nine months later, trout that had been fed either of the dyes in combination with aflatoxin had 50 per cent fewer liver tumours, compared with those that had been exposed to aflatoxin alone. Trout that had been fed DBP in combination with Red 40 had a 50 per cent lower incidence of stomach cancer and a 40 per cent lower incidence of liver cancer.

"The public perception is that food dyes are bad, but some of them may have good points as well," says Orner, who presented her results at the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego, California, last week.
Bizarre and about to get bizarre-er. Apparently flavored milk may be just as “healthy” as plain milk. Reuters reports:
Using national survey data on more than 7,500 2- to 18-year-olds, researchers found that those who drank flavored milk had similar intakes of calcium, vitamin A, potassium and saturated fat as those who drank only plain milk.

And both groups, the study found, got more of these nutrients than children who drank no milk at all.

One reason parents might be wary of chocolate or strawberry milk is that the added sugar might encourage excess weight gain. But in this study, milk drinkers and non-drinkers had a similar average body mass index (BMI), the researchers report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
These studies are exactly the kind of junk-science that causes people to run out and buy harmful food—in this case dye and milk—for starters, milk is no health food. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
There are many good reasons not to consume dairy. For example, there is a strong association between diary lactose and ischemic heart disease.1 There is also a clear association between high-growth-promoting foods such as dairy products and cancer. There is a clear association between milk consumption and testicular cancer.2 Dairy fat is also loaded various toxins and is the primary source of our nation’s high exposure to dioxin.3 Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits is a prominent cause of many types of cancer in those consuming dairy fat, such as butter and cheese.4 Cheese is also a power inducer of acid load, which increases calcium loss further.5
Now, as for food dye, listen, if you’re really looking to prevent cancer, just stick with fruits and veggies. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Foods are nutrient dense when they contain a high level of micronutrients per calorie. Vegetables win the award for the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Therefore, as you move forward in your quest for nutritional excellence, you will eat more and more vegetables. In containing the most nutrients per calorie, vegetables have the most powerful association with protection from heart disease and cancer.
Flavored milk and food dye? Welcome to bizarro world.
1. Grant, W.B. 1998. Milk and other dietary influences on coronary heart disease. Altrn. Med. Rev. 3: 281-94; Segall, J. J. 1997, Epidemiological evidence for the link between dietary lactose and atherosclerosis, in Colaco, C. ed. The glycation hypothesis of atherosclerosis. Austin, Tex.: Landes Bioscience, pp. 185-209; Artad-Wild, S. M., S. L. Connor, G. Sexton, et al. 1993. Differences in coronary mortality can be explained by differences in cholesterol and saturated fat intakes in 40 countries but not in France and Finland: a paradox. Circulation 88: 2771-79.

2. Davies, T. W., C. R. Plamer, E. Ruja, and J.M. Lipscombe. 1996. Adolescent milk, dairy products and fruit consumption and testicular cancer. Br. J. Cancer 74 (4): 657-60.

3. Patandin, S., P. C. Dagnelie, P.G. Mulder, et al. 1999. Dietary exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins from infancy until adulthood: a comparison between breast-feeding toddler, and long-term exposure. Environ. Health Perspect. 107 (1): 45-51.

4. Skrzycki, C., and J. Warrick. 2000. EPA reports ratchets up dioxin peril. Washington Post, May 17, 2000.

5. Remer, T., and F. Manz. 1995. Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine PH. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 95 (7): 791-97.
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Llouise - April 25, 2008 1:28 PM

Follow the money trail. I wonder who ultimately funded these studies?
Sounds fish-sticky to me.

And it's interesting how the reason parents are worried, is simply weight-gain. Sure, that's important, but what about the other issues of putting junk in your body?! And then that the BMI's were "similar," somehow makes it all okay? As if. And what about after years of drinking it?
Bizarro, for sure.

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