Dairy: Ice Cream for Fertility?

Dairy has been crammed down our throats for decades. School lunch trays across America sport that familiar mini-carton of milk and college students basically survive on a diet of grilled cheese and breakfast cereal. And if you don’t eat dairy people act as if something’s wrong with you. Having a lactose intolerance is like being branded with a scarlet letter. But don’t worry. According to Dr. Fuhrman avoiding dairy isn’t exactly a bad idea. From Eat to Live:
Dairy is best kept to a minimum. 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 Considering that cheese and butter are the foods with the highest saturated-fat content and the major source of our dioxin exposure, cheese is a particularly foolish choice for obtaining calcium.
So then, I imagine articles like this only confuse the heck out of people. The Associated Press reports that ice cream might help fertility. I wonder what the magic ingredient is, the chunks of cookie dough or the hot fudge? Marilynn Marchione explains:
Researchers found that women who ate two or more low-fat dairy products a day were nearly twice as likely to have trouble conceiving because of lack of ovulation than women who ate less than one serving of such foods a week.

Conversely, women who ate at least one fatty dairy food a day were 27 percent less likely to have this problem.

Even the researchers say women should not make too much of these results, which are based on reports of what women said they ate over many years - not a rigorous, scientific experiment where specific dietary factors could be studied in isolation.

"The idea is not to go crazy and start to have ice cream three times a day," said the lead author, Dr. Jorge Chavarro, a research fellow at Harvard. "But it is certainly possible to have a healthy diet with low saturated fat intake by having one serving of high-fat dairy a day."
Now when you weigh all the risks of consuming dairy, is it really worth it? I’m sure millions of people read a report like this and use it to justify loading up on Double Chocolate Chip Mint, Oreo Snickers Cookie Surprise, or whatever other concoction they’ve come up with now.

A lot of people eat dairy because they believe it’s essential for getting adequate calcium. Not so according to Dr. Fuhrman. In fact, check out these posts for great sources of veggie calcium:
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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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Mary - March 1, 2007 7:51 PM

I read that article yesterday and I was totally appalled. That's all Americans need, move advice to eat crap. We will never learn!

Jess - March 3, 2007 3:58 PM

Wow. Gee. Great to know what our problem has been with not being able to get pregnant. {{snort}}
(The link to the Seattle Times article isn't working. Any ideas?)

Renata - March 18, 2008 8:12 AM

I love cheese but since I found out the truth about milk, I haven't eaten any dairy products for the past 5 months. I Feel so much better.

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