Disease Proof

Dairy and Weight Loss

I’ve never been a milk drinker. To this day, the expression “cow juice” still haunts my mind. Now, I know it sounds silly, but, the concept of bovine nectar isn’t that farfetched. Here’s what I mean. Check out this excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Okay, granted there are some “big” people out there, but I doubt any of them match the physiology of a baby cow. So why do they drink milk? Or consume dairy? Who knows? Maybe they’re eager to bring about various diseases. Dr. Fuhrman explains in 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.
Now, given all these health risks, why would anyone even entertain the notion that dairy can help you lose weight? Especially since the dairy-weight loss claim was recently pummeled by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The New York Times covered it:
The assertion that there is a link between weight loss and dairy consumption has long been contested by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM], an advocacy and research group that promotes a diet free of animal products.


The group petitioned the F.T.C. in 2005 to argue that the advertisements were misleading. In a May 3 letter to the group, Lydia Parnes, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said Agriculture Department representatives and milk producers and processors had agreed to change the advertisements and related marketing materials “until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss.”

As of Thursday, the National Dairy Council still had a section of its Web site devoted to the weight-loss claim. But the site, along with some of the advertisements, will be changed, said Greg Miller, who is executive vice president of the council and has a doctorate in nutrition.
But, I guess sometimes word doesn’t travel fast enough, because Michael Hecht of The Philadelphia Inquirer still thinks dairy can help you drop those unwanted pounds. Take a look:
There are a few theories as to how calcium and dairy products might be "weight friendly." One theory is that calcium and Vitamin D help regulate fat metabolism by stimulating fatty acid caloric burn and suppressing the body's production of fat.


Calcium in supplement form or dairy might also help to decrease fat absorption in the digestive tract by forming calcium-fatty-acid complexes called "soaps" that accelerate the loss of fat in the stool. Another theory is that extra calcium prevents fat storage by sending a signal that the body no longer needs to store fat.

It appears that low-fat dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese and low-fat milk do help facilitate weight loss as long as total caloric intake is observed.
Not to beat up on Mr. Hecht, but come on! Keep up with the times—no pun intended.
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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Michael - July 31, 2007 11:09 AM

There are no weight-loss foods, your entire diet has to be evaluated to be labeled as healthy. If you eat 10 servings of vegetables a day but still consume tons of cheese and other rich foods, your diet will still be unhealthy, even though it may be a little more healthy than what it was previously.

Cannibal - July 31, 2007 6:20 PM

It's funny too, because so few infants are breastfed for the full minimum of two years that's recommended by the WHO (as well as Dr. F)--as someone who works for the federal WIC program, I can tell you that very few women breastfeed without formula, period. And yet people are so gung-ho on cow's breastmilk (essentially feeding it to their babies as well through formula)--the power of that industry is incredible.

Not to mention that the vitamin D is *added* to milk. Anything could have the same amount if you added it. And of course grams Ca-per-kcal, milk is *not* the best source of calcium--that's why the nutrient dense formula is so important

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