Friday, April 20, 2012

Want Milk?

Contrary to popular opinion, I am not a fan of dairy products. Perhaps it is because of my own lactose intolerance or because of the several books and studies I have read.

One book with the heady title, The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health, written by  T. Colin Campbell, a PhD long-time nutrition researcher, particularly gave me pause for thought. In his highly controversial book, Dr. Campbell puts forth the argument, supported by some data, that dairy products and their derivatives are a major culprit in the development of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. I'm not sure I accept all the books arguments or conclusions, but I'm also not ready to dismiss them out of hand.

Therefore, when it comes to milk products and their protein derivatives like casein, I have been urging caution. Therefore, imagine my surprise when today I read a banner on a medical website that declares Low Fat Dairy Skims Off Stroke Risk. First, the study done in Sweden, one of world's five highest countries that consume dairy products, was an observational study. In other words, after the fact, they looked at what happened. Second, all the study showed was a reduced risk of stroke from eating low-fat versus full fat dairy. It should not be a surprise that consuming less saturated fat will cause less strokes. The study did not compare dairy to non-dairy eaters.

So after careful review of two descriptions of the study (no access to actual study), I surmise that the results are basically meaningless (nothing new) and no conclusions can be drawn without further study. That's also the stated conclusion of the study's authors.

So for the moment, I continue to recommend against dairy products. But,if you have to eat them, then choose the low fat variety such as yogurts, Greek yogurts, low-fat organic (whatever you do, don't drink conventional milk, which is full of hormones), low fat organic cream cheese, etc.

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