An MD Speaks Out Against Milk Products
by Jerry Vlasak, MD, FACS
Scientific Advisor, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
products, including cheese, yogurt, and anything else made from
the milk of a female cow, when consumed by humans, present a real
and quantifiable health-risk, and include increased incidence of
osteoporosis, breast and prostate cancer, heart and cardiovascular
diseases, kidney disease and diabetes. Throw in increased antibiotic
resistance, hormone derangements, food poisoning and possibly mad-cow
disease, which Alzheimer's has been linked to, and it should be
clear, cow's milk has no place in our diets.
a $180 million-a-year ad campaign, USDA support, and a powerful
lobby, the dairy industry has been unable to stop the downward turn
in milk sales and a growing concern about the risks of milk consumption.
Although per capita milk consumption has fallen 25% since 1970,
Americans continue to consume unhealthy amounts of dairy products
as the federal government continues to promote dairy consumption.
And although milk consumption is down, cheese consumption is up.
What are the Facts about Dairy?
milk contains three main nutrients: sugar (as lactose); fat; and
cholesterol, which are high in unhealthy calories and contribute
to atherosclerosis. These nutrients are great for getting a baby
cow to gain some 400 pounds in its first year of life. They are
deadly for humans when consumed on a regular basis. There is absolutely
no reason for humans, of any age, to drink cow's milk, just like
we don't need dog's milk, or rat's milk, or giraffe's milk.
people still think children need to drink cow's milk to build healthy
bones. Nothing could be further from the truth.
the late Benjamin Spock, M.D., wrote in his best-selling Baby and
Child Care book, cow's milk is not necessary for children and, in
fact, causes health problems in many, including asthma and ear infections.
He also wrote, "I no longer recommend dairy products after the age
of two years. Green leafy vegetables, beans, and fortified orange
juice are healthful calcium sources, and plant-based diets help
keep calcium in the bones and may actually reduce calcium loss via
World Health Organization has consistently recommended 400-500 milligrams
of calcium per day, and that is probably a reasonable amount, even
though our own FDA recommends 1300 milligrams per day for kids.
But the most important thing is not how much calcium kids take in.
What matters is how much they keep in their bones. More on this
percent of the world's population is actually lactose intolerant,
proving that not being able to digest lactose, the sugar in milk
products, is actually the norm.
our National School Lunch Program, milk is the only beverage that
must be offered to children, each and every day. This is despite
widespread knowledge that 70% of blacks, 80% of Asians and 50% of
Hispanics have a genetic intolerance to lactose, while only 15%
of Caucasians do. This represents racism in its most blatant form
on behalf of the US Government against its own citizens, and PCRM
is suing the federal government to stop this practice.
need calcium, not only for building bones but also for managing
day-to-day cellular activities like contracting muscles, maintaining
the nervous system and absorbing vitamin B12. Milk does indeed pack
a fairly high dose of calcium: 300 milligrams in an eight-ounce
glass. Less well known is that dairy products cause calcium to be
lost through the kidneys into the urine, making it useless to the
body. Fortunately, calcium is found in many other foods, including
tofu, turnip greens, black-eyed peas and bok choy, and a diet rich
in vegetables and fruits help the body to retain calcium. That's
what really counts.
is a disease that leads to a million and a half bone fractures a
year, at a cost of $14 billion in health care and lost wages. Most
people have been led to believe that osteoporosis comes from consuming
too little calcium. In reality, exercise is far more important,
as well as the amount of calcium actually retained (not consumed).
Other nutrients like vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc help
build bones, too. Smoking and immoderate alcohol consumption can
weaken bones, and genetic predisposition can play a key role in
cow's milk consumption is not a component in the prevention of weak
bones, Harvard's large and continuing Nurses' Health Study has observed
about 78,000 nurses over 12 years, asking them about their lifelong
milk consumption, monitoring their diets and keeping track of their
bone fractures. Contrary to expectations, this study confirmed that
women who drank two or more glasses of milk a day had a "modest
but significantly increased risk of hip and forearm fracture compared
with those who drank less milk.
one looks at intakes of calcium around the world, one will find
the higher the intakes, the higher the osteoporosis rates. Dairy
products don't protect against osteoporosis.
and Other Diseases
studies now link milk-drinking to prostate cancer. Milk also encourages
iron deficiency by interfering with iron absorption. It may be a
trigger for Type 1 diabetes. And studies have also indicated that
dairy products may contribute to constipation, breast cancer, and
heart disease. As you can see, there are plenty of risks with milk
and no clear benefits.
Else is in Milk?
recent study in the Wall Street Journal says 38% of milk samples
in 10 cities were contaminated with sulfa drugs or other antibiotics.
You may be horrified to learn that the USDA allows milk to contain
from one to one and a half million white blood cells (that's pus)
per milliliter. Bovine Growth Hormone is present in most milk produced
in the U.S., and there have been no long-term studies on this hormone's
effect on humans. The prions responsible for Mad Cow Disease have
also been isolated from cow's milk. Additionally, the EPA is aware
of unsafe levels of dioxin in dairy products, but is sitting on
the report (dioxin is the deadliest substance man has ever created).
you can see, humans have no need to consume cow's milk or dairy
products, and these can be and are harmful to our health. In addition,
dairy cows suffer horribly in confinement, are continuously impregnated
to keep their milk production high, and their babies are taken away
and raised as veal. Do yourself and the animals a favor, and just
say no to dairy products!
Jerry Vlasak is currently engaged in the practice of Trauma Surgery
at a Level II Trauma Center. He is board certified in surgery, and
a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. A graduate of the
University of Texas in Austin, Dr. Vlasak attended medical school
in Houston where he chose a career in surgery. He served a six-year
residency at Harbor- UCLA Medical Center in the Los Angeles area
before establishing a private practice. Dr. Vlasak has also held
a full-time teaching position at a Yale-affiliated hospital in Waterbury,
Connecticut. He has also been a regular advisor to and spokesperson
for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a
group of some 5,000 doctors and 100,000 non-physicians who promote
healthy living through prevention.
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