A short quiz for the “milk is bad for you” crowd

A guy I hang around with is convinced that milk is about the worst thing a person can ingest, save for red meat, which he sees as a virtual guarantee of colon cancer (there is probably an association, but he takes the issue to an extreme). Of course, this same fellow is a “truther” (thinks the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terror attacks) and has paranoid tendencies across the board. And when he says milk is bad, he’s not referring to the hormones people are concerned about; he means milk per se, at least cow’s milk and other milk derived from animals.

Many years ago, I read in USA Today or some other lay rag that a significant number of people — and I’m not sure how many were medical types — were confident that drinking milk could lead to Type I diabetes. I never followed up on this idea because I assumed it was a bunch of bullshit, much like the notion that artificial sweeteners will poison and kill you. (This idea is all over the Web, no doubt the result of propaganda cranked out by the sugar industry, but you won’t find and formal research supporting this claim.)

So here is a brief quiz for those who believe that milk, a rich source of various essential nutrients, is categorically unhealthy:

1. When infant mammals suckle at the teat of their mothers, what substance do they ingest?

a) Mountain Dew

b) Tang

c) Absolut vodka

d) milk

e) lighter fluid

Really, this should put the issue to rest. But common sense and strong evidence have never been sufficient to disabuse cranks of their noisy convictions.

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  1. #1 by Brian Erb (@erbbrian) on July 19, 2012 - 10:16 am

    Loren Cordain:

    Additionally dairy products and milk in particular (whether whole, skimmed or fermented) is highly insulinotropic and has been demonstrated to cause insulin resistance in children while simultaneously increasing free IGF-1, a risk factor for many epithelial cell cancers (breast, colon and prostate).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=cordain%20l%5Bau%5D

    Milk, of course, is formulated by natural selection to make cows grow. There is more to milk than calcium. People are probably on a continuum of how optimal this novel food in evolutionary terms is to their health. Casein, lactose, and the hormones in milk might not be optimal for most adults.

    “artificial sweeteners will poison and kill you”

    Some are less then ideal and others are better:

    http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm#safety_summary

  2. #2 by Brian Erb (@erbbrian) on July 19, 2012 - 10:22 am

    Cordain addresses dairy at length in this interview. He is a tenured faculty member here at CSU with peer-reviewed publications in PubMed – not a crank.

    I am increasingly compelled by the science arguing for much lower carb intakes (especially for sugar, and even for athletes) that formerly recommended (largely, obviously, owing to our giant grain industry) and against the “food pyramid” that calls dairy, something humans didn’t eat for most of our evolutionary history, a required food group.

  3. #3 by kemibe on July 20, 2012 - 10:40 am

    The food pyramid is bullshit, and is continually being revised (a stand-alone testament to its bullshittery). I agree that simple sugars are not a good choice even for non-insulin-resistent specimens, except possibly in the case of post-workout replacement (even then I opt for the diluted G50-type beverages). But I have yet to see anything that would dissuade me from drinking (skim, always) milk. I appreciate the fact that someone who reads this shitblog has actually heard of, and can comprehend, PubMed (PLoS is great also).

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