Marketing Milk and Disease by John McDougall, MD
The Dairy Industry is really big business, with sales of
over $11 billion for milk and $16 billion for cheese
annually in the USA alone, so you might expect hard line
marketing from them, but would you expect them to
aggressively sell their products if they were known to be
harmful to people, especially to women and children?
The Dairy Management Inc., whose purpose is to build demand
for dairy products on behalf of America’s 80,000-plus dairy
producers, has just released the Dairy Checkoff 2003 Unified
Marketing Plan (UMP) with a budget of $165.7 million. (1)
The United Marketing Plan explains, “This ongoing program
area (referring to the section Dairy Image/Confidence) aims
to protect and enhance consumer confidence in dairy products
and the dairy industry. A major component involves
conducting and communicating the results of dairy nutrition
research showing the healthfulness of dairy products, as
well as issues and crisis management.” (1)(Most likely, I
fall under the heading of “issues and crisis management.”)
A significant portion of the money from the 2003 Unified
Marketing Plan is specifically targeted to children ages 6
to 12 and their mothers. The goal is “to guide school-age
children to become life-long consumers of dairy products,
2003 activities will target students, parents, educators and
school foodservice professionals.” (1) (Similar words and
intentions have been attributed to the tobacco industry.)
All this marketing is working, too: annual fluid milk
consumption among kids 6 to 12 increased to 28 gallons per
capita, the highest level in 10 years. Children under 18
drink 46% of the milk consumed in the USA.
Realize that when I say milk in this article, I’m also
implicating all dairy products that are made from milk:
non-fat milk, low-fat milk, buttermilk, cheeses, cottage
cheese, yogurt, ice cream, whey, kefir, and butter. All
of them share a similar nutritional profile (plus or
minus the fat, protein, and sugar), and as a result, all
of them contribute to a wide range of health problems.
Will the UMP Inform You of the Contamination?
E. Coli, AIDS and Leukemia Viruses?
Last month I left you with some very disturbing facts
about the contamination of milk with loads of bacteria
and millions of white blood cells (pus cells) which are
there to help fight off the infections found in cows and
milk (see the April 2003 Newsletter found at
Will the 2003 Unified Marketing Plan specify money to
inform you of this upsetting information? You will never
see an advertisement with a famous movie star proudly
wearing a white mustache, properly labeled as containing
300,000 white blood cells and 25,000 bacteria.
Dairy products were the foods most often recalled by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the period
October 1, 1993 through September 30, 1998 because of
contamination with infectious agents, mostly bacteria. (2)
They are commonly tainted with disease-causing bacteria,
such as salmonella, staphylococci, listeria, deadly E. coli
O1573 and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (4) (possibly one
of the agents causing Crohn’s disease; a form of
life-threatening chronic colitis), as well as viruses known
to cause lymphoma and leukemia-like diseases, and immune
deficiency in cattle.
AIDS and Leukemia Viruses
Dairy cattle are infected with bovine immunodeficiency
viruses (BIV) and bovine leukemia viruses (BLV), worldwide.
(Bovine immunodeficiency viruses can also be properly
referred to as bovine AIDS viruses.)
In the United States, results show an average 40% of beef
herds and 64% of dairy herds are infected with BIV. (5)
In Canada (6-7), the infection rate is 70% and in Argentina
(8) the rate is 84% for BLV.
Herds infected with the BIV are usually infected with the
leukemia virus (BLV) also. (5)
Both viruses can cross species lines thus infecting other
animals, like sheep, goats, and chimpanzees â€“ and they
develop disease. (5)
Nationwide and worldwide, leukemia is more common in the
higher dairy consuming populations. (9,10)
An increased incidence of leukemia has been found among
dairy farmers in multiple studies. (11-14)
BIV infection has been reported in a person. (15)
The bovine leukemia virus has been classified in the same
group as the Human T-cell Leukemia/Lymphotropic virus
type 1 (HTLV-1), which is known to cause leukemia and
lymphomas in humans (Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma). (16)
BIV is structurally and genetically closely related to
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type-1 (the virus causing
human AIDS). (17)
Pasteurization kills many types of microorganisms, but it is
not foolproof. There is also concern that pasteurization may
break the viruses into fragments that may become even more
Has it been shown that the bovine AIDS and/or leukemia viruses
will infect you and cause disease? No. Nor has it been proved
that they will not. Compared to the efforts to try to convince
you of the bone-building benefits of milk, almost nothing has
been spent to establish whether or not it is safe to feed your
family dairy products teeming with bovine immunodeficiency and
bovine leukemia viruses (and/or viral fragments). Some countries
take this matter very seriously. For example, in many European
countries, health officials have conducted programs to eradicate
infected herds; Finland’ program has successfully eradicated
BLV from its cattle. (19)
If you live in a region with a high incidence of herd infection
with these viruses you can be pretty sure you will be consuming
dairy products containing whole viruses or fragments of these
viruses, since the milk from many dairy farms is mixed in large
vats at the dairy factory before processing and packaging.
Since the industry will not act responsibly in many countries,
consumers are left with one choice: eliminate all dairy
products from their diet. If eliminating dairy products would
prevent even a small risk of human disease, it would be well
worthwhile, especially since, as you learned in the April 2003
McDougall Newsletter, they are completely unnecessary for
Will the UMP Market the Pain and Suffering Caused Children?
The Dairy Management Inc. has specifically targeted children
in their campaign. (1) This will raise no public concern,
because most people consider cow’s milk the healthiest of all
food choices, especially when it comes to children. Over 25%
of children are overweight in Western countries and cow’s milk,
cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, and sour cream, with all
their fat and calories, contribute greatly to this deadly
epidemic. Many of these overweight children are now developing
type-2 diabetes. However, the most common variety of diabetes
found in children is still type-1 or insulin dependent
The evidence incriminating cow’s milk consumption in the cause
of type-1 diabetes is sufficient to cause the American Academy
of Pediatrics to issue these warnings, “Early exposure of
infants to cow’s milk protein may be an important factor in the
initiation of the beta cell (insulin-producing cells of the
pancreas) destructive process in some individuals.” (20) “The
avoidance of cow’s milk protein for the first several months
of life may reduce the later development of IDDM or delay its
onset in susceptible people.” (20)
Exposure to cow’s milk protein early in life, when the
intestinal tract is immature, sometimes results in the milk
protein entering the blood stream where antibodies to this
foreign substance, cow’s milk, are made by the immune system.
Unfortunately, these same antibodies also attack the insulin-
producing cells of the pancreas. By glassful of milk after
spoonful of ice cream, over a period of about 5 to 7 years,
the child destroys his or her own pancreas â€“ and is left
with a lifelong, life-threatening, handicap: diabetes. The
pancreas is forever destroyed and the child will have to take
insulin shots daily. Complications, such as blindness, kidney
failure, and heart disease will be a real threat during his
or her shortened lifespan.(See my July 2002 McDougall
Newsletter for a discussion of type-1 diabetes).
Not as life-threatening as diabetes, but for some as mentally
and physically distressing, is chronic constipation. As a doctor
who has cared for hundreds of children, I can tell you they suffer
with pain, bleeding, hemorrhoids, and embarrassment. The causal
effects of cowâ€™s milk were clearly demonstrated in a study of 65
severely constipated children published in the New England Journal
of Medicine. (21)
These boys and girls complained of only one bowel movement every
3 to 15 days and many didn’t even respond to strong laxatives
(lactulose and mineral oil). Forty-four of the 65 (68%) found
relief of their constipation when taken off the cow’s milk.
Evidence of inflammation of the bowel was found on biopsy, and
anal fissures and pain were commonly associated with the
constipation “elimination of the cow’s milk solved these problems.”
When cow’s milk was reintroduced into their diet 8 to 12 months
later, all of the children developed constipation within 5 to 10
days. For constipation alone, cow’s milk should be banned from
the School Milk Programs, worldwide.
Rhinitis and Otitis Media
The multitude of snotty-nosed kids frequently visiting the
pediatrician’s office for ear infections is much more obvious
than the constipated crowd, and these problems less devastating
than type-1 diabetes, but these complaints also can be due to
consuming the foreign proteins intended for calves. (22-25)
In addition, these same children are likely to suffer from
gastroesophageal reflux, asthma and/or eczema from their
unnatural habit of drinking cow’s milk.
Diseases of Foreign Protein
Many conditions can be traced back to reactions to cow’s milk.
Milk contains more than 25 different proteins that can induce
adverse reactions in humans. (26) Our immune system perceives
these foreign proteins as alien invaders, like a virus or
bacteria, and launches an attack in response, as in the case
of type-1 diabetes discussed above and many other allergic
and autoimmune diseases.
DISEASES CAUSED BY, OR LINKED TO, DAIRY PROTEINS
General: Loss of appetite, growth retardation.
Canker sores (aphthous stomatitis), irritation of tongue, lips and
mouth, tonsil enlargement, vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD),
Sandifer’s syndrome, peptic ulcer disease, colic, stomach cramps,
abdominal distention, intestinal obstruction, type-1 diabetes.
Bloody stools, colitis, malabsorption, diarrhea, painful defecation,
fecal soiling, infantile colic, chronic constipation, infantile food
protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), Crohn’s disease,
Nasal stuffiness, runny nose, otitis media (inner ear trouble),
sinusitis, wheezing, asthma, and pulmonary infiltrates.
Bone and joint:
Rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lupus,
Beheta’s disease, (possibly psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing
Rashes, atopic dermatitis, eczema, seborrhea, hives (urticaria)
Nervous System (Behavioral):
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, autism, schizophrenia,
irritability, restlessness, hyperactivity, headache, lethargy,
fatigue, “allergic-tension fatigue syndrome,” muscle pain,
mental depression, enuresis (bed-wetting).
Abnormal blood clotting, iron deficiency anemia, low serum
proteins, thrombocytopenia, and eosinophilia.
Nephrotic syndrome, glomerulonephritis, anaphylactic shock and
death, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS or crib or cot death),
injury to the arteries causing arteritis, and eventually,
References are available through the National Library of
Medicine, http://www.nlm.nih.gov – Search cow’s milk and
any of the diseases listed above.
All dairy products contain milk proteins, including skim milk,
yogurt, cheese, and butter, and many butter substitutes. Milk
proteins are listed in packaged food products with a variety of
names, such as milk solids, skim milk powder, casein, caseinates,
whey, and albumin. Milk is also often put into packaged foods and
not declared on the label – this is illegal and punishable by FDA
Even with all of this disease in children the American School Food
Service Association and the dairy industry have developed a School
Milk Pilot Test to demonstrate that kids will drink more milk in
school if certain product enhancements are made. (27)
The result was milk sales increased by an average of 18 percent
and consumption increased by 35 percent when schools provided
flavored milks and other package enhancements. (28)
The UMP Will Try to Deceive You about the Fattening Nature of
“Independent research confirming dairy’s role in weight reduction
is mounting,” said Dr. Greg Miller, senior vice president of nutrition
and scientific affairs for the Dairy Checkoff. (29) “This helps to
position dairy foods as part of the solution to America’s growing
obesity epidemic.” And Miller added, “Informing the public about
dairy’s role in the fight against obesity will help increase
consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt, among other dairy products.”
Shouldn’t the idea of milk acting as an “antiobesity” food
strike you as fundamentally contradictory? After all, the
biologic purpose of cow’s milk is to provide large amounts
of energy and nutrients to grow the young animal from 60 to
600 pounds. So how does milk become a weight loss product in
the 21st century? This idea began with the observation that
underprivileged people, who have poor diets in general, are
often obese, and also consume few dairy products. (30) Some
experiments that followed showed people and animals on calorie-
restricted diets lost a small amount of extra weight when
calcium or dairy foods were part of their diet.
The “antiobesity” effects of dairy are difficult to explain, but
may be due to calcium binding fat in the intestine, preventing its
A thorough search of the literature for properly designed studies
shows only one of 17 randomized studies found weight loss in people
taking calcium pills, and of the nine randomized studies where
fluid milk was added, two showed significant weight gain, and none
showed significant loss. (31)
In one study funded by a grant from the International Dairy Foods
Association, 204 healthy men and women were asked to increase
their intake of skim or 1% milk by three cups a day for 12 weeks;
those consuming the extra milk gained an average of 1.32 pounds
(0.6 Kg). (32) Can you imagine what their weight gain would have
been if they had been asked to add whole milk, cheese, butter,
and ice cream to their diet, instead of skim and low-fat 1% milk?
The result of all this research was well summed up by one of the
dairy industry’s frequent spokespersons at the Dairy Management
Inc. sponsored Symposium: Dairy Product Components and Weight
Regulation, held April 21, 2002 in New Orleans, with this statement,
“In conclusion, the data available from randomized trials of dairy
product or calcium supplementation provide little support for an
effect in reducing body weight or fat mass.” (31)
Yet the consumer will hear from Dr. Miller and the rest of the
industry, eat more dairy products and you will lose weight.
Dairy products are loaded with fats that are easily stored under
your skin as “body fat.” The fats in the cold glass of milk, the
little bite of cheese, and that small bowl of ice cream will move
from your lips to your hips effortlessly. In fact, it moves with
so little effort that the chemical structure of the fat isn’t even
changed. Cow’s milk contains a unique kind of fat with double
bonds located at the C-15 and C-17 position on the fat’s carbon
chain. Examination of a person’s fatty (adipose) tissues following
a biopsy will show the amount of this kind of fat present, which
will be in direct proportion to the amount of dairy products
the person consumes. (33)
All that fat the dairy industry asks us to eat is associated with
higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and breast,
prostate, uterine and colon cancer. Yet, as a marketing scheme,
the dairy industry has teamed up with the National Medical
Association to write articles about “the role of dairy in helping
reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and other serious
health issues.” (34)
The National Medical Association promotes the collective interests
of physicians and patients of African descent. Please explain to me
how this association came about when the vast majority of people of
African descent (80% to 90%) cannot drink milk because of lactose
intolerance; causing them diarrhea, stomach cramps and gas. (35)
Not only is this dairy fat unattractively worn and a health
hazard, but it is also a source of large quantities of
environmental chemicals, like dioxins and DDT, that affect your
health and the health of a mother’s offspring during pregnancy
and nursing. (36) One reason a young girl needs to start thinking
about a healthier diet early is because the accumulation of these
chemicals in her own body fat occurs over her entire lifetime.
The UMP Will Try to Confuse You about Bone Health and Animal Protein
Osteoporosis is caused by several factors; however, the most
important one is diet; especially the amount of animal protein
and acid in the foods we eat. (37-39 0 The high acid foods are
meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and hard cheeses, parmesan cheese
is the most acidic of all foods commonly consumed.” (40)
Once consumed, this food-derived acid must be neutralized in the
body. Fruits and vegetables can do this neutralizing (these foods
are alkaline in nature). However, because the diet of the average
Westerner is so deficient in fruits and vegetables and so high in
acid foods, the primary neutralizer of dietary acid becomes their
bones. The bones dissolve to release alkaline materials.
Worldwide, the highest rates of hip fractures are among populations
that consume the most animal food (including dairy products) like
people from the USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand,
etc. (41,42) The lowest rates are among people who eat little or no
dairy foods (these people are on lower calcium diets) like people
from rural Asia and rural Africa. (41,42)
The basic experiments published in the 1980s clearly show protein
causes bone loss, and calcium offers little or no protection. (43)
Even the foremost scientists hired by the dairy industry know protein
is harmful to the bones. (44) In my April 2003 Newsletter I explained
there was only one properly designed study testing the effects of
fluid milk on the bone health of postmenopausal women, and the results
were: those who received the extra milk for a year lost more bone than
those who didn’t drink the milk. (44) The authors, funded by the
National Dairy Council, explained in their paper, “The protein content
of the milk supplement may have a negative effect on calcium balance,
possibly through an increase in kidney losses of calcium or through a
direct effect on bone resorption.” Trying to explain why those
receiving the milk were in worse calcium balance, they said, “this
may have been due to the average 30 percent increase in protein
intake during milk supplementation.”
Unfortunately, all this damning information does not sit well with
the powerful dairy industry, so they have started the “3-A-Day of
Dairy” program to battle the calcium crisis in America by promoting
milk, cheese and yogurt for “stronger bones” and they have been busy
doing their own research to prove protein is good for the bones.
Regrettably for them, their designing means were just revealed
in the May 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
(49) The article in this journal exposed the way they made the
results show protein is good for the bones. To devise research
that appears to contradict hundreds of articles published over
the past 35 years, you only have to provide sufficient alkaline
material in the diet of the people being studied to neutralize
the acid from the animal foods. This was accomplished by
studying populations that have diets high in neutralizing fruits
and vegetables; the other approach employed was to add a strong
alkali source to the experiment, such as an antacid pill (wafer),
calcium citrate (like Citracal).
Once the acid from the food is neutralized, then any bone building
factors that might be present in meat and dairy can exert their
effects. High protein foods, and especially dairy foods, raise the
levels of a powerful growth-stimulating hormone in the body, called
insulin-like growth factor-1 or IGF-1. Stimulation of bone growth
by this hormone is now being offered as the reason dairy products
build strong bones. It has long been necessary for them to find a
more scientifically supportable explanation, because the bulk of
the research shows the calcium in dairy foods has little or no
benefit for bone health. (50-52)
The UMP Will Not Promote the Fact that IGF-1 is a Powerful
Consumption of animal products increases the levels of
insulin-like growth factor-1 in your body. However, modern
dairy technology has made dairy products an even more potent
source of this growth stimulant. Since 1985, U.S. dairy
farmers have been allowed to inject cows with recombinant bovine
growth hormone (rbGH), a genetically engineered bovine growth
hormone that increases milk production. RbGH treatment produces
an increase in IGF-1 in cow’s milk, by as much as 10-fold. (53,54)
IGF-1 is not destroyed by pasteurization. (53) The overall effect
is that milk seems to raise IGF-1 levels in people more than any
other component of our diet. (55)
The direct evidence of the effects of cow’s milk on IGF-1 levels
in people has been provided by the dairy industry’s own efforts.
Two recent studies, one on adolescent girls and the other on
post-menopausal women, showed increasing milk consumption actually raises
plasma levels of IGF-1 in the person’s body by an average of 10%.
Their take on this is, “this is a beneficial effecT” because IGF-1
stimulates bone growth. But, the actual lasting consequences should
deliver the final deathblow to dairy products: IGF-1 promotes the
growth of cancer. This growth promoter has been strongly linked to
the development of cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon.
(58) Excess IGF-1 stimulates cell proliferation and inhibits cell
death – two activities you definitely don’t want when cancer cells
are involved. (58)
There is more to cancer promotion by dairy foods than IGF-1. Most
dairy products are high in saturated fat – and fat is the number
one suspect when it comes to the cause of most common cancers in
Western societies (for example, breast, prostate, colon, kidney,
pancreas). Recent studies have linked the sugar (lactose) and fat
in milk with ovarian cancer, (59,60) and the calcium in milk
lowers concentrations of a specific form of vitamin D that protects
against prostate cancer, raising men’s overall risk. (61,62)
(See my February 2003 Newsletter for more information on diet and
prostate cancer.) Hormones (estrogens) are also involved in cancers
of reproductive organs, like breast and uterine cancer. There are
several reasons dairy products raise a woman’s hormone levels
causing a variety of hormone-dependent problems from early onset
of menstruation (menarche) to PMS and uterine fibroids – but one
is unique to cow’s milk. Cows are milked even while they are
pregnant. As a result of the pregnancy, cows secrete high levels
of estrogen into their milk. (63)
Will the UMP Advertise that Dairy Is Simply Liquid Meat?
Red meat has become a “dirty word” when it comes to health.
At the opposite end of the spectrum of opinions on food is
cow’s milk – one of the world’S most trusted foods. Do you
remember the “Basic Four Food Groups?” Dairy was usually placed
first in this chart which was hung in every schoolroom (and by
no coincidence the dairy industry also provided the chart).
Dairy products are deficient in iron and beef is deficient in
calcium; both contain too little dietary fiber, essential fat
(linoleic acid), and vitamin C and B3 (niacin) to meet human
nutritional requirements. (64) Heavy consumption of either of
these food groups – loaded with fat and cholesterol – will result
in the diseases common to affluent societies, such as obesity,
heart disease, strokes, type-2 diabetes and cancer, to name
just a few serious problems. (65)
If a patient bargained with me, “I’ll give up only one of the
first two food groups “meat or milk” – hopes of getting well,”
my recommendation for almost all common health problems in
Western society would be, “You’re likely to get the most benefits
if you give up the dairy products.”
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