The first US dietary guidelines were issued in 1980 and recommended against saturated fat intake (found primarily in dairy), which was highly protested by the dairy industry. The dairy industry has sponsored groups that minimize the potential health risks of dairy, using misleading studies that confuse the public into thinking saturated fat intake is not harmful. Dairy industry funding may be so influential that no studies financed completely by the industry had any unfavorable findings.

Dairy products are not only high in saturated fat, but they are low in a number of beneficial dietary components such antioxidants, ergothioneine, an amino acid that may help protect our cells; and fiber, a nutrient that 97% of Americans are deficient in. Along with saturated fat, dairy products also contain cholesterol, trans fats, endotoxins, Neu5Gc, choline, all of which may raise the risk of inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and increased overall mortality risk.

The hormones in dairy products (including skim milk) may not only promote acne, but also contribute to risk of premature puberty, multiple pregnancies (which are riskier to both mother and children), breast cancer, prostate cancer, other hormone-dependent cancers, declining sperm counts, excess estrogen, and heart disease.

Industrial toxins such as dioxins, flame-retardant chemicals, PCBs, and perfluorochemicals in the dairy supply may in part account for the relationship between dairy intake and increased risk of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, lower testosterone levels, and obesity. Pesticides and antibiotics can also build up in dairy fat. An analysis of the diets of California children found the top food source of lead as well as banned pesticides and dioxins to be dairy products.

Overall, then, the health conditions dairy intake appears associated with is wide-ranging, including accelerated aging, being overweight, canker sores, kidney stones, childhood asthma, constipation, prediabetes and diabetes, prostate and other cancers, heart disease, imbalanced hormones, mucus, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, rising blood pressure, skin wrinkling, sudden infant death syndrome, ulcerative colitis, bacterial vaginosis, and Multiple Sclerosis.  Dairy intake may also impact global warming. Dairy production contributes a large amount of greenhouse gases.

Topic summary contributed by Randy.