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The Role of Meat and Dairy in Triggering Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes “arises following the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic β [beta] cells…[and] is most often diagnosed in children and adolescents, usually presenting with a classic trio of symptoms” as their blood sugars spike: excessive thirst, hunger, and urination. They need to go on insulin for the rest of their lives, since their own immune systems attacked and destroyed their ability to produce it. What would cause our body to do such a thing? I examine this in my video, Does Paratuberculosis in Milk Trigger Type 1 Diabetes?

Whatever it is, it has been on the rise around the world, starting after World War 2. “Understanding why and how this produced the current pandemic of childhood diabetes would be an important step toward reversing it.” A plausible guess is “molecular mimicry, whereby a foreign antigen (bacterial or viral) provokes an immune response, which cross-reacts” with a similar-looking protein on our pancreas such that when we attack the bug, our own organ gets caught in the cross-fire. Given this, what pancreatic proteins are type 1 diabetics self-attacking? In the 1980s, a protein was identified that we came to realize in the 1990s looked an awful lot like a certain mycobacterial protein. Mycobacteria are a family of bacteria that cause diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy, and, in one study, all newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic children were found to have immune responses to this mycobacterial protein. This didn’t make any sense as incidence of type 1 diabetes has been going up in the industrialized world, whereas TB and leprosy rates have gone down. However, there is one mycobacterial infection in farm animals that has shot up with the industrialization and globalization of animal agriculture: paratuberculosis (paraTB), which causes Johne’s disease in animals. Paratuberculosis is now recognized as a global problem for the livestock industry.

Weren’t there a dozen or so studies suggesting that “cow’s milk exposure may be an important determinant of subsequent type 1 diabetes” in childhood? Indeed. After putting two and two together, an idea was put forward in 2006: Could mycobacterium paratuberculosis from cattle be a trigger for type 1 diabetes? The idea was compelling enough for researchers put it to the test.

They attempted to test the association of Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP), the full name for the bug, with type 1 diabetes by testing diabetics for the presence of the bacteria in their blood. Lo and behold, most of the diabetic patients tested positive for the bug, compared to only a minority of the healthy control subjects. This evidence of MAP bacteria in the blood of patients with type 1 diabetes “might provide an important foundation in establishing an infectious etiology,” or cause, for type 1 diabetes. “These results also might possibly have implications for countries that have the greatest livestock populations and high incidence of MAP concurrent with the highest numbers of patients with” diabetes, like the United States.

Johne’s is the name of the disease when farm animals get infected by MAP. The reason diabetes researchers chose to look at Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy, is because paratuberculosis is present in more than 50 percent of Sardinian herds. Surpassing that, though, is the U.S. dairy herd. According to a recent national survey, 68 percent of the U.S. dairy herd are infected with MAP, especially those cattle at big, industrial dairies, as you can see at 3:33 in my video. Ninety-five percent of operations with more than 500 cows came up positive. It’s estimated the disease costs the U.S. industry more than a billion dollars a year.

How do people become exposed? “The most important routes of access of MAP to the [human] food chain appear to be contaminated milk, milk products and meat” from infected cattle, sheep, and goats. MAP or MAP DNA has been detected in raw milk, pasteurized milk, infant formula, cheese, ice cream, muscle and organ tissues, and retail meat. We know paraTB bacteria survive pasteurization because Wisconsin researchers bought hundreds of pints of retail milk off store shelves from three of the top U.S. milk-producing states and tested for the presence of viable, meaning living, MAP bacteria. They found that 2.8 percent of the retail milk tested came back positive for live paraTB bacteria, with most brands yielding at least one positive sample. If paraTB does end up being a diabetes trigger, then “these findings indicate that retail milk [in the United States] would need to be considered as a transmission vector.” Why hasn’t the public heard about this research? Perhaps because the industry is not too keen on sharing it. Indeed, according to an article in the Journal of Dairy Science: “Fear of consumer reaction…can impede rational, open discussion of scientific studies.”

Not only is MAP a serious problem for the global livestock industry, but it also may trigger type 1 diabetes, given that paraTB bacteria have been found in the bloodstream of the majority of type 1 diabetics tested who presumably are exposed through the retail milk supply as the bacteria can survive pasteurization. But what about the meat supply? MAP has been found in beef, pork, and chicken. It’s an intestinal bug, and unfortunately, “[f]aecal contamination of the carcass in the abattoir [slaughter plant] is unavoidable…” Then, unless the meat is cooked well-done, it could harbor living MAP.

In terms of meat, “ground beef represents the greatest potential risk for harboring MAP…[as] a significant proportion originates from culled dairy cattle,” who may be culled because they have paratuberculosis. These animals may go straight into the human food chain. There also exists greater prevalence of fecal contamination and lymph nodes in ground meat, and the grinding can force the bacteria deep inside the ground beef burger. As such, “given the weight of evidence and the severity and magnitude of potential human health problems, the precautionary principle suggests that it is time to take actions to limit…human exposure to MAP.” At the very least, we should stop funneling animals known to be infected into the human food supply.

We know that milk exposure is associated with type 1 diabetes, but what about meat? As I discuss in my video Meat Consumption and the Development of Types 1 Diabetes, researchers attempted to tease out the nutritional factors that could help account for the 350-fold variation in type 1 diabetes rates around the world. Why do some parts of the world have rates hundreds of times higher than others? Yes, the more dairy populations ate, the higher their rates of childhood type 1 diabetes, but the same was found for meat, as you can see at 2:07 in my video. This gave “credibility to the speculation that the increasing dietary supply of animal protein after World War II may have contributed to the reported increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes…” Additionally, there was a negative correlation—that is, a protective correlation that you can see at 2:26 in my video—between the intake of grains and type 1 diabetes, which “may fit within the more general context of a lower prevalence of chronic diseases” among those eating more plant-based diets.

What’s more, the increase in meat consumption over time appeared to parallel the increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes. Now, we always need to be cautious about the interpretation of country-by-country comparisons. Just because a country eats a particular way doesn’t mean the individuals who get the disease ate that way. For example, a similar study looking specifically at the diets of children and adolescents between different countries “support[ed] previous research about the importance of cow’s milk and [other] animal products” in causing type 1 diabetes. But, the researchers also found that in countries where they tended to eat the most sugar, kids tended to have lower rates of the disease, as you can see at 3:18 in my video. This finding didn’t reach statistical significance since there were so few countries examined in the study, but, even if it had and even if there were other studies to back it up, there are countless factors that could be going on. Maybe in countries where people ate the least sugar, they also ate the most high fructose corn syrup or something. That’s why you always need to put it to the test. When the diets of people who actually got the disease were analyzed, increased risk of type 1 diabetes was associated with milk, sugar, bread, soda, eggs, and meat consumption.

In Sardinia, where the original link was made between paraTB and type 1 diabetes, a highly “statistically significant dose-response relationship” was found, meaning more meat meant more risk, especially during the first two years of children’s lives. So, “[h]igh meat consumption seems to be an important early in life cofactor for type 1 diabetes development,” although we needed more data.

The latest such study, which followed thousands of mother-child pairs, found that mothers eating meat during breastfeeding was associated with an increased risk of both preclinical and full-blown, clinical type 1 diabetes by the time their children reached age eight. The researchers thought it might be the glycotoxins, the AGEs found in cooked meat, which can be transferred from mother to child through breastfeeding, but they have learned that paratuberculosis bacteria can also be transferred through human breast milk. These bacteria have even been grown from the breast milk of women with Crohn’s disease, another autoimmune disease linked to paraTB bacteria exposure.

For a deeper discussion of other possibilities as to why cow’s milk consumption is linked to this autoimmune destruction of insulin production, see Does Casein in Milk Trigger Type 1 Diabetes? and Does Bovine Insulin in Milk Trigger Type 1 Diabetes?.

If we don’t drink milk, though, what about our bone health? See my videos Long-Term Vegan Bone Health and Is Milk Good for Our Bones?.

The vast majority of cases of diabetes in the United States are type 2, though. Ironically, meat may also play a role there. See my videos Why Is Meat a Risk Factor for Diabetes? and How May Plants Protect Against Diabetes? for more information.

For more on the links between milk and diabetes, see my videos Does Casein in Milk Trigger Type 1 Diabetes? and Does Bovine Insulin in Milk Trigger Diabetes?. What about treating and preventing diabetes through diet? Check out How Not to Die from Diabetes and How to Prevent Prediabetes from Turning Into Diabetes.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

62 responses to “The Role of Meat and Dairy in Triggering Type 1 Diabetes

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  1. “….is considered to be an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy cells and tissues by mistake. People who have type 1 diabetes are more likely to have another autoimmune disorder, as well, such as celiac disease, Graves’ disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

    Another type of autoimmune disorder is Addison’s disease. You may not be that familiar with this condition, but the risk of getting Addison’s is significantly higher in those with type 1 diabetes compared to the general population.”
    – – – – – –

    1. YR,

      I had a dog with Addison’s Disease. Sadly, the pills made him quite snappish. And he needed to go outside often. It was tough to control, and to care for him. And expensive. I wonder if vegan dog food might have made any difference? That was decades ago, and vegan food for dogs wasn’t even on my radar; I thought they needed meat, even though I knew that they were omnivores.

      1. Hello Dr. J, I’ve always rescued animals and felt guilty that I couldn’t afford premium food. Consequently, I have cooked for 6 dogs and 4 cats. The dogs get mostly a whole food, plant based diet from my farm…lots of avocados veggies, and herbs along with lentils and brown rice plus fresh ground linseed and chia. I lost my Weimaraner last year at 14, and I still have a 16 yr old, a 14 yr. old and a little dog of undetermined age but the vet says definitely old. I augment the diet with eggs and meat when I can afford it but the amount is minuscule. For the cats, I add canned sardines in tomato sauce. Maybe I should t feel so guilty?

        1. Cheryl,

          Feel guilty about what? Your dog’s diets sounds wonderful! And your dogs very, very lucky that they came to live with you.

          I have read that cats are obligate carnivores, but that dogs, as omnivores, can survive and even thrive on a vegan diet. I have a little old lame rescue mutt (he came to us lame and with other damage), who is now 16 – 17 yo, and vegan for over a year now. He has the dwindles, and is slowly slipping off the life raft. I can scarcely believe he is still with us.

          And I have made my own vegan dog food, cooked in my Instant Pot (I found decent recipes online), but I’ve only used it as a gravy for vegan kibble, which I buy. I have to puree the food I cook to feed to my toothless mutt, but amazingly enough, he can lap up dry kibble. And I do wonder how he would be now if I’d fed him vegan dog food much earlier.

          Well, I wonder the same thing about myself; I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 50 years now (for environmental and sustainability reasons), but only in the past few years a whole plant food eater.

          1. The last 5 dogs I’ve had have been vegan and all lived relatively long. They have transitioned along with us to a “Starch Solution” style diet. So most of their calories come from potatoes, corn meal, beans, whole grains, and oats. All of which we cook in bulk. They also eat some of my home made dog food containing beans, rice, barley, canned pumpkin, tomato paste, flax meal, collards, and okra. Do they like their food? Meal time is the best time of the day.

            1. That sounds great! I wish I’d known about feeding my dog vegan in early 2000s. He had renal failure and for the last year I made his food from chicken to which I added oats and other grains. I wasn’t a vegan then.

    1. No, but the amount of insulin that patient needs to take can be minimized by eating a whole food plant-based diet. Many books have covered this, such as “The End of Diabetes” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

      1. Sorry Bruce, but this is incorrect. As a Type 1 diabetic, I can confirm that I use less insulin for meat consumption and more when eating plant-based foods. This is due to the carbohydrates contained within the plant-based foods.

  2. The only thing that sucks about reading this is that I could have possibly avoided getting type 1 diabetes at 26. It’s easier to think that it wasn’t a choice. That my parents could have known and done better. Ah.

  3. The title is misleading. All meat/dairy is not the same. There is CAFO meat/dairy and then there is organic pastured meat/dairy. They as different to each other as organic corn is to GMO corn.

    1. Saundra M Augustus,

      Meat is meat. It is pretty much all the same. The health risks of eating it do not reside in the way in which it is raised, though that could add to those risks. The same is true for dairy products.

      And the same is pretty much true for produce but in reverse, where the benefits of eating produce far outweigh the risks if the produce is conventionally raised.

      “ If just half the U.S. population were to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by a single serving a day, an estimated 20,000 cancer cases might be avoided each year. That’s how powerful produce may be. But because the model was using conventional fruits and veggies the pesticide residues on those extra fruits and vegetables might result in ten additional cancer cases. So overall, if half of us ate one more serving, we’d just prevent 19,990 cases of cancer a year. Now this was a paper written by scientists-for-hire paid for by the Alliance for Food and Farming, which is a bunch of conventional produce growers, so they probably exaggerated the benefits and minimized the risks, but I think the bottom-line is sound. We get a tremendous benefit from eating conventional fruits and vegetables that far outweighs whatever tiny bump in risk from the pesticides,”.

      I try to buy organic produce whenever possible, but I don’t worry overly much if I can’t find it. Especially these days.

    2. Saundra

      That claim is ideology and marketing hype not science.

      What happens in countries where all the meat is organic, pasteurised etc? Do they have lower rates of type I diabetes, cancer, heart disease etc?

      And what health did populations eating grass fed beef and dairy in the past enjoy? An article in a McDougall newsletter points out

      “‘Another population that have historically been documented to subsist almost exclusively on a diet derived from grass-fed, free-ranging animals are the largely nomadic Mongolians. John of Plano Carpini who visited the Mongols in the mid-13th century noted:

      [The Mongols] have neither bread nor herbs nor vegetables nor anything else, nothing but meat… They drink mare’s milk in very great quantities if they have it; they also drink the milk of ewes, cows, goats and even camels.28

      Smith reviewed the literature regarding the health of the Mongols from the 13th century and noted that a number of unfavorable cardiovascular risk factors, including obesity and gout were both common disorders. Smith went on to state:

      Cardio-vascular problems, although not then subject to diagnosis, may be suspected as well.29

      In 1925, Kuczynski reported on the nomadic pastoralists of the Kirghiz and Dzungarian Steppes in Central Asia and northern China that were of Mongolian descent. Similar to the observations of the diet of the nomadic Mongols of the 13th century, Kuczynski observed that these nomadic pastoralists subsisted almost exclusively on enormous quantities of meat and milk from grass-fed, free-ranging animals. Other authors have also come to the same conclusions regarding the composition of the diet of the nomadic pastoralists of the Central Asian Steppes. For example, Tayzhanov asserted:

      …the people [of the steppe] lived exclusively on meat, fat and sour milk. Bread was added only later and even then some households did not adopt or consume this food.30

      Similarly, Barfield asserted:

      In good legendary style, the pure Central Asian nomads eat only meat, marrow, and milk products {preferably ferments}. They despise farmers, farming, and grain…31

      These findings suggest that the diet of these nomadic pastoralists of the Central Asian Steppes was almost exclusively animal based, virtually devoid of grains, legumes and refined carbohydrates. This should make these populations also suitable to study the hypothesis that naturally raised animal foods protect against cardiovascular disease. However, not only did Kuczynski observe that these nomadic pastoralists suffered from high rates of obesity and gout similar to the Mongols of the 13th century, Kuczynski’s observations further extended to the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and other dietary related disorders. Kuczynski asserted:

      They get arteriosclerosis in an intense degree and often at an early age as shown by cardiac symptoms, nervous disordes, typical changes of the peripheral vessels, nephrosclerosis and, finally, apoplectic attacks. Even in men thirty-two years old I frequently observed arcus senilis.32

      It was also observed that in the 1960s the prevalence of coronary heart disease among the nomadic pastoralists in Xinjiang in northern China who consumed large quantities of animal fat from grass-fed, free-ranging animals was more than seven times higher than that of other populations both within Xinjiang and throughout China which consumed significantly less animal fat.33 These observations support the suggestion that cardiovascular disease was common among the Mongols of the 13th century who subsisted almost exclusively on a diet based on grass-fed, free-ranging animals.”

      Incidentally, I found this old study quite interesting even though it is not about type 1 diabetes specifically

    1. There is very little to no Crohn’s in farmers. This is believed to be due to living in a rural environment that exposes them to different bacteria that keeps the bad ones in check. City folks have lost out on this benefit. This has made city folks vulnerable to inflammatory illnesses that farmers rarely have. Read Rob Dunn’s book Never Home Alone.

      1. I strongly doubt whether farmers have little or no Crohn’s Disease.

        Do you have any evidence from scientific studies or is this just a claim some guy made in a book?

        1. Tom,

          Jan is onto something here. In my previous email it shows the leading candidate for Type I diabetes cause is the ‘Hygiene Theory’. But hey, there’s no mileage in that for ‘Nutritionfacts’, so lets find a convenient animal-based scapegoat instead. Like Milk ! Lets prove it by quoting a 26 year old study, and selectively eliminate more recent studies which disprove it. Now how many more adherents and books sold (How Not To Die) will that deliver?

          ‘The prevalence of Crohn’s disease was found to be similar to that reported in other studies in the United Kingdom and showed no association with bovine paratuberculosis. There was, however, a univariate association with geographical region. Ulcerative colitis showed univariate associations with age, frequency of contact with cattle and with smoking. The results do not support the hypothesis that *Map* plays a causative role in the aetiology of Crohn’s disease.’

          Now what are going to tell us Tom. The researchers have no credibility, they are just angling for a book contract, they are dairy industry flunkies, they dont know what they are talking about, Dr Greger is smarter than them so ignore them, (as I recall ….’a lot smarter than the pediatricians at the Royal Children’s Hospital’…probably your most nonsensical claim?).

          1. Pete

            As for Greger’s bias, you may have a point. However, that’s very much a ‘pot calling the kettle black’ argument isn’t it? Your own pro-dairy bias shows up in all your posts and no doubt dates all the way back to your days as the marketing manager of the Victorian state dairy council in Australia. Consultants with a long history of links to the (dairy) farm industry like you are not likely to offer dispassionate analyses of issues involving dairy and health. And you don’t. Also, bias or no bias, what do the studies show?

            First, the studies you refer to don’t ‘disprove it’ as you state. All they show is that hydrolysed milk seems to be no better than ordinary milk when it comes to type 1 diabetes risk. Claiming that such studies disprove hypotheses that milk is a risk factor requires an extraordinary leap of logic. You are clearly much more acrobatic in this respect than the rest of us.

            I saw that UK study previously. I actually read it too. That’s how I know you forgot to mention
            some key parts of the paper (assuming you read it)

            ‘The lack of an association between bovine paratuberculosis and Crohn’s disease does not preclude Map from the aetiology of Crohn’s disease. Failure to identify a real association (type II error) may have occurred for several reasons, the most important of which is the low power of the study resulting from the small number of cases……………..
            A further possible explanation for the failure to identify an association between Crohn’s disease and bovine paratuberculosis relates to age at exposure. In cattle, young animals are susceptible to infection with Map whereas adults are relatively resistant. As a result, it is generally accepted that infection with Map occurs within a few months of birth and that animals enter a long subclinical phase before developing clinical signs of paratuberculosis at several years of age. If patients with Crohn’s disease were indeed suffering from human paratuberculosis, it would not be surprising to find a similar age-related resistance in humans [29]. As a result, exposure to Map during childhood may be more important in terms of the subsequent development of Crohn’s disease whereas exposure during adulthood, as determined in the current study, may be less important………………..”

            I would suggest that people read that paper in full rather then simply accepting your interpretation of what it means.

            As for ‘nonsensical statements’, I am pretty sure that you would win any contest in that department.

        2. I read a study that said that but they said the study was so low power that it also didn’t show any association with known risk factors that have already been proven.

          1. That’s the same one that Pete posted if I recall.

            It said that it also failed to detect a link between smoking (a known risk factor) and T1D; The authors suggested that this was again because it was so low-powered.

  4. Why doesn’t everyone who drinks milk or eats meat with MAP get T1D? Is there also a genetic predisposition? (My son, 29, was diagnosed at age 8. I totally blame myself. We are all vegan now, but vegetarian at the time.)

    1. Oh Sarah,

      I’m so sorry you blame yourself for your son’s illness. We can only do the best we can, based on what we know at the time.

      And what we know changes, even as it improves (hopefully) year by year. I remember when my daughter was an infant (she’s now 30, and a hospital nurse), that babies were suddenly supposed to sleep on their stomachs, from previous recommendations that they sleep on their backs, which she definitely preferred. Then, it was their sides. Then back to their backs. I’ve lost track of what it is today.

      And the advice my parents received about how to raise my brother, born profoundly deaf — terrible!! Basically child abuse. My mother confessed, in her 90s, that she thought they’d made a terrible mistake. And they had. But it wasn’t their fault.

      And is your son vegan? I’m nudging my daughter toward eating whole plant foods (her dad did not feed her vegetarian food, and we shared custody), and her husband isn’t vegetarian, but I think she’s moving in that direction. Hooray! Maybe she will be able to influence her co-workers. And even her husband.

      1. Hey Dr. J… I have always considered myself progressive regarding nutrition so I’m frustrated, in hindsight, that I didn’t come across the dairy>Type 1 studies in advance of having children to make an informed decision as to their diets. And, yes, my adult son, my adult daughter, and I are all vegan. As is Hazel the border collie! And my husband is mostly vegan by default: he eats what I prepare!

  5. It’s all about Coca-Cola – that is the number one cause of obesity and all the related diseases – drop pop and live longer.

    1. Matthew,

      A whole lot of us dropped Coca-Cola a very long time ago, but it wasn’t what was causing our problems.

      Interestingly, I didn’t have diabetes symptoms until after I gave up soda.

      I didn’t know that saturated fat is a cause of insulin resistance.

    1. Data from India reveals a significant prevalence of type 1 diabetes (over 10/100,000 population), with certain urban pockets reporting over 30/100,000 population).

  6. Absolutely! Milk protein may play a role in Trigerring type 1 diabetes through a process called molecular mimicry. Higher dairy intake has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer as well.

  7. This article is not accurate for myself. With a reduction in carbs and increase in meat, all of my blood test have improved since I started eating a lower carb diet back in ‘14 -‘15.

    My cholesterol profile has improved, C-reactive protein level is now normal, blood sugar level is now normal, heartburn symptoms are gone (and I no longer take heartburn medication), my weight started at 273 pounds and I currently weight 215 pounds. My slightly high blood pressure is now normal too. Full cardio work-up completed in August 2019 – EKG, Echo, Exercise Echo, Cardio-lite treadmill stress test, calcium heart scan and lipid panel all normal.

    And, not all studies agree with the conclusion of this article.

    American Diabetes Association’s CEO Talks About her Low Carb Diet –

    A carbohydrate-reduced high-protein diet improves HbA1c and liver fat content in weight stable participants with type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial.

    Low-carb diet may reduce diabetes risk independent of weight loss –

    Improvements in Glucose Metabolism and Insulin Sensitivity With a Low-Carbohydrate Diet in Obese Patients With Type 2 Diabetes –

    2019 study – a lower-carb diet was found to be more effective than a conventional diabetes diet for decreasing blood sugar and liver fat in people with type 2 diabetes –

    ** decreased hemoglobin HbA1c by 0.6%, compared to only 0.1% for the conventional diabetes diet

    ** decreased fasting blood sugar by 12.8 mg/dL (0.71 mmol/l), compared to a slight increase for the conventional diabetes diet

    ** decreased liver fat by 2.4%, compared to a slight increase for the conventional diabetes diet

    Fermented dairy products were also associated with reduced risk for heart attacks in Australians (Journal of Nutrition, Oct 2019;149(10):1797-1804)

    A review of 15 prospective studies showed that fermented dairy products were associated with reduced heart attack risk (Eur J Nutr, Dec 2017;56(8):2565-2575)

    Low-Carb Diet May Reverse, Prevent Age-Related Cognitive Decline –

    Low Carb – Maintaining Lean Body Mass –

  8. According to Dr Greger …’We know that milk exposure is associated with type 1 diabetes’. Truth, or just another ‘Nutritionfacts’ milk myth ?
    Firstly, Dr Greger references a 1994 (repeat, 1994) study (that’s scraping the bottom of the scientific barrel). It states ‘Early cow’s milk exposure may be an important determinant of subsequent type I diabetes and may increase the risk approximately 1.5 times’. The theory is that milk proteins cause an immune reaction in susceptible infants. So, is this demonstrated in more recent studies? The answer is no ! Which is why it is ignored (cherry-unpicked?). For example, a recent (2018) study found that hydrolizing milk proteins has no effect on reducing the incidence of type 1 diabetes. That is, milk proteins are not implicated in type I diabetes.

    ‘Some studies suggested that, in infants who are genetically susceptible, early exposure to complex foreign proteins, like those in cow’s milk, may increase the risk for an immune system reaction to beta cells and development of type 1 diabetes. An international group of researchers tested this idea in a study of infants in 15 countries. They enrolled more than 2,000 infants with a known genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (in the gene for human leukocyte antigen, or HLA) and a close relative with the disease. The study was funded in part by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
    ‘The researchers found that weaning with the hydrolyzed formula did not significantly decrease the incidence of type 1 diabetes compared to conventional formula after a median of 11.5 years (8.4% vs 7.6%). The groups didn’t differ even after the researchers adjusted for other factors, such as duration of breastfeeding, duration of formula feeding, sex, and region. Adverse effects also differed little between the groups’.

    “After more than 15 years of effort, this study puts to rest the controversy regarding the potential role of cow’s milk formula in the development of type 1 diabetes,” says Dr. Dorothy Becker at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who led the study in the United States. “This once more shows us that there is no easy way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Accordingly, there is no evidence to revise the current dietary recommendations for infants at high risk for type 1 diabetes.”

    —by Harrison Wein, Ph.D.

    There are a number of hypothesis for the increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes. They include genetic predisposition (, hygiene, viral, vitamin D, and cows vs breast milk. The above quoted study appears to dismiss cow milk formula’s as a cause, with the hygiene theory being the most plausible ( However, it is obviously a highly complex matter. Another theory not included in this overview relates to the cross-species transfer of paratubercolosis via fresh milk. Whilst theoretically possible, the risk appears minimal, and does not coincide with other studies. Moreover, it is eliminated if herds are tested for Johne’s disease, and infants are restricted to powdered, UHT or (in the future) super-pasteurised milk. Particularly in the first three months of life.

    1. So, studies that show that hydrolysed milk formula does not reduce T1D incidence relative to conventional milk formula somehow show that milk formula has nothing to do with T1D risk?

      The above study does not dismiss cows milk as a possible source of T1D risk . All it does is suggest that the intact protein hypothesis may not be the actual causal mechanism. There are other possible mechanisms including the A1 beta casein hypothesis, the lead author of which comments

      “In our paper, we report recent evidence from China where type 1 diabetes was almost unknown in the past. Now, it is increasing rapidly along the developed eastern seaboard. There is published data for two cities.
      In Shanghai, the incidence (new cases) increased at 14.2% compound rate each year between 1997 and 2011. In Zhejiang (a major city south of Shanghai) it increased at 12% percent compound rate per annum between 2007 and 2013. These increases are mirrored by China’s increased per capita dairy consumption from 6kg in 1992 to 18kg in 2006, and with further substantial increases thereafter. There are no other apparent explanations for this rapid rise in Type 1 diabetes in China.”

  9. This is off-topic but might be of interest to some.

    We are all rightly concerned about covid-19 and it’s worth being aware of the scale of the problem including in the US

    However, while we are focussing on this, let’s not forget that other big killer stalking the world and older people in particular – cardiovascular disease (CVD). According to the US CDC, CVD (heart disease and stroke) kills nearly 800,000 people a year …. or, according to my arithmetic, some 2,175 people per day on average.

    Yes, I just watched one of Caldwell Esselstyn’s presentations again while I was enjoying a cup of tea

    1. Tom,

      Covid-19 can cause heart damage, too, so trying to eat heart-healthy us even more important now.

      I am in a state and an industry with so many cases that I have been potentially been exposed to so many people who have tested positive and I really have been socially distancing.

      As I predicted yesterday, grocery stores are going to start closing for a few days at a time.

      They did say that my state has a 5-day stable rate of new cases indicating that we might be flattening the curve faster than they predicted.

      But it is everywhere around me and my poor friend in Paris is seriously living in his restaurant.

      1. Yes, that’s true Deb.. Covid 19 can cause heart damage.

        Not wanting to sound unsympathetic but there are probably worse fates than having to live in a Parisian restaurant for a month or two?

  10. My doctor advised me never to try milk or meat as it would be a trigger. This keeps hurting me considering I really enjoyed eating meat prior to the diagnosis.

  11. I know that the grocery store owners Have to be having a hard time keeping workers for them to start closing.

    Parents hearing that grocery workers started dying had to be a factor.

    1. “Countries that have a widespread vaccination programme involving the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) jab have a coronavirus death rate almost six times lower than nations that do not use it, a study reveals.

      The BCG vaccine was invented a century ago and gives immunity to tuberculosis (TB) — a bacterial infection — but it is known to have other benefits.

      Previous trials discovered people that receive the jab, which costs as little as £30, have improved immune systems and are able to protect themselves from infection. ”

      1. Good point Tom,

        12 months ago there was a shortage of BCG (it is THE intravesical treatment for troublesome bladder cancer), so lets hope its still widely available.
        It is being trialed in Melbourne for health care workers..

        *Hundred-year-old vaccine trialled on Australian healthcare workers:* 4000 healthcare workers are being recruited for a randomised controlled clinical trial of the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, which was widely used to bring tuberculosis under control in the early 20th Century.

        BCG is still given to more than 130 million babies annually. It’s been found “to boost humans’ frontline’ immunity, training it to respond to germs with greater intensity,” according to a statement from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), which is conducting the trial.

        BCG has also been found to significantly reduce sharply reduces the incidence of respiratory infections.

        While the researchers “hope this improved ‘innate’ immunity will provide crucial time to develop and importantly, validate, a specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine”, the initial plan to is to see if it can provide some protection for doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients.

        The trial will take place at multiple sites across Australia, the first being the Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Medical Centre.

        The trial has been endorsed by the World Health Organization.

        The MCRI announcement can be found here . .

        1. Thanks Pete. That is very interesting. I had my BCG jab when I was 10 or 11.

          The article about people with covid 19 presenting as heart attack patients was also interesting. My wife went to the local hospital centre a few days ago to try to see her doctor. While she was there, one of the guards told her that there were more heart attacks than usual now but such patients are not being admitted because all the beds are full of covid 19 patients. That’s certainly consistent with the report you linked.

    1. Life is cheap in China. You are a statistic, an obedient nobody with no rights, and all decisions made for you a ruling oligarchical elite. Which hold all the cards. You remain a nobody unless you ruthlessly and unscrupulously fight your way to becoming one of them.
      You are programmed top accept. The megalomaniac CCP is 100 times more toxic than their Corona virus, and an existential threat to Western freedom and democracy. If they prevail, we all have to learn to obey ….or else.

      1. Pete,

        Yes, there are a few countries that would destroy freedom of speech and other freedoms faster and stronger than any other and, right now, China is one of the worst.

  12. Dr. Popper thinks it is all sensationalism.

    I listened but I think I might disagree because when the doctors all run out of masks and gowns and hospital beds and when the medical people die, I am thinking that would have happened faster.

    When this started, our hospitals were packed full of flu cases already.

    I felt like it made sense to not have the COVID and Flu together when doctors really didn’t have masks.

    I guess there is a logic from their side, too, but I look at NY and their death toll is already unreasonably high to me.

    1. Does anybody know where “Dr” Popper obtained her doctorate?

      The last time I tried to find out, the only thing I could find was a statement she made that it had been obtained by a non traditional alternative course of study. Or something to that effect. That’s usually code for “I bought it from an online diploma mill”‘

      I see that nowadays she is just calling herself Pam Popper although the “dr” remains in the website name

    2. Deb,

      500,000 cases and over 16,500 deaths in the US, already. Sensationalism? I havent listened to her clip, but the ‘Dr’ Poppers of this world consistently join dots they shouldnt, and fail to join dots they should. It does not take a genius to work out what will happen if there is a disease we have no immunity against, there is no effective vaccine, we cant identify because we dont have the testing kits, which is highly contagious, spread by contacted surfaces, sneezing, coughing, which can be carried by many without exhibiting any symptoms, which kills a significant proportion of over 70’s, which is unknowingly carried by children and transmitted to their grandparents (as in Italy), there is no effective treatment (yet), and there is a massive shortage of the one thing that might save lives …..ventilators.
      It means a lot of dead people. Healthy scepticism is one thing. Complete ignorance is another.

      This bat-associated pandemic has been predicted by experts since 2008.
      Having spent $hundreds of millions developing a template vaccine which would could have been rolled out in weeks in a pandemic, not months or years, the NIH inexplicably pulled the plug. Both in the US and Australia.
      The Australian govt appears to be no better.

      This is called false economics. What were those genius’s banking on. That a new carona virus would never, ever again emerge after SARS ? When it was clear it was an inevitability.
      The CIA was also warning the White House in late 2019 a pandemic was underway in Wuhan. The Taiwanese flew into action – and saved thousands of lives., The USA govt did nothing (Trump called it a ‘Democratic conspiracy’ only weeks ago), and the whole nation is now in lockdown, thousands are dead, and the cost is in the $trillions. Poor leadership always ends up costing nations big time.

  13. Dr Popper doesn’t think we should have socially isolated and tried to flatten the curve and considered it a pandemic.

    When I look at Italy having so many doctors die, and we ran out of supplies even with flattening the curve.

    Maybe we didn’t need as many ventilators and maybe could have worked a lot harder on getting antivirals and faster at the convalescent antibody therapy or something, but the concept that we could even have known anything about what would have happened with this novel disease doesn’t even make sense.

    We didn’t have tests. We had to guess what to do based on what we were seeing.

    I think I hate backseat decision making.

    For one thing, NY in February record 131,604 Lab-Confirmed flu cases and their system was also swamped.

    Even with a high degree of social distancing we still have such a high number of dead people and we have a hospital system that is totally flooded in hot spots.

    I guess my whole point is that they didn’t even have tests for it.

    1. My state had the same thing.

      They couldn’t take even ANY COVID patients back in February because the flu patients were loading up the hospitals and that is how it was explained to us and it made sense to me that we didn’t want to have no way to treat any of them.

  14. I was reading that Taiwan was a good model of what to do and they banned travel to China and cruise ships and contained it before community spread and they made it illegal to sell masks outside of their country and mobilized their businesses to make masks.

    It just seems like they had SARS1 and already had a culture that uses masks during sick seasons and we couldn’t have pulled that off the way they did.

    They contained it and there is no way that we could have figured out how to in time because of our culture.

    I think back to when NY was crying racism that Trump didn’t want them to have certain celebrations and they were telling people to do what Sweden is doing and that backfired in NY.

    Or is what we are seeing in NY normal flu and we should have just let it happen.

    I don’t believe they knew what would have happened to just let it happen and they already have so many cases and deaths even with social isolation but they did start like Sweden.

    But population-wise and things like running out of masks, it isn’t going to look the same.

    1. My father had 2 people die on his street since I gave him the respirator.

      What I will say is that Dr. Popper can’t count the people who live because of new drugs being tried or new medical equipment as her list of what would have happened if we hadn’t done this.

      The way we did it bought the time for those processes to happen, so those processes happening can’t count in the backseat analysis.

  15. I guess they can look at the places where the death rate was .9% and see if they were also overrun with flu cases and didn’t have beds and just sent people home.

    The fact that my family knows a sent home and died case who was not very old, I guess we needed the medical people to wrestle all of it out and what I know is that they couldn’t agree and Trump is not a medical person and is letting the medical people around him make the decisions and he will be blamed either for not closing down and then for closing down.

    I am not saying that as a political statement. I am saying the Stanford guy would have told him to just let the people die and that it would be like the flu and Trump DID say that at the beginning and he is being put down for saying what the Stanford guy says now.

    There is no way a politician could have possibly figured it out.

    Taiwan confiscated the mask industry and let the people on the cruise ships fend for themselves. Trump had to face the same questions.

    He waited a lot longer to confiscate the masks and he took in cruise ship people so they wouldn’t just die on the ships.

    Nope, it is too much for politicians when the doctors already can’t even begin to agree and the news media are just plate-spinning vultures circling.

    My state got past politics for a month and a half and that was better.

  16. Yup, Dr. Popper coming back now and basically saying that Trump was right when he was saying it was similar to the flu and we didn’t need to close down is too hard for me to process.

    To me, I have the logic like this woman in this TedTalk who said that people walk around not knowing that they have it for up to 24 days.

    I think I like MedCram and I liked Dr. Greger talking plainly about things and I like that Sweden exists and that my relatives over there are in a different social experiment, but I don’t like the putting one side or the other down for not knowing which logic is better for this.

    Taiwan was able to contain. We can’t compare what we do in response to a community spread to people who have been through it and had a clear concept of what they would do as an entire nation and were small enough and centralized enough in government to successfully contain it.

    There is no way, even now, we could get everybody to wear masks in our country. There is no way we would have had all of the states just give up their power and let the Federal government make all of the decisions. We could not and would not have operated like that.

    Dr. Popper compares us to Sweden, but it will be more likely to compare our response state to state and decide whether we want the Federal government to have the power during pandemics.

    But because we went through this, next time, millions of people will wear masks and it will already be socially acceptable. Next time, the masks might be confiscated before it even arrives here as in Taiwan did. Or we will value our free will and economic freedoms in balance and handle it where there is an acceptable level of deaths like doctors do in the ICU.

  17. Okay, I can’t do the math, but they say that 650,000 people die of influenza-associated respiratory disease each year.

    When I looked up which countries had a high rate of influenza this year, not including the USA,they said:


    So maybe it is those countries that we need to look at versus ones that had moderate flu seasons. I couldn’t find Sweden’s numbers for this year. Last year was a “moderate” flu season.

    So maybe the response to pandemic can afford to be different if it was a light flu season versus NY’s record-breaking one?

    Again, I am not a math person. I am doing logic without math right this second because the logic being given is at war and you have to do pandemic logic before you have the answers. No matter what.

  18. As a type 1 diabetic, this article is dangerous. It is obvious from reading the comment section, that this article has already caused panic in readers. If you or a relative have type 1 diabetes, please do not blame yourself for not living a vegan lifestyle. I read articles on type 1 diabetes every single day, as I hope that one day there will be a cure. However, this undermines a serious disease.

    This article is littered with “Might possibly”, “May”, “Could” etc. This is clickbait jargon with the sole purpose to push an agenda. Statements like “We know that milk exposure is associated with type 1 diabetes” are simply not true. We know that there has been research into the links between milk and type 1 diabetes, however, it has been inconclusive. Otherwise it would be hailed as a breakthrough and the general public would be advised to avoid drinking milk.

    I do eat meat and I avoid drinking milk and limit my dairy intake, as it gives me stomach cramps. However, I have been looking to go vegetarian and I eat in vegan restaurants. Articles like this are why people have negative opinions of veganism. It is very clear that Michael Greger is pushing an agenda and that type 1 diabetes is not his main concern.

    If you are going to tackle topics like type 1 diabetes, please put your bias aside. Unfortunately, nobody knows what causes type 1 diabetes. There hasn’t been a breakthrough since the discovery of insulin. If you want more people to become vegan, spreading misinformation about a disease that is already misunderstood is not the way to go. Articles like this show that it’s not just the meat industry that preys upon the public. Which is a shame, as fear shouldn’t be used to encourage plant-based diets.

    I will still be looking to cut meat out of my diet, but I now have the same trust in the vegan industry, as I do with the meat industry and that is none. Thanks for capitalising on my disease Michael Greger.

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