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The Role of Meat and Dairy Viruses in Cancer

“Nearly 20% of cancer cases arising worldwide can be linked to infectious agents, including viruses.” Seven viruses are now conclusively tied to human cancers, and, as new viruses enter into human populations, the incidence and causes of cancer will likely change accordingly.

The foundation of modern tumor virology was laid more than a century ago with the discovery of a cancer-causing chicken virus, for which a Nobel Prize was awarded. Another Nobel Prize went to the “medical doctor-turned-virologist” who discovered that the HPV virus was causing cervical cancer. In his acceptance speech, he mused that there may be a bovine polyoma virus—a multiple tumor virus in cattle—that could be playing a role in human colon cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer, but no polyoma virus had ever been discovered in meat…until now.

As I discuss in my video The Role of Burger Viruses in Cancer, polyomaviruses are a particular concern—not only because they are known to be carcinogenic, but also because they can survive cooking temperatures. Since a single burger these days can contain meat from “many dozens of animals,” researchers felt “this could present an ideal situation for virus-hunting…” Researchers from the National Cancer Institute purchased meat samples from three separate supermarkets and found three different polyomaviruses in ground beef, as you can see at 1:52 in my video. Now, just because three types of “polyomavirus species are commonly detectable in food-grade ground beef” doesn’t necessarily mean they are causing human disease. What made this Nobel laureate suspect them? Well, for one thing, some people got cancer right where they had been vaccinated for smallpox—a whole bunch of different cancers, in fact. The vaccine had been harvested from the skin of calves, so “it is possible” there could have been some cancer-causing cow virus.

“Many people are exposed to potentially virus-contaminated meat and dairy products” through their diets, but those in the industry, “such as farm workers, butchers, veterinarians, and employees in dairies,” would be even more exposed. Do these groups have higher cancer incidence? Indeed, it now appears to be clear “that workers in the meat industry are at increased risk of developing and dying from cancer.”

Another reason to suspect the involvement of some kind of bovine infectious factor in colorectal cancer is the fact that there appear to be relatively low rates of colorectal cancer in countries where not a lot of beef is eaten. And, when meat consumption suddenly increases, rates shoot up, as you can see at 3:15 in my video. “The only exception is Mongolia where they have low rates of colon cancer and eat a lot of red meat, but there they eat yak.” Maybe yaks don’t harbor the same viruses.

Can’t you just avoid steak tartare? Even steak cooked “medium” may not reach internal temperatures above 70° Celsius, and it takes temperatures higher than that to inactivate some of these viruses, so we would expect viruses to survive both cooking and pasteurization. In fact, researchers followed up with a paper suggesting the consumption of dairy products may “represent one of the main risk factors for the development of breast cancer” in humans. The recent discovery of a larger number of presumably new viruses in the blood, meat, and milk of dairy cows should be investigated, since one might speculate that infectious “agents present in dairy products possess a higher affinity to mammary [breast] cells,” since they came from breast cells. The fact that people with lactose intolerance, who tend to avoid milk and dairy throughout their lives, have lower rates of breast and other cancers could be seen as supporting this concept. Though, there are certainly other reasons dairy may increase cancer risk, such as increasing levels of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1 or adversely affecting our gut microbiome. Or, for that matter, maybe the plant-based milks they’re drinking instead could be protective. That’s the problem with population studies: You can’t tease out cause and effect. It doesn’t matter how many viruses are found in retail beef, pork, and chicken, as you can see at 5:16 in my video, if we can’t connect the dots.  

Can’t we just look for the presence of these viruses within human tumors? Researchers have tried and did find some, but even if you don’t find any, that doesn’t necessarily mean viruses didn’t play a role. There’s a “viral hit-and-run” theory of cancer development that suggests that certain viruses can slip in and out of our DNA to initiate the cancer, but be long gone by the time the tumor matures.

There’s still a lot of work to be done. But, if the link between bovine polyomaviruses and human disease pans out, the National Cancer Institute researchers envision the development of a high potency vaccine. So, just like the HPV vaccine may prevent cervical cancer from unsafe sex, perhaps one day, vaccines may prevent breast and colon cancer from unsafe sirloin.

This reminds me of the story of bovine leukemia virus and breast cancer. For more on that, see:

What about chicken? Check out The Role of Poultry Viruses in Human Cancers and Poultry and Penis Cancer.

One of the problems with eating other animals is that we put ourselves at risk of their diseases. Not once have I diagnosed anyone with Dutch Elm Disease or a really bad case of aphids. See Eating Outside Our Kingdom for more on this concept.

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.

25 responses to “The Role of Meat and Dairy Viruses in Cancer

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  1. Dr Michael Greger. Your blog is absolutely amazing and I can not agree more on what you say. I am a vegan, plant based, non processed, happy and healthy lady :-)
    I am biologically 42 and I naturally look like 32 or less and I think that this is the effect of my healthy lifestyle. I’ve been vegetarian almost since birth and about 4 years ago I became vegan after reading your book how not to die. Thank you

  2. There was a point when I had become vegetarian where it just didn’t make any sense at all to ever even look at hamburger even in photos like the one above. Yuck.

    I never thought I would get over the love of dairy, but one sip of oat milk and my love affair with dairy was over.

    Dunkin Donuts has oat milk now and some Starbucks have it.

    Dairy already started having a death knell years ago before oat milk.

    I believe that it will be decimated again because now there is no real transition at all.

  3. I was looking at the vegan statistics in the UK and they said that nearly 1/4 of all evening meals are vegan or vegetarian.

    That affects EPIC/Oxford in my mind.

    Meaning that about one week out of every month is vegan or vegetarian, plus 400,000 people participated in Veganuary so that would be a whole month of vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinners.

    That would be maybe 180+ vegan or vegetarian meals in a year for the non-vegans.

    That seems like it would require an asterisk in the study of some sort, particularly because many of them may also do Lent which may add another 40 days worth of the vegan or vegetarian meals and that is followed by summer when many people don’t cook as often. They might grill meat and go up in meat then or the might do seasonal produce and smaller meals. That is what an article on the UK said.

    1. That is just the evening meals.

      10% of their children do vegan or vegetarian meals at schools.

      And it is not hard to imagine most breakfasts of oatmeal or cereals or bread almost anywhere around the world.

      When I traveled through Europe it was mostly bread and coffee for breakfast.

      Seems like there could be months worth of vegan and vegetarian meals if you start looking at it from that direction.

      1. I looked up what they eat for lunch and it is tomato soup, vegetable soup, bread and cheese, falafel, fish and chips, sausage or pork pie.

        Over half of the list was vegetarian and it said that 17% of people in the UK eat the same breakfast and lunch every day, so the ones who are doing the soup or falafel or even the bread and cheese may be eating the majority of their meals in the vegan and vegetarian categories even if they put themselves in the meat category.

  4. A lot of the people said that the meat-eaters are likely to eat the English breakfast for breakfast and pot roast on Sundays.

    With toast or fruit or cereal or porridge for breakfast, soup, salad, wrap, small pasta dish, falafel, roll and cheese, a sandwich for lunch as the most popular.

    So that might be 96 meat breakfasts versus 269 vegetarian breakfasts and it might be something like that for lunches and 40% vegetarian dinner meals.

    Seems like the vegetarian meals trounces the meat meals even in the meat groups.

  5. I will not comment on meat consumption, other than to say some studies demonstrate a link with cancer, especially with processed meats. It suggests moderation (or abstinence for those so inclined) is required. It is also true some viruses are linked to cancer.

    However, there is no plausible evidence linking dairy consumption with colorectal cancer or breast cancer. In fact, studies demonstrate dairy is protective:

    1. Colorectal Cancer

    ‘high dietary intake of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) from full-fat dairy foods has been associated with a reduction of colorectal cancer by up to 39% in women’ Consumerlab,

    Women eating at least four servings of high fat dairy foods/day had a 41% lower risk of bowel (colorectal) cancer, than those who ate less than one portion of high-fat dairy a day.

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (vol 82, no 4, pp894-900),

    2. 2016 Systematic Review

    ‘Among cancers, milk and dairy intake was inversely associated with colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, gastric cancer, and breast cancer, and not associated with risk of pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, or lung cancer, while the evidence for prostate cancer risk was inconsistent’.

    ‘Moderate-quality evidence suggests:

    ..favorable associations between:

    intakes of total dairy, low-fat dairy, cheese, and fermented dairy and the risk of stroke;
    intakes of low-fat dairy and milk and the risk of hypertension;
    total dairy and milk consumption and the risk of metabolic syndrome
    total dairy and cheese and the risk of T2Diabetes.
    High- to moderate-quality evidence supports:

    ..neutral associations between the consumption of:

    total dairy, cheese, and yogurt and cardiovascular disease risk
    any form of dairy, except for fermented, and coronary artery disease risk
    regular- and high-fat dairy, milk, and yogurt and stroke risk
    regular- and high-fat dairy, cheese, yogurt, and fermented dairy and hypertension risk
    regular- and high-fat dairy, milk, and fermented dairy and T2 Diabetes risk.

    The most recent evidence suggested that intake of milk and dairy products was associated with reduced risk of childhood obesity. In adults, intake of dairy products was shown to improve body composition and facilitate weight loss during energy restriction. In addition, intake of milk and dairy products was associated with a neutral or reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke. Furthermore, the evidence suggested a beneficial effect of milk and dairy intake on bone mineral density but no association with risk of bone fracture. Among cancers, milk and dairy intake was inversely associated with colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, gastric cancer, and breast cancer, and not associated with risk of pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, or lung cancer, while the evidence for prostate cancer risk was inconsistent. Finally, consumption of milk and dairy products was not associated with all-cause mortality. Calcium-fortified plant-based drinks have been included as an alternative to dairy products in the nutrition recommendations in several countries. However, nutritionally, cow’s milk and plant-based drinks are completely different foods, and an evidence-based conclusion on the health value of the plant-based drinks requires more studies in humans.
    The totality of available scientific evidence supports that intake of milk and dairy products contribute to meet nutrient recommendations, and may protect against the most prevalent chronic diseases, whereas very few adverse effects have been reported.

    Tanja Kongerslev Thorning,1 Anne Raben,1 Tine Tholstrup,1 Sabita S. Soedamah-Muthu,2 Ian Givens,3 and Arne Astrup1,*
    1Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
    3Centre for Food, Nutrition and Health, University of Reading, Reading, UK
    *Arne Astrup, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of S

  6. Tanja Kongerslev Thorning has no conflicts of interest to declare. Anne Raben is recipient of research funding from the Dairy Research Institute, Rosemont, IL, USA and the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.Tine Tholstrup is recipient of research grants from the Danish Dairy Research Foundation and the Dairy Research Institute, Rosemont, IL

    1. Sorry, this is the full list of disclosures……………………..

      Tanja Kongerslev Thorning has no conflicts of interest to declare. Anne Raben is recipient of research funding from the Dairy Research Institute, Rosemont, IL, USA and the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.Tine Tholstrup is recipient of research grants from the Danish Dairy Research Foundation and the Dairy Research Institute, Rosemont, IL. The sponsors had no role in design and conduct of the studies, data collection and analysis, interpretation of the data, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscripts. Sabita S. Soedamah-Muthu received funding from the Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia for meta-analyses on cheese and blood lipids and on dairy and mortality. The sponsors had no role in design and conduct of the meta-analyses, data collection and analysis, interpretation of the data, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscripts. Ian Givens is recipient of research grants from UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK Medical Research Council (MRC), Arla Foods UK, AAK-UK (both in kind), The Barham Benevolent Foundation, Volac UK, DSM Switzerland and Global Dairy Platform. He is a consultant for The Bio-competence Centre of Healthy Dairy Products, Tartu, Estonia, and in the recent past for The Dairy Council (London). Arne Astrup is recipient of research grants from Arla Foods, DK; Danish Dairy Research Foundation; Global Dairy Platform; Danish Agriculture & Food Council; GEIE European Milk Forum, France. He is member of advisory boards for Dutch Beer Knowledge Institute, NL; IKEA, SV; Lucozade Ribena Suntory Ltd, UK; McCain Foods Limited, USA; McDonald’s, USA; Weight Watchers, USA. He is a consultant for Nestlé Research Center, Switzerland; Nongfu Spring Water, China. Astrup receives honoraria as Associate Editor of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and for membership of the Editorial Boards of Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism and Annual Review of Nutrition. He is recipient of travel expenses and/or modest honoraria (<$2,000) for lectures given at meetings supported by corporate sponsors. He received financial support from dairy organisations for attendance at the Eurofed Lipids Congress (20

      1. Tom,

        Seems to me the researchers you quote are far less conflicted in terms of dairy nutrition than ‘instant best selling author’ Dr Greger. Who makes an absolute fortune scaring people into NOT consuming dairy.

        This very much reminds me of the political strategy of consolidating power by creating ‘enemy images’ …..“a culturally influenced, very negative and stereotypical evaluation of the ‘other’

          1. thanks ab, 1. I believe there is as much enslavement and human suffering in this world, as animal suffering.
            2. I agree animals have rights, humans bear the responsibility for their welfare, and intentional animal cruelty is an abomination. I know the fundamentalists wont agree with me, but I dont believe the breeding practices depicted in the ‘yucky’ video fall into this category.
            3. The breeding practices depicted in the video are not ‘natural’, but then again, neither is human artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (stimulating and retrieving multiple mature eggs, fertilizing them with sperm in a dish in a lab, and implanting the embryos in the uterus post fertilization), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), assisted hatching, donor eggs or sperm, or the use of gestational carriers. Where’s all the yucky videos on these practices?
            4. In my lifetime I have had all sorts of medical instruments inserted inside me (top to bottom) for all sorts of reasons. I will spare you the detail. I somehow managed to survive them all. They were ultimately in my best interests.
            5. The alternative to the breeding (and breeding practices described in the video), is the extinction of up to 260 million dairy cows worldwide. Given the choice between extinction of their entire species and having a probe up their alimentary canal once a year, do you seriously believe they would consciously choose extinction? The breeding and milking of cows delivers them the most precious thing of all ….life.
            6. I think it is somewhat misguided, but I have no objection whatsoever to people choosing not to consume milk on the grounds of animal welfare. I love cows, and am glad there are people in the world who care enough to protect them from abuse. My objection is with those who spread nutritional untruths about dairy in an attempt to cultivate a mass ‘movement’ – which inevitably becomes commercialised. Mass persuaders have the ability to monetize their great appeal, and ultimately, this temptation becomes irresistible. If this means accentuating or massaging the message a bit, so be it.
            7. I have a real problem with the undignified slaughter of cows at the completion of their milking life. However the alternative (complete extinction of cows as a species) is even less attractive. I dont have the answer to this. I expect it only exists in a more perfect parallel universe.

            1. Pete Granger, species extinction is exactly what human beings have actually done witth agriculture. We have extinguished the aurochs species in the process of domestication… It is a case of brutal use of living animals for some dietary products. They are not even breeding naturally anymore… Unlike human beings, cows are not voluntarily inserting sex toys into their bodies.

              1. ab,

                rather than answer in detail I will refer you to an article which closely corresponds with my view on the subject:


                I urge you to read it with an open mind.

                I am an animal ‘welfarist’, not ‘abolitionist’ …as described by Pete Singer. I suggest my beliefs are just as important as yours, and (in the circumstances) considerably more ‘balanced’.


        1. Pete

          ‘Seems to me the researchers you quote are far less conflicted in terms of dairy nutrition than ‘instant best selling author’ Dr Greger. Who makes an absolute fortune scaring people into NOT consuming dairy.’

          I really wasn’t aware that Greger is making an absolute fortune at all let alone from scaring people into avoiding dairy. That claim of yours smacks of desperation. Do you have any evidence whatsoever for it?

          However, it’s one way of drawing attention away from the fact that virtually all of the pro-dairy studies seem to be by people who are directly or indirectly associated with the industry.

          1. Tom,

            You are starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist. For you to be correct, literally hundreds of researchers and their studies and meta-analysis, would have to rig their results in favour of dairy. When you consider the scale, size and diversity of these studies this is just an unscientific, completely ridiculous proposition Saturated dairy fat, particularly in combination with MUFA and PUFAs in the diet, is beneficial.
            This is the only conclusion one can make when you examine the overwhelming majority of studies.
            In my reference 2016 meta-analysis, there were 22 cohort studies with a total of 579,832 subjects and 43,118 type 2 diabetes cases. And this is just one of the many studies quoted in the meta-analysis. Are you suggesting all 22 studies were contaminated by Big dairy? That all those studies, and all those researchers are undertaking a conspiracy against those who predominantly fund their studies …the public?
            The infinitely more likely proposition Tom, is that you are extremely biased and have got it horribly wrong.

            Time you realised that Ancel Keyes also got it all wrong. That’s what I discovered 25 years too late. I did the following search this morning.
            There are plenty more studies, but my time is limited.
            All found that dairy lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Of particular interest are the studies below which reference ‘pulse wave velocity’ and dairy consumption. They suggest dairy (without tea) is perhaps more protective than the minimal or non-existent benefit from tea polyphenols !

            *‘The majority of prospective studies and meta-analyses examining the relationship between milk and dairy product consumption and risk of CVD show that milk and dairy products, excluding butter, are not associated with detrimental effects on CVD mortality or risk biomarkers that include serum LDL-cholesterol. In addition, there is increasing evidence that milk and dairy products are associated with lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness. These apparent benefits of milk and dairy foods have been attributed to their unique nutritional composition, and suggest that the elimination of milk and dairy may not be the optimum strategy for CVD risk reduction’. *

            Lovegrove et al, 2016


            *‘Ten cross-sectional studies, two nested case-control studies and twenty-nine cohort studies were included for the analysis’*

            *‘Total dairy food consumption was associated with lower risk of Metabolic Syndrome components, such as hyperglycaemia, elevated blood pressure, hypertriacylglycerolaemia and low HDL- cholesterol. A one-serving/d increment of milk was related to a 12 % lower risk of abdominal obesity, and a one-serving/d increment of yogurt was associated with a 16 % lower risk of hyperglycaemia. These associations were not significantly different by study design, study location or adjustment factors. This meta-analysis showed that specific types of dairy food consumption such as milk and yogurt as well as total dairy food consumption were inversely related to risk of the MetS and its components’. *

            *‘This meta-analysis showed that specific types of dairy food consumption such as milk and yogurt as well as total dairy food consumption were inversely related to risk of the MetS and its components’.*

            *‘Potential mechanisms explaining the beneficial effect of dairy foods such as milk and yogurt on metabolic risk factors have been suggested. Milk and yogurt have several nutrients such as Ca and dairy proteins, which are known to have favourable effects on health.Ca, which is abundant in milk and yogurt, combines with fatty acids and bile acids in the intestine, thereby increasing faecal fat excretion and/or inhibiting fat reabsorption( **51 **). This can result in an improved ratio of HDL-cholesterol:LDL-cholesterol( **52 **). In addition, Ca might affect lipid profiles by regulating intracellular Ca concentration. Well-regulated serum Ca level through the intake of Ca from dairy foods decreases intracellular Ca level and results in the inhibition of fatty acid synthesis and stimulation of lipolysis( **53 **). Milk proteins, such as whey protein and casein, might be responsible for the beneficial effects of dairy foods on blood pressure as they can regulate blood pressure via inhibition of angiotensin I-converting enzyme and, as a result, by reducing angiotensin II, a potent vasoconstrictor( **54 **). In addition, specific amino acids from whey protein, in particular branched-chain amino acids and dairy protein-derived peptides, might play an important role in the regulation of insulinaemia, blood pressure, dyslipidaemia and fat accumulation( **55 **, **56 **). Specifically, yogurt consumption was associated with a lower risk of hyperglycaemia. This phenomenon could be partly explained by the fact that yogurt is a good source of vitamin K2, which is synthesised by bacteria and there only present in fermented dairy foods( **57 **). Vitamin K2 has recently been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes( **58 **). The combined and synergic effects of various nutrients in dairy foods might contribute to favourable effects on the MetS risk factors.*

            *Interestingly, low-fat dairy foods were not significantly linked to risk of the MetS in the subgroup analysis. Low-fat dairy product intake is associated with reduced saturated fat intake, which could be protective against the components of the MetS such as lipid profiles and insulin resistance( **16 **). Possibly, the favourable effect of low-fat dairy foods on the MetS might be diminished because people consuming low-fat dairy foods increased fat or carbohydrate intake from the diet, which may affect metabolic risk factors. A recent clinical study is in-line with our findings. Daily intake of low-fat dairy products for 8 weeks did not improve metabolic risk factors related to the MetS except for a slight decrease in systolic blood pressure in obese subjects( **59 **).*

            Lee et al, 2018


            *‘A linear decrease in pulse wave velocity was observed across increasing intakes of dairy food consumption (ranging from never/rarely to daily dairy food intake). The negative linear relationship between pulse wave velocity and intake of dairy food was independent of demographic variables, other cardiovascular disease risk factors, and nutrition variables. The pattern of results was very similar for pulse pressure, whereas no association between dairy food intake and lipid levels was found. Further intervention studies are needed to ascertain whether dairy food intake may be an appropriate dietary intervention for the attenuation of age-related arterial stiffening and reduction of cardiovascular disease risk’. *

            Crichton et al, 2012


            *‘Augmentation index was 1.8% lower in subjects in the highest quartiles of dairy product intake compared with the lowest (P trend=0.021), whereas in the highest group of milk consumption systolic blood pressure was 10.4 mm Hg lower (P trend=0.033) than in nonmilk consumers after a 22.8-year follow-up. Cross-sectional analyses indicated that across increasing quartiles of butter intake, insulin (P trend=0.011), triacylglycerol (P trend=0.023), total cholesterol (P trend=0.002), and diastolic blood pressure (P trend=0.027) were higher. Across increasing groups of milk intake and quartiles of dairy product intake, glucose (P trend=0.032) and triglyceride concentrations (P trend=0.031) were lower, respectively. The present results confirm that consumption of milk predicts prospective blood pressure, whereas dairy product consumption, excluding butter, is not detrimental to arterial stiffness and metabolic markers. Further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms that underpin these relationships’. *

            Livingstone, 2013


            *‘The intake of total dairy was inversely associated with pulse wave velocity and pulse pressure … from the lowest and to the highest category of dairy intake. Low-fat dairy, fermented dairy and cheese showed an inverse relationship with pulse wave velocity and pulse pressure. These findings suggest a beneficial effect of dairy consumption to reduce arterial stiffness’ *

            Ribeiro, 2018


            *‘Data from this systematic review indicate that the consumption of various forms of dairy products shows either favorable or neutral associations with cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes’.*

            Drouin-Chartier, 2018


            *‘The linear RR (risk reduction) per 1 serving of yogurt/day was 0.77. * *Low-fat yogurt and whole-fat yogurt were inversely associated with the risk of Metabolic Syndrome (low-fat yogurt: 2 study comparisons; RR: 0.72 whole-fat yogurt: 2 study comparisons; RR: 0.81. * *Total milk consumption was inversely associated with the risk of Metabolic Syndrome:* *6 study comparisons; RR: 0.79 * *Whole-fat dairy consumption was not associated with MetS risk. *

            *Our findings suggest that the consumption of total and low-fat dairy products, milk, and yogurt is inversely associated with the risk of Metabolic Syndrome*

            Mena-Sanchez, 2019


            *‘In the multivariable adjusted model, hazard ratios for the Metabolic Syndrome were 0·51 (that is, a ~ 50% risk reduction) for total dairy products, * *0·50 for milk and 0·67 (95 % CI 0·57, 0·78) for yogurt i**n frequent consumers compared with non-consumers. An inverse association between milk/yogurt and low HDL-cholesterol was shown only in women. In conclusion, high consumption of individual dairy products including milk and yogurt as well as total dairy were associated with a reduced risk of incident MetS and individual components in Korean adults’.*

            Kim, et al – 2017


            *‘The results of this study suggest that daily intake of dairy products protects against the development of MetS, particularly abdominal obesity, in middle-aged Koreans’. *

            Shin et al, 2013


            *‘Dairy products contribute important nutrients to our diet, including energy, calcium, protein, and other micro- and macronutrients. However, dairy products can be high in saturated fats, and dietary guidelines generally recommend reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) to reduce coronary artery disease (CAD). Recent studies question the role of SFAs in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and have found that substitution of SFAs in the diet with omega-6 (n-6) polyunsaturated fatty acids abundant in vegetable oils can, in fact, lead to an increased risk of death from CAD and CVD, unless they are balanced with n-3 polyunsaturated fat. Replacing SFAs with carbohydrates with a high glycemic index is also associated with a higher risk of CAD. Paradoxically, observational studies indicate that the consumption of milk or dairy products is inversely related to incidence of CVD. The consumption of dairy products has been suggested to ameliorate characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, which encompasses a cluster of risk factors including dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, increased blood pressure, and abdominal obesity, which together markedly increase the risk of diabetes and CVD. Dairy products, such as cheese, do not exert the negative effects on blood lipids as predicted solely by the content of saturated fat. Calcium and other bioactive components may modify the effects on LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Apart from supplying valuable dairy nutrients, yogurt may also exert beneficial probiotic effects. The consumption of yogurt, and other dairy products, in observational studies is associated with a reduced risk of weight gain and obesity as well as of CVD, and these findings are, in part, supported by randomized trials’. *

            *Astrup et al, 2013 *


            *‘Results from short-term intervention studies on CVD biomarkers have indicated that a diet higher in SF from whole milk and butter increases LDL cholesterol when substituted for carbohydrates or unsaturated fatty acids; however, they may also increase HDL and therefore might not affect or even lower the total cholesterol:HDL cholesterol ratio. The results from the review also indicate that cheese intake lowers LDL cholesterol compared with butter of equal milk fat content’.*

          2. Tom,

            There is a stark difference between the pro-dairy and the pro-vegan camps.
            I am generalising, but those who advocate for dairy also advocate for a plant-based diet. That is, they are presented as complementary components of the food matrix. Conversely, those who advocate for a vegan diet argue against the inclusion of dairy. Making up a whole bunch of fundamentalist nutritional untruths to try and convince the public that their God (sorry, diet) is sacrosanct, and the one and only. This is science being supplanted by mindless, quasi-religious brainwashing.
            I can assure you, if researchers overwhelmingly discover that dairy is beneficial, they will become advocates for dairy. As one would fully expect. This is what is occuring, not the conspiracy you have dreamed up.
            As to my disparaging ‘lolly water’ dig, here’s a recent example (there are many others) demonstrating why cow’s milk is supreme. And why embracing vegan fundamentalism can be a risky and very stupid business:

            *…..’The parents of a baby girl who put their daughter on a strict vegan diet, starving her of vital nutrients to the point she developed cerebral palsy, won’t face jail despite a judge finding they failed in their basic parental duties.*

            *The child was one when in **August 2018 she was taken to a Victorian hospital where she was found to have bruising over her body, was cool to the touch, lethargic and had dark-coloured blood in her nappy.** Doctors found a level of malnutrition akin to children in famine-hit countries.*

            *From when the baby was four months old and her mother’s breast milk supply waned, her parents shunned medical advice to supplement their daughter’s diet with formula and instead fed her coconut milk, fruit juices, smoothies, plant-based foods and formula the father made.*

            *A County Court judge on Monday said the girl, now aged three, faced daily struggles in her cognitive development, physical functioning and communication, and found her life’s course was altered by her parents’ actions.*

            *The judge said she would normally jail the parents, if not that they were best placed to care for their daughter and address her high needs, although it was ironic those demands were attributable to their actions. The judge found the girl was now well cared for by her mother and now has a healthy and nutritious diet’.*

            September 28, 2020


    2. Hi Tom,

      1. Applying the same principle, I can even more validly argue we dismiss any claims made by Dr Greger (who is a GP by the way) on meat and dairy because he is a committed vegan and best selling author on the subject. As much as you try, you can’t have it both ways Tom. Sooner or later you are going to realise that you demonstrate far more scientific bias than the dairy industry.

      2. The dairy industry did not support this study.

      3. The dairy industry (just like the vegan/vegetarian industry) is completely entitled to fund any research which supports its contention that dairy is protective. I am still waiting for research from the alternative milk marketers that demonstrate their product is more beneficial than cows milk. They cannot, because (by comparison) it is (sometimes fatal) lolly water.

      4. There is no evidence the researchers in this instance were anything other than objective. If they were not, you or anyone else can challenge their findings by writing to the publisher. Or publicly outing them. Just as Lorenz et al (2007) was publicly outed by other researchers when falsely claiming milk irreversibly bound tea polyphenols.However, dismissing ALL the findings of a meta-analysis on the basis of your highly exaggerated claims of scientific bias will not sway them.

      5. If these researchers were dairy industry lackeys, why would they report the apparent link between dairy and prostate cancer? They accurately reported the scientific evidence.

      1. All Greger does is report studies from people not connected with the dairy industry.

        Sure he is biased like everyone else, but he’s not dependent upon continuing industry grant funding to maintain his position, gain tenure or continue research.

        Personally, I see no need to drink milks of any kind.

        As for harm, I’m not aware that plant milks have been shown to be as harmful as dairy. Remember this one from Harvard?

        ‘For dairy lovers, the good news is that various foods including full-fat dairy milk, yogurt, butter, cheeses, and cream were not found to increase heart disease risk (compared to a background diet that typically contains high amounts of refined carbohydrates and sugars). However, it is important to note that these foods were not found to decrease risk either.

        What did predict risk of cardiovascular disease was “fat swapping.” When dairy fat was replaced with the same number of calories from vegetable fat or polyunsaturated fat, the risk of cardiovascular disease dropped by 10% and 24%, respectively. Furthermore, replacing the same number of calories from dairy fat with healthful carbohydrates from whole grains was associated with a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

        Replacing dairy fat with other types of animal fat, such as from red meat, predicted a modest 6% higher risk of cardiovascular disease.’

        I suppose you could drink no or low fat milk if you wanted to reduce risk though.

  7. Greetings from Germany!
    My mother has been suffering from lipedema for a long time now and just can’t get rid of it. Some resources suggest a ketogenic diet but just as many people are sceptical about keto. Sadly I couldn’t find any information on lipedema on nutrition facts. That’s why I’d like to suggest it as a topic for future blog posts and/or videos.

    Thank you for all the time and effort that all of you wonderful people have already invested in this brilliant website.

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