In the population study “Milk Intake and Risk of Mortality and Fractures in Women and Men,” researchers following more than 100,000 men and women in Sweden for about 20 years found significantly higher rates of bone and hip fractures, heart disease, cancer, and premature death in general for women who drank more milk. Three glasses a day was associated with nearly twice the risk of dying early. Men with higher milk consumption were also recorded having a higher risk of premature death. A meta-analysis of all such cohort studies, however, failed to find a significant relationship between milk and mortality. Findings of a 2015 meta-analysis found that men with high intakes of dairy products—milk, low-fat milk, and cheese, but not nondairy sources of calcium—did appear to increase total prostate cancer risk.
All animal-based foods contain sex steroid hormones, such as estrogen. These hormones naturally found even in organic cow’s milk may play a role in the various associations identified between dairy products and hormone-related conditions, including acne, diminished male reproductive potential, and premature puberty. The hormone content in milk may explain why women who drink it appear to have five times the rate of twin births compared with women who do not drink milk.
When it comes to cancer, leading experts have expressed concern that the hormones in dairy and other growth factors could potentially stimulate the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors. Experimental evidence also suggests that dairy may also promote the conversion of precancerous lesions or mutated cells into invasive cancers in vitro.
Image Credit: Amanda Rae. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Dairy
All Videos for Dairy
How the Dairy Industry Designs Misleading Studies
How the meat and dairy industries design studies showing their products have neutral or even beneficial effects on cholesterol and inflammation.
Is Cheese Healthy? Compared to What?
Dairy is compared to other foods for cardiovascular (heart attack and stroke) risk.
Is Cheese Really Bad for You?
What about the recent studies that show cheese has neutral or positive health effects?
The Best Diet for Upset Stomach
What to avoid and what to eat to help with dyspepsia.
Benefits of a Macrobiotic Diet for Diabetes
What happens when you add massive amounts of carbs to the daily diet of type 2 diabetics in the form of whole grains?
Pros and Cons of a Macrobiotic Diet
What happens when you put diabetics on a diet composed of largely whole grains, vegetables, and beans?
Best Food for Periodontal Disease & Gingivitis
What would happen if you stopped brushing your teeth but ate healthier?
Does Adding Milk Block the Benefits of Coffee?
How to choose the healthiest coffee, and the effects of adding milk vs. soymilk.
A Workplace Wellness Program that Works
The return on investment for educating employees about healthy eating and living.
The Weight Loss Program that Got Better with Time
The most well-published community-based lifestyle intervention in the medical literature is also one of the most effective.
Are Apples the Best Food for a Better Sex Life in Women?
Addyi (flibanserin), the drug marketed for “hypoactive sexual desire disorder,” is ineffective and unsafe. What about dietary approaches for female sexual dysfunction?
Is Organic Meat Less Carcinogenic?
Researchers tested 76 samples of different kinds of meat, both organic and conventional, for 33 different carcinogens.