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The first U.S. dietary guidelines were issued in 1980 and recommended limits on saturated fat intake (found primarily in dairy), which was vehemently fought by the dairy industry. The dairy industry has sponsored groups that minimize the potential health risks of dairy consumption, using misleading studies that confuse the public into thinking saturated fat intake is not harmful. No studies financed completely by the industry had any unfavorable findings.

Dairy products are not only high in saturated fat, but they are low in a number of beneficial dietary components such antioxidants, ergothioneine (an amino acid that may help protect our cells) and fiber, a nutrient that 97% of Americans are deficient in. Dairy products also contain cholesterol, trans fats, endotoxins, Neu5Ge and choline, all of which may raise the risk of inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and increased overall mortality risk.

Hormones in Milk

The hormones in dairy products (including skim milk) may promote acne and also contribute to risk of premature puberty, multiple pregnancies (which are riskier to both mother and children), breast cancer, prostate cancer, other hormone-dependent cancers, declining sperm counts, excess estrogen and heart disease.

Pesticides and Dioxins in Dairy

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

Dairy intake is linked with a wide-ranging group of ailments including accelerated aging, being overweight, canker sores, kidney stones, childhood asthma, constipation, prediabetes and diabetes, prostate and other cancers, heart disease, imbalanced hormones, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, rising blood pressure, skin wrinkling, sudden infant death syndrome, ulcerative colitis, bacterial vaginosis and multiple sclerosis. 

Dairy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dairy intake may also impact global warming since livestock are one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.


Image Credit: Amanda Rae. This image has been modified.

Topic summary contributed by Randy

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