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The first US dietary guidelines were issued in 1980 and recommended a reduction in saturated fat intake (found primarily in dairy), which was protested by the dairy industry (see also here, here, and here). The dairy industry has sponsored groups that minimize the potential health risks of dairy, using studies designed to mislead many people into thinking saturated fat intake is not harmful (see also here). Dairy industry funding appears to have a significant effect on study outcomes.

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

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

Industrial toxins (see also here, here, here, here, here, and here) 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 (see also here and here), antibiotics, and flame retardant chemicals can also build up in dairy fat. An analysis of the diets of California children found the top food source of lead as well as banned pesticides and dioxins to be dairy products. Intake of dairy appears linked to higher mortality rates.

Overall, then, the health conditions dairy intake appears associated with is wide-ranging, including accelerated aging (see also here, here, and here), being overweight, canker sores, kidney stones (see also here), childhood asthma, constipation (see also here), diabetes (see also here, here, and here), different cancers (see also here, here, here, here), heart disease (see also here), hormonal imbalance, mucus, Parkinson’s disease (see also here), rheumatoid arthritis, rising blood pressure (see also here), skin wrinkling, sudden infant death syndrome, ulcerative colitis, bacterial vaginosis, and multiple sclerosis.  Dairy production may also adversely impact climate change.


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

Topic summary contributed by Randy

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