The Effects of Hormones in Dairy Milk on Cancer

The Effects of Hormones in Dairy Milk on Cancer
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What are the effects of the female sex hormones in milk on men, women, and children?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

All food of animal origin contains hormones, but most of our dietary exposure to hormones comes from dairy products. By quantity, it’s mostly prolactin, corticosteroids, and progesterone, but there are also a bunch of estrogens, which then concentrate further when you make other dairy products—like five times more concentrated in cream and cheese, ten times more hormone concentration in butter.

So when it comes to exposure to steroid hormones in the food supply, about three-quarters of our exposure to ingested female sex steroids comes from dairy, with the rest evenly split between eggs and meat and fish. Eggs contribute about as much as all meat put together, which makes a certain amount of sense, since it comes straight from a hen’s ovary. Among the various types of meat, you get as much from white meat—fish and poultry—as you do from pork and beef. And this is just from natural hormones, not added hormone injections like bovine growth hormone. So, for these it doesn’t matter if the meat’s organic. Animals produce hormones because they’re animals, which understandably ends up in animal products.

But only about half of people surveyed seemed to know that, lacking basic knowledge, like not realizing what milk is for—cows only give milk after having a calf. So, these researchers suggested we ought to inform the public about dairy production practices, to which one Journal of Dairy Science respondent wrote in ya know, telling the public all our new technologies, like transgenic animals, meaning genetically engineered farm animals, or taking away that calf right away so we can have more of the milk, or not letting cows see grass, may not actually result in high rates of public approval; so, ixnay on the educationay.

One thing with potential public health implications that the public may not know about is their exposure to estrogen through intake of commercial milk produced from pregnant cows. “Modern genetically improved dairy cows, such as the Holstein”—your standard black and white cow—can get reimpregnated after giving birth, and lactate throughout almost her entire next pregnancy, which means that “commercial cow’s milk” these days contains “large amounts of” pregnancy hormones, like “estrogens and progesterone.”

Here’s the estrogen levels in milk during the first eight months of a pregnant cow’s nine-month gestation: hormone levels shoot up more than 20-fold. But even so, we’re still only talking about a millionth of a gram per quart, easily 10 to 20 times less estrogen hormones than what you’d find in a birth control pill. So, would it really have an effect on human hormone levels drinking it?

Here are the average levels of three different estrogens and a progesterone metabolite flowing through the bodies of seven men, who then proceeded to drink about a liter of milk. Within hours, their hormone levels shot up.

Here are the average levels of these female sex steroids flowing through the bodies of six schoolchildren, average age eight, before drinking about two cups of milk, and then after. Within hours, their levels shot up, tripling or quadrupling their baseline hormone levels. So, one can imagine the effects milk might have on men or prepubescent children.

But what about women? Presumably they’d have such high levels of estrogens in their body in the first place. Well, not all women. What about postmenopausal women and endometrial cancer, for example? Estrogens have a central role in the development of endometrial cancer, which is a cancer of the lining of the uterus. Milk and dairy products are a source of steroid hormones and growth factors that might have these kinds of effects. So, Harvard researchers followed tens of thousands of women—and their dairy consumption—for decades, and found a significantly higher risk of endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women who consumed more dairy.

What about dietary exposure to hormones and breast cancer? Unfortunately, “understanding the role of dietary hormone exposure in the population burden of breast cancer is not possible at this time.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Mehrshad Rajabi via unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

All food of animal origin contains hormones, but most of our dietary exposure to hormones comes from dairy products. By quantity, it’s mostly prolactin, corticosteroids, and progesterone, but there are also a bunch of estrogens, which then concentrate further when you make other dairy products—like five times more concentrated in cream and cheese, ten times more hormone concentration in butter.

So when it comes to exposure to steroid hormones in the food supply, about three-quarters of our exposure to ingested female sex steroids comes from dairy, with the rest evenly split between eggs and meat and fish. Eggs contribute about as much as all meat put together, which makes a certain amount of sense, since it comes straight from a hen’s ovary. Among the various types of meat, you get as much from white meat—fish and poultry—as you do from pork and beef. And this is just from natural hormones, not added hormone injections like bovine growth hormone. So, for these it doesn’t matter if the meat’s organic. Animals produce hormones because they’re animals, which understandably ends up in animal products.

But only about half of people surveyed seemed to know that, lacking basic knowledge, like not realizing what milk is for—cows only give milk after having a calf. So, these researchers suggested we ought to inform the public about dairy production practices, to which one Journal of Dairy Science respondent wrote in ya know, telling the public all our new technologies, like transgenic animals, meaning genetically engineered farm animals, or taking away that calf right away so we can have more of the milk, or not letting cows see grass, may not actually result in high rates of public approval; so, ixnay on the educationay.

One thing with potential public health implications that the public may not know about is their exposure to estrogen through intake of commercial milk produced from pregnant cows. “Modern genetically improved dairy cows, such as the Holstein”—your standard black and white cow—can get reimpregnated after giving birth, and lactate throughout almost her entire next pregnancy, which means that “commercial cow’s milk” these days contains “large amounts of” pregnancy hormones, like “estrogens and progesterone.”

Here’s the estrogen levels in milk during the first eight months of a pregnant cow’s nine-month gestation: hormone levels shoot up more than 20-fold. But even so, we’re still only talking about a millionth of a gram per quart, easily 10 to 20 times less estrogen hormones than what you’d find in a birth control pill. So, would it really have an effect on human hormone levels drinking it?

Here are the average levels of three different estrogens and a progesterone metabolite flowing through the bodies of seven men, who then proceeded to drink about a liter of milk. Within hours, their hormone levels shot up.

Here are the average levels of these female sex steroids flowing through the bodies of six schoolchildren, average age eight, before drinking about two cups of milk, and then after. Within hours, their levels shot up, tripling or quadrupling their baseline hormone levels. So, one can imagine the effects milk might have on men or prepubescent children.

But what about women? Presumably they’d have such high levels of estrogens in their body in the first place. Well, not all women. What about postmenopausal women and endometrial cancer, for example? Estrogens have a central role in the development of endometrial cancer, which is a cancer of the lining of the uterus. Milk and dairy products are a source of steroid hormones and growth factors that might have these kinds of effects. So, Harvard researchers followed tens of thousands of women—and their dairy consumption—for decades, and found a significantly higher risk of endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women who consumed more dairy.

What about dietary exposure to hormones and breast cancer? Unfortunately, “understanding the role of dietary hormone exposure in the population burden of breast cancer is not possible at this time.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Mehrshad Rajabi via unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

For more on the relationship between cancer and dairy, see:

And I talk about the effect of dairy estrogen on men in Dairy Estrogen & Male Fertility.

What about the phytoestrogens in soy? See:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

137 responses to “The Effects of Hormones in Dairy Milk on Cancer

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  1. Thank you for this one.

    I appreciate it so much.

    I am still trying to understand hormones and appreciate that post-menopausal women were included as a category.

    I wish I was at a Q & A so I could shoot my hand up and ask about this, which is what Dr. Barnard quotes for milk and cheese and Breast Cancer.

    https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/1/3/e000422/4555132

    No matter what, those animals being abused is enough reason to not drink it.

    1. Dr Barnard said:

      Researchers looked at the dietary intakes of 1,941 women diagnosed with breast cancer and found that those who consumed the most American, cheddar, and cream cheeses had a 53 percent increased risk for breast cancer. Those with ER- breast cancer (a designation of estrogen receptor status) who drank the most fluid milk had a 58 percent increased risk for breast cancer. Components in dairy such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and other growth hormones may be among the reasons for the increased risk for cancer.

      1. Okay, my brain just kicked in and started flashing:

        T. Colin Campbell
        T. Colin Campbell
        T. Colin Campbell

        IGF-1
        IGF-1
        IGF-1

        Bovine Leukemia Virus
        Bovine Leukemia Virus
        Bovine Leukemia Virus

        So I guess we don’t know that it is related to estrogen, but if they duplicate that study it is a nail in the coffin to dairy for women.

          1. Pesticides in milk
            Pesticides in milk
            Pesticides in milk

            In Israel, 3 pesticides were found in dairy products in concentrations up to 100 times before the use of these pesticides was outlawed in Israel in 1986 and the levels of breast cancer mortality rates began decreasing after that ban. (Obviously, they don’t know if it was related to that, but the decreases came after the ban.

              1. Is it that BLV is related to Breast Cancer and MAP might be related to something like lung cancer?

                I got some of it, which means that I am learning something, but now it is only 999,999 miles above my head.

                They are calling the mycobacteria, related Actinomycetales, and the phages within them as the core cause for many cancers.

                Obviously, I have to look for some phage science music videos.

      2. Since estrogen and progesterone are steroid hormones, it makes sense that if you eat them, they’d be able to permeate the lining of the GI tract and reach the bloodstream, but how would eating peptide hormones like IGF-1 have an effect? Aren’t peptide bonds broken down in the stomach and intestines? And aren’t peptides not membrane-permeable? (If IGF-1 DOES get into the blood via food, would that suggest leaky gut or something?)

        (Not that I’m defending drinking milk — I think a lot of people would agree that it’d be weird if an animal drank human milk, and the HPV-E7 [and/or E6, I think?] knock-in mouse model doesn’t even get cervical cancer unless you give them extra estrogen — I’m just wondering.)

          1. “No relevance to to people” is not an accurate statement either. David. They have some relevance just not 100% transferable to people. End

    2. Deb, It seems coincidental that you were just inquiring about milk in yesterday’s blog.

      It’s fine for researchers to delve into the technical reasons for cow’s milk being bad for adult humans … it’s human nature to be curious. But I’ll repeat what I posted yesterday:

      “I am continually amazed that anyone who gives it a second thought would think that drinking the mammary secretions of another species is good for the adult human body!

      Isn’t it obvious that those secretions are tailored to the newborns of the particular species from which it is produced?

      Yes, if one is starving, it may get one through until real human food is found, but otherwise, it makes no logical sense to me at all.

      Amazing what tradition and brainwashing can do! And I do have to admit that I drank cow’s milk as a child because that’s what I was told was good for me. Luckily, I began doing a little questioning of “authority” later in life!”

      1. I was once in a discussion with some people about the human consumption of cow milk, and they were thoroughly brainwashed to think it was just fine… so I asked them if they would consider it “natural” to go suck a cow’s udder to get their quota, and the looks I got were priceless! But of course, I was the weirdo for pointing out that is how all mammals “dispense” infant formula!

      2. “I am continually amazed that anyone who gives it a second thought would think that drinking the mammary secretions of another species is good for the adult human body!

        Isn’t it obvious that those secretions are tailored to the newborns of the particular species from which it is produced?
        ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
        Well, according to the findings in the link below, people have been feeding ruminant milk to babies for ~5000 years, so if something has been an accepted practice for some 5000 years, shouldn’t we stop with the species to species only argument?

        Apparently our ancestors realized it is o.k. to cross species and probably had a hand in becoming who we are today.

        https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-09/uob-fef092319.php

        1. That’s an odd statement. Just because people have been feeding breast milk from another species for 5000 years doesn’t mean it’s ideal.

          As a substitute for starvation it’s not a bad alternative, but we have also have had heart disease for well over 5000 years, as attested by all the mummies they are scanning now that show huge blockages in coronary arteries, long before we had junk food, and sedentary life styles. Some of the mummies were located near fishing areas which probably means they weren’t getting to much red meat.

          Cheers.

          End

    3. The worst part is ALL dairy cows were forced to become pregnant through artificial insemination, and within a couple days after giving birth the calves are taken away and bottle fed cow formula so the mother can then be put into the milking herd. You will hear these mother cows wailing for days looking for their babies. It is sad and happens to every single dairy cow.

      1. Them not being given grass to eat at all would be another just plain odd thing and I don’t even understand the whole transgenic part at all yet, but that doesn’t sound good to me.

        1. todays wold demands best better health changes and its renew i guess i love vitamin d milk as a kid i we had instan withci also love but dairy is delicious on counts of news we dont know cancers soy milks…..us today/saves our cute cows animals i am slow thought some animals are slates to eat and get milk from,hence thanks you could let us be unheathy!milk has been a favorite.now we are older what is of encouraged milks in wic programs for mothers and children????lisa slc utah,counting more years,,,,

      2. You will hear these mother cows wailing for days looking for their babies. It is sad and happens to every single dairy cow.
        —————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
        For the most part, empathy is a good thing… but this is carrying it a little too far.

        I was just out in the garage feeding the cats and then doing a ten minute session on my vibration platform. All the time I was on the platform there was one of a mother cat’s kittens crying and crying. Dairy cows have the life of Riley. I grew up on a farm/ranch where we had cows roaming free in a pasture. Sometimes a cow had a stillborn calf… sometimes their calf was killed by a predator.

        The cows were forced to become pregnant through natural insemination (by a one ton bull on their back… only lasted a short time but much more violent than an artificial insemination.) I’ve also seen calves bottle fed when their mother died… saved their little captive lives as they too would have died in the natural world.

        Mother cows in the wild would have no constant health care (except at roundup time when a vet may look over the herd) but in a dairy herd, you can bet your last tofu burger that they would have the best veterinary care available if anything threatened their contribution to society (by providing nutrition) and the ones making their livelihood off these pampered animals.

      3. Same thing happens at weaning time with beef breeds, too. My SO has a small beef operation; last year at weaning one of the cows went so berserk she broke down several fences and traveled through the property of several of his neighbors, bawling all the while, looking for her calf–he could track her movements by which neighbor called when. Once he got her caught he put her in with the calves. Maternal instinct will out, regardless of species.

    4. Dairy cow’s are not being abused, so let’s just mooove on from that opinion! I am interested in the science only, not all the vegan opinions!

  2. I have read that the first menses in hunter gatherer women doesn’t occur until 19yo. Is it possible that the hormones in milk are responsible for the much younger age of the first menses in “modern” women.

    If first menses were to be delayed several years, then egg cells would remain in women for several years longer.

    1. Sydney,

      Dr. Greger has a video, but it was a study linking it to meat intake, but IGF-1 is one of the potential mechanisms and that is in dairy, too.

      1. Laughing.

        Men say things like that, but when the salesmen come here, they talk about their wives spending money on kitchen gadgets and decorations, then, they start listing their cars and snowblowers and lawnmowers and gadgets and big-screen televisions and I laugh because it turns out that they are hunter-gatherers, too.

        1. My mother bought kid’s clothing and crock pots and pressure cookers, which she used all of the time.

          My father bought race cars and boats and big-screen televisions and even with his new wife, she buys some nice clothing and he bought a Mercedes.

          My aunt and uncle joked about it, she bought kid’s clothing and he bought a horse and a tractor and other things like that and, no, they didn’t have a farm.

          1. I could go relative by relative and use the rich and poor community and my cousin’s wife bought kid’s clothes and cooking gadgets and my cousin bought a jet ski, a powerboat, and a jaguar. Yes, he is one of the money ones, but the poor community has the same trend.

              1. What I remember about growing up is that my mother made clothing and cut our hair herself and used green stamps and coupons and that we would have to search the couch cushions to find spare change to have gas for the car, and couldn’t always afford Christmas presents, but my father always did have the ability to figure out how to fly planes and race cars, even if our own car wasn’t always that stable.

                1. Deb, you reminded me of my own childhood– we thought it marvelous that pasting the gummed-back green stamps into booklets could obtain something “extra”– a bonus in life. And many a mom found it easy to barber young boys, because crew cuts were in style. And, yes, gas cost less than $.29 per gallon, and a loaf of bread $.12. Christmas was a religious celebration, not necessarily an exchange of commercial gifts, and we often made our own gifts for each other, sang carols and it turned out to be much more meaningful. Probably you will agree, such an upbringing produces people with a clearer focus on what matters– the opposite of the person with “more money than brains”, who learns early the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

                  1. alphaa0010,

                    Yes, exactly.

                    I will tell you though, that I am at the crossroads of 2 distinctly different cultures and it has become fascinating to me.

                    I am Switzerland and almost half my relatives are radical conservatives and almost half are radical liberals the rest are very independent.

                    I have relatives living into their 90’s and relatives dying in their 40’s and 50’s and early 60’s.

                    I have relatives and friends who are so poor that they have been homeless and relatives who are so wealthy that they can have lives of leisure. My sister-in-law is in the going to end up with one million to retire on and both of her brothers have lived in their cars.

                    It feels like culture split in half.

                    My perspective is that people became too materialistic and leisure-oriented and that companies became so bottom-line oriented and started paying way too much money in certain sectors – more than they could afford to pay and then they just get rid of people in their 50’s. I watch some of the insurance companies laying people off every six months and I watch my friend who is an occupational therapist and there are too many of them now because people want a medical profession or to be teachers to get money, but now they are trying to get rid of people, too. I talked to someone who became a medical assistant but she couldn’t ever get a job at all.

                    So you end up with the rich get richer and richer and more and more selfish and spoiled and they don’t mind using up all of the world’s resources as long as they get fancy enough cars and fancy enough houses and many of the ones in my family have one sibling poor, one sibling wealthy.

                    The thing is, I am watching some of both the wealthy and the poor dying young and some of the ones who barely worked a day in their lives and just live on leisure are healthier than some of the ones who end up working 3 jobs or not having insurance.

                    I feel like, right now, it might have been wiser to have gone over to the dark side and gotten on the money train, but they were not healthier people. They do have more cushion and margin in their lives and get pensions and benefits. Though the ones who work for government in my State used to talk about how they watched soap operas and got paid for it and got benefits, but the ones replacing their jobs aren’t getting the same salaries or benefits and those people are probably being paid properly for the over-all economy, but now every house and car and hospital visit is so expensive that they have so much stress.

                    My poor relatives were the ones who were happier, but I think that has shifted.

                    Do I regret choosing a simpler life? No. Would I have done it differently? No.

                    But when the Tesla backs itself out of a parking spot, I look at it and think about the generations of the future and think that we are so ridiculously selfish and greedy and the growing number of poor people grieves me.

                    But since nobody eats healthy food, they will all probably die young and I say that with sarcasm and realism.

                    I prefer being on the side trying to solve problems and trying to make contributions to something greater.

        2. Men definitely are hunter-gatherers too, just not as skilled. I admit that. Hence the need for some to feel that they have to grab a rifle/4-wheel ATV/case of beer to go and murder some poor defenseless animal in the woods to try to make up for it.

      2. JIMBO:

        I read an account of a hunter gatherer woman walking through the woods carrying a breast feeding infant in one hand, a 35 lb sack of vegetables slung over her shoulder in the other hand, and a 4 yo walking beside her.

    2. Sydney

      That assumes that those young hunter gatherer women produce eggs years before their first menstruation. Is there any evidence for that assumption?

  3. I found myself wondering throughout the video: Yeah, but what about soy products and flax seed meal? These are great estrogen sources. I think I read that a man drinking just a cup a day of soy milk will see a marked decline in libido and sperm counts. Is this a case of animal products bad for us but some vege products also bad?

      1. Deb, that I’m sure is true. My friends that drink a lot of IPA’s (high hops beer) almost all have man titties. I think that’s where the term brah comes from.

        I know if drink very many ipa’s my otherwise slender chest will have some weight gain. That’s not good. It’s been so many years since I drank milk, but I don’t remember it happening like that. But wouldn’t drink milk for a lot of other reasons.

    1. Bill, plant and animal estrogens aren’t exactly the same. They both bind on the same sites in the body but the animal estrogens will have a pro-estrogenic effect, the plant estrogens have a protective effect. There’s a ” sweet spot” for the amount of WHOLE soy foods to consume and that is about 2 servings of soy per day (about 14 g of protein). This amount will help strengthen bones and protect from prostate and breast cancer. Consuming more can flood the system with too much estrogen and cause problems. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-shouldnt-eat-soy/ (I’m going by memory with 2 servings/day max, that’s what I’ve remembered from past research, sorry I don’t have time today to find the references for you).

      The phytoestrogens in beer are unhealthy. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-shouldnt-eat-soy/

    2. Bill

      They have been consuming significant amounts of soy in China and Japan for at least a thousand years. I don’t think anybody has ever observed a lack of libido or low sperm counts in thiose populations during that time Surely somebody in the last thousand years or so would have noticed such a phenomenon if it existed?

      That claim sounds like the usual highlly convenient speculation presented as ‘facts’ by dedicated meat and dairy easters.

  4. rBST, the genetically engineered hormone given to cows to make them produce more milk, raises IGF-1 in dairy. IGF-1 has been directly linked to cancer cell proliferation. Forcing cows to give milk longer than their bodies want to also increases udder infections and the amount of pus in milk.

    I was the guy who, with Pure Food Campaign, dumped milk on the steps of the California state capital protesting rBGH being put into our nations food supply without the dairy industry and FDA wanting to tell the public it was occurring at all.

    1. I was the guy who, with Pure Food Campaign, dumped milk on the steps of the California state capital protesting rBGH being put into our nations food supply without the dairy industry and FDA wanting to tell the public it was occurring at all.
      —————————————————————————————————————
      Personally, I commend you for that. Milk and milk products should be unadulterated.

      disclaimer: I do not drink milk but do occasionally partake of ice cream or yogurt.

    1. Edie,

      I am going to tell you that a year from now, you will wonder why you ever ate dairy.

      But, finding the right plant-milk is a process and what you use might vary based on what you are using it for.

      I used soy milk in my green tea lattes and oat milk in my coffee.

      Just watch out if you buy it at the grocery stores because many brands put oil and other stupid things like that in.

      There are brands like West Soy, which are soybeans and water.

      There are also lots of videos for making your own.

      1. Deb,

        I now drink my tea and my coffee plain. I first stopped adding sugar, because I wanted to lose weight. And then I stopped adding dairy to coffee after a few bad experiences with rancid creamer.

        And they both taste delicious!! In that, I can actually taste them, inhale their aromas. Fantastic!

        And my theory is that every calorie counts; so cut a little here, a little there, it all adds up.

        Though I did acquire a taste for ginger in my coffee (which I have learned is one additive used in Ethiopia, the origin of the original coffee trees).

        1. I put turmeric, cardamon, cinnamon, raw cacoa in my coffee. No milk or sugar necessary. It’s all about what you get used to. I do like almond milk with cereal.

          1. Me too Marilyn I use all those except cardamon, because o don’t have any or haven’t seen it when shopping. But makes a good coffee. And I don’t have to use sugar or anything else. But I can drink my coffee black if I need to. But having a nice cold brew or French press coffee makes the it easier on the taste buds.

            End

    2. It is pretty easy to go dairy free. Homemade almond milk tastes so much better than store bought or regular milk. Many ‘cheeses’ made from nuts have hit the market and cookbooks. I make a cashew lime crema that rivals sour cream on Mexican food.

        1. Here you go:

          Cashew Lime Crema –vegan sour cream substitute.

          -1/3 heaping cup (50 g) raw cashews, soaked for 15 minutes in boiling water, then drained

          -1/3 cup + 2Tbs water

          -Zest and juice from 1 lime

          -1/2 Tbs maple syrup or agave nectar

          -1/2 tsp salt

          -1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper

          In a blender, combine the drained cashews and water. Add the lime zest and juice along with the syrup, salt, and pepper. Blend until completely smooth. Put in container with tight fitting lid and refrigerate. Keeps for up to 1 week. Stir before using.

          I like mine on the thin side to it can be drizzled, but if you like it thick the water amount can be halved.

          Enjoy!

  5. Growing up, I consumed huge amounts of dairy, but, in hindsight, I was fortunate to develop lactose intolerance. But in my 30’s, I heard yogurt was better tolerated and I had plain yogurt daily for lunch with berries. My prostate cancer insidiously damaged my pudendal nerves and affected prostate secretions. No one had reported these symptoms to me and yearly exams missed my prostate cancer until at 50, it got so bad I saw a urologist. After my exam, he said “it is not a question if you have cancer but how bad it is?” All biopsies were positive with Gleason 8 prostate cancer, locally invasive and metastatic. After mainstream treatment, the first thing I did was stop consuming all milk products transitioning to a WFPBD. 20 years later, I am alive with undetectable PSA.

  6. Bill – soy and flax products contain phytoestrogens. They do not contain animal/human estrogen. They are completely different compounds from each other. Phytoestrogens are structurally different from mammalian estrogens and are not interchangeable in the linking structure i.e., cannot dock into an estrogen-receiving component in the body. They donot operate in the body in the same way that mammalian estrogens do. Recent research shows us that phytoestrogens in soy are actually helpful in menopause and also are helpful in post cancer. Phyto (plant) estrogens are not the same as mammalian estrogens and should never be confused as being the same. Despite the science showing that phytoestrogens are far from harmful, these myths that plant estrogens are harmful persist, unfortunately.

    1. Ruth,

      The situation with plant phytoestrogens is a bit more complicated and nuanced than what you have written.

      If you search for “phytoestrogens” on this web site, you can find some very informative videos on the topic.

  7. Noted that the study indicating the cancer indicated “high” amts. of milk intake” and the % or rates of cancer in the population were not made clear. e.g. if u drink 3 glasses of milk/day and this causes a 1% raise of the cancer risk in a population that quite obviously is engaging in dietary excesses–is this really a problem for most of us? Sounded to me more like the continual disengenuousness and cherry picking of stats. The Doc can do better in giving us good info.

    1. fb0252, What if you’re one of those in the 1 % that comes down with incurable cancer? Would you you still call this video useless or misleading?

    2. No matter what, understanding the link is still important. Science is still trying to understand whether it is the IGF-1 or the Saturated Fats or the Estrogen or the Caseine and that may take a while, but we can look at studies and examine each of those separately.

      For instance, a study says that drinking whole milk intake in men contributed to elevated prostate cancer mortality risk significantly and that a linear dose-response relationship existed between increase of whole milk intake and increase of prostate cancer mortality risk.

      Knowing that information, people can decide whether to drink dairy and also how much.

      There are so many dairy studies which were designed to be deceptive and if Dr. Greger quoted those, then I would have problems, but I don’t have problems if he gives us studies with statistical significance and which explain mechanisms.

      When I went to Dr. Greger’s topics and went to PubMed, he is covering all of the topics. It might take a while, but by the end, we get to see the whole debate and even get a response to the studies which were designed deceptively on this site.

  8. Hey Dr. Greger, I was wondering if you have seen something like this study (or anything like it) and if it warranted further research:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553762/

    I didn’t read all of it, but from what I did read, it says that chlorogenic acid is in dandelion flowers. As I recall, that compound was one of the beneficial compounds in coffee. It also has other potentially beneficial compounds, like quercetine glycosides (which I assume is quercetin). The entire plant is edible, so I wonder what kind of synergistic effect would happen with all of the compounds together.

    1. Kevin, thanks for posting this. I keep dandelions out of my front yard respecting my neighbors. But let them grow freely in the backyard. I add the leaves to salads. The flowers, although edible, do irritate my stomach, possibly latex in them. Roots can be used as a coffee substitute.

  9. Do ALL studies support the opinion that milk & dairy are bad? No, they don’t.

    Dairy products & the risk of breast cancer Study:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15213021/

    Milk/Colon Cancer study:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19116875/

    If milk/dairy are so bad, shouldn’t it cause more types of cancer & be bad for overall health?

    It would seem logical that people who ingest more milk and dairy would be at a higher risk of developing cancer, right?

    Below I have included conclusions from several meta-analyses along with research findings on members of the (SDA) to see whether this is the case.

    The following quotes describe the impact of dairy among SDA members:

    “In AHS-2, we compared study members who were the highest dairy consumers (top 20 percent) to the lowest (bottom 20 percent).…The high dairy consumers had about 70 percent less rectal cancer than the low-consumers.

    Over the years, several meta-analyses that evaluated the impact of milk and/or dairy on cancer diagnosis and mortality have been published. I am quoting conclusions from available meta-analyses. I HAVE excluded findings from those meta-analyses that were sponsored by the National Dairy Council.

    In one meta-analysis, authors evaluated the impact of milk and dairy on cancer of the bladder. It was sponsored by The Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province of China.

    “We extracted data from 14 studies on milk (involving 4879 cases) and 6 studies on dairy products (3087 cases). The total study population was up to 324,241 individuals. Overall, there was no significant association between milk intake and bladder cancer.

    In addition, no significant association was observed between consumption of dairy products and risk of bladder cancer (SRRE 0.95, 95% CI .71-1.27)though an inverse association was detected in the Japanese population (SRRE 0.56, 95% CI .40-.80).”5 The number 0.88, mentioned in the context of the American study indicates a 12 percent lower risk. Similarly, the number 0.56 indicates a 44 percent lower risk among Japanese. Consistently, the above described findings seem to indicate that milk and dairy may have a protective effect on cancer of the bladder. This conslusion is especially strong among the Japanese.

    In yet another meta-analysis, sponsored by The National Institutes of Health, authors evaluated the effect of drinking milk and ingesting dairy products on cancer of the pancreas. Here is what these scientists found: “There was no association between total milk intake and pancreatic cancer risk (MVHR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.82-1.18 comparing ≥500 with 1-69.9 g/day). Similarly, intakes of low-fat milk, whole milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt, were not associated with pancreatic cancer risk. No statistically significant association was observed between dietary (MVHR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.77-1.19) and total calcium (MVHR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.71-1.12) intake and pancreatic cancer risk overall when comparing intakes ≥1300 with <500 mg/day.

    ** New Study: Saturated fats in yoghurt, cheese and butter do NOT increase the risk of heart disease – and may actually prevent a stroke.

    *Eating full-fat dairy actually reduces the risk of dying from stroke by 42%
    *Low or no fat often contain high amounts of sugar, which drives heart disease.

    This comes after research released earlier this month suggested saturated fats found in yoghurt, cheese, butter and milk do not increase the risk of heart disease. Eating full-fat dairy actually reduces the risk of dying from stroke by 42 percent, a study found.

    Lead author Dr Marcia Otto, from the University of Texas, Houston, said: 'Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults.

    'In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.'

    Dr Otto said: 'Consistent with previous findings, our results highlight the need to revisit current dietary guidance on whole-fat dairy foods, which are rich sources of nutrients such as calcium and potassium.

    'These are essential for health not only during childhood but throughout life, particularly also in later years when undernourishment and conditions like osteoporosis are more common

    'Consumers have been exposed to so much different and conflicting information about diet, particularly in relation to fats.

    'It's therefore important to have robust studies, so people can make more balanced and informed choices based on scientific fact rather than hearsay.'

    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqy117/5052139

    1. Greg, It is quite easy to manipulate statistics to show any conclusion you want!

      But please explain to me from a physiologic viewpoint the need for adult humans to ingest the mammary secretions from a whole different species of animal.

      Without doing any studies at all, I can reason that if the purpose of cows milk is to make a newborn calf grow into a full grown cow in a relatively short period of time, then what it does to the human body is not going to be good. And this line of reasoning applies to “grass-fed” happy cows as well as those grown in a modern milk production facility where additional hormones are added.

    2. Hello Greg, and thank you for your comments,

      I am a family doctor and an epidemiologist. I would certainly agree that not all studies support the opinion that milk and dairy are bad. However, much of what you say is just not logical. You present various studies showing no association between dairy consumption and increased risk of breast cancer, bladder cancer, and pancreatic cancer (and maybe even decreased risk of bladder cancer in Japanese people). You ask “If milk/dairy are so bad, shouldn’t it cause more types of cancer…..?”

      An example of why that doesn’t make sense is asbestos. It is a well-established medical fact that asbestos causes mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen. No one says that because asbestos doesn’t cause breast, bladder, or pancreatic cancer, we should all feel fine about exposing ourselves to asbestos.

      Here is a link to the full-text article cited by Dr. Greger showing that dairy consumption in post-menopausal women is associated with invasive adenocarcinoma of the uterus: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3359127/. The authors present a biologic rationale for this, pointing out that endometrial cells are very sensitive to estrogen. Their study is of a huge cohort of 121,700 female RNs followed prospectively since 1976. Their conclusions seem well supported by the data.

      The acne-promoting effects of cow milk consumption are also very well established. The sebaceous glands in the skin are very sensitive to excess levels of estrogen. Dr. Greger has done several videos on this. Here is one: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/national-dairy-council-on-acne-and-milk/.

      You state that (Whole-fat dairy foods) “are essential for health not only during childhood but throughout life, particularly also in later years when undernourishment and conditions like osteoporosis are more common.” This is the propaganda disseminated by the American Dairy Association since I was a little kid. But there is NO EVIDENCE for this.

      I cannot even count the number of patients I’ve treated (including lots of children) who got amazing improvements of the following conditions after stopping all dairy: allergies, chronic sinus infections, post-nasal drip, acne, IBS symptoms, and heartburn — just to name a few off the top of my head.

      Finally, I couldn’t agree more with your statement that “Consumers have been exposed to so much different and conflicting information about diet, particularly in relation to fats.” The main reason for this is deliberate mis-information put out there by big lobbies such as the American Dairy Association. See this video by Dr. G: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-industry-funded-research-bias/.

      Dr. Jon
      PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
      Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org

      1. Jon,

        Dr G. declares the increased levels of these hormones in woman is only 5-10%. The abstract of the study quoted by Dr G. states:

        ‘The association between total dairy intake and endometrial cancer was significant only among the postmenopausal women (for3 svg/day RR51.41, 95% CI51.01–1.98,p for trend 50.02) and was evident only among those who were not currently using hormone therapy (RR51.58, 95% CI51.05–2.36,p for trend50.003). Total dairy intake was not significantly associated with risk of preinvasive endometrial cancer.
        Overall, a small increase in risk in those not using hormone therapy.

        https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/ijc.26265

        By comparison being obese increases risk up to 50% in post-menopausal women. (Being tall is also a significant risk factor).

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25791635?dopt=Abstract

        Perhaps this is where Dr G. should be focusing his attention. Seems to me dairy is a bit of a red herring.

        If I were a tall, obese postmenopausal woman and there were a family history I would be on hormone therapy and/or lose weight long before I considered dropping dairy.

    3. Greg,

      And yet, when the people in Finland went off the high fat dairy they dropped heart attacks, strokes and Alzheimer’s by 84 to 90% and in Dr. Barnard’s study it is dropping saturated fats, which reverses Type 2 Diabetes.

      You can’t undo the fact that going off of it stops these health epidemics.

      1. Deb,

        Dr Barnard is a committed vegan. Which (as Tom will remind you) means he is not objective, and his evidence therefore should be ignored. I would suggest on the scale of objectivity, he is far less reliable than Mozaffarian. But I dont wish to quibble about it.
        The evidence is overwhelmingly suggesting that dairy is beneficial, including dairy fat. More so for women than men, perhaps. And by this I am referring to cardiovascular disease, without touching on the multitude of other diseases.
        I am not suggesting you re-commence consuming dairy, especially if you have a conscientious objection to doing so. Animal welfare concerns are as good as any other reason to cease eating animal products. However, I am suggesting you make an informed choice in the matter. This will require you to read all the evidence. Exclude the evidence from those who are obviously dairy industry flunkies, as well as those who are vegan or vegetarian authors or activists. In between these two extremes lies the truth.

        1. You wrote

          ‘Dr Barnard is a committed vegan. Which (as Tom will remind you) means he is not objective, and his evidence therefore should be ignored. I would suggest on the scale of objectivity, he is far less reliable than Mozaffarian. But I don’t wish to quibble about it.

          I don’t say that we should ignore such papers. I say that we should be cautious about such papers, especially the authors’ conclusions.. The basic data is usually correct but some of the interpretations of the results may be questionable. The Mozaffarian paper you quoted for example specifically stated that

          ‘‘During 22 y (37,498 person-years) of follow-up, 2428 deaths occurred (6.4 deaths per 100 person-years). In multivariate models adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle, cardiovascular, and dietary factors, there was no significant association between quintiles of plasma phospholipid pentadecanoic, heptadecanoic, and trans-palmitoleic acids and total mortality (P-trend across quintiles = 0.19, 0.25, and 0.14, respectively; Figure 2, Supplemental Table 1)’.’

          Yet Mozaffarian et al concluded that dairy is beneficial and guidelines should be altered to reflect that conclusion!

          Of course we should be equally cautious about accepting the results of Barnard’s studies …. but I have not seen any similar critical discussions of his work. It is arguable too that he has fewer financial conflicts of interest than Mozaffarian and certainly no industry links. However, I also don’t wish to quibble about it.

          But it’s not just Barnard and Greger saying these things. The US Dietary Guidelines clearly state that well-planned ‘vegan’ diets are healthful. Whereas, as far as dairy is concerned, they are clear that if people do eat dairy they should choose low fat dairy. That seems awfully like code for recommending that there should be little or no butter and cheese in Americans’ diets. Of course, it is inconceivable that they would allowed to say any such thing in as many words.

          This is not to say that I think full fat dairy is the worst thing in the world. It isn’t. It appears to be preferable to eating processed meats, red meats and refined carbohydrates (in other words, a Western diet). Compared to those food, it appears to be relatively healthful …… which is what many studies have apparently found. However, relative to more healthful alternatives like a (whole food) plant based diet, a high dairy food diet does appear unhealthful:

          ” 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.”
          https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/10/25/dairy-fat-cardiovascular-disease-risk/

          1. thanks Tom. I refer to my previous comment. I think it might be a good deal more complex. If the vast majority of dietary saturated fats come from other (more harmful) food sources (see my previous post on this matter) reducing milk fat by 50% is not necessarily very helpful. Other than perhaps a reduction in calories (about 20 calories each 100 ml of milk).

            As for Mozaffarian. I dont have a problem at all with you being cautious, esp. about conclusions. Research is so fundamentally flawed we are all entitled to be cautious. However this needs to be done with some objectivity. Seeking to find facts which solely align with one’s belief system tends to distort the truth. On face value you appear to make highly selective interpretations and generalisations in regards their selective (according to you) interpretations. If so, the truth more probably lies halfway between opposing selective interpretations. Each case has to be judged on its merits. He has a patent (which is what researchers tend to do) on a dairy-related discovery he made, but he is just one of the multiple Harvard authors. His original research was not funded by the dairy industry. The subsequent research was not funded by the dairy industry, nor appears to directly benefit him. Your claimed ‘caution’ in this instance appears instead to be bias. That is, to have any credence it would requires Mozaffarian to influence his fellow Harvard researchers to make findings (conclusions) which prioritise a benefit to him, rather than add to our scientific understanding. In this instance the highly improbable implication is presented as highly probable. Its what some want to hear, so it goes unchallenged and becomes the conventional wisdom. At least in this user group.
            I mostly enjoy Dr Gregers videos. And your thoughtful comments. However, far too often they fall into the realm of selective scepticism.

            As for the US Dietary Guidelines. Dont have the time to address all the issues. Perhaps a few quotes from Dr Ede psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist.
            She is critical of their focus on epidemiology studies rather than the biochemistry of food and of the human body. I am not necessarily endorsing her comments, other than to say (nutritionally) there are very definitely two sides to this argument, and nutritionfacts provides only one of them.
            Bias is bi-directional:

            ‘Of the 14 DGAC members, 9 had conducted studies focusing on the health benefits of plant ingredients and/or plant-based diets, and two had written books promoting plant-based diets. Therefore, most of these researchers had staked their careers at least in part on the theory that plant foods are superior to animal foods’

            ‘There is clear evidence that the DGAC not only cherry-picked studies to support its stance against red meat, but that it misrepresented the studies it chose to review. I took the time to read every study the DGAC cited in support of its findings and was appalled to find that they did NOT support the notion that red meat increases risk for depression’

            ‘It is gradually becoming clear that the relationship between cholesterol tests and cardiovascular disease is complex, and that unfractionated LDL levels are the weakest predictors of future heart disease (compared to HDL and triglyceride levels ).
            Tragically, our decades-long obsession with LDL reduction has distracted us from the search for root causes of cardiovascular disease such as inflammation, oxidation, calcification, insulin resistance, and endothelial dysfunction’.

            Focus on LDL reduction has also led to the strange and dangerous recommendation by the USDA to replace natural saturated fats with industrially-produced, refined seed oils, such as soybean and cottonseed oils. These modern oils tend to be extremely high in linoleic acid (LA), the essential omega-6 fatty acid necessary for mounting an inflammatory response to injuries and infections. Linoleic acid is readily obtained from both plant and animal foods, so there is no need to go out of our way to obtain more of it by consuming refined seed oils.

            Furthermore, it is well-established in the scientific literature that an excess of omega-6 fatty acid competes with and reduces the availability of precious omega-3 fatty acids (namely, EPA and DHA). EPA generates anti-inflammatory molecules necessary for resolving and healing cellular damage. When EPA products are outnumbered by LA products, inflammation—the cornerstone of most chronic disease—predominates. DHA comprises 20% of the brain’s fat content and is critical to cortical development and myelination, as well as to the structure and function of retinal photoreceptors, cardiac cells, and mitochondrial membranes throughout the body. EPA and DHA are far more challenging to obtain from most standard omnivorous diets in that they are found in seafood and pastured animal organs/fats and *do not exist in plant foods*. It is well-established that the human body converts very little, if any, plant-sourced omega-3 fatty acids into the EPA and DHA our bodies require, therefore we must consume pre-formed sources of these essential fatty acids directly from animal foods (or take supplements). Misplaced focus on LDL and unnecessary avoidance of saturated fat has resulted in guidelines that inadvertently contribute to depletion of DHA from our hearts and brains and EPA from our immune systems, setting the stage for widespread inflammation and chronic disease.
            4. Displays clear evidence of pro-plant bias.

            The most recent DGAC was too homogeneous in that plant-based dietary philosophies were over-represented at the expense of other viewpoints. Of the 14 DGAC members, 9 had conducted studies focusing on the health benefits of plant ingredients and/or plant-based diets, and two had written books promoting plant-based diets. Therefore, most of these researchers had staked their careers at least in part on the theory that plant foods are superior to animal foods. Pro-plant bias (whether conscious or unconscious ) within the committee likely clouded its ability to objectively evaluate and compare the nutritional qualities of plant and animal foods, resulting in guidelines that imply we should limit animal foods and strive to consume large quantities of plant foods.

            Thus, the committee found itself in the shameful position of explicitly recommending that up to 50% of our daily grain intake be in the form of enriched refined grains, despite overwhelming evidence that refined carbohydrates are exceedingly unhealthy. The rationale for this absurd position is that without these *fortified processed* foods the “healthy” dietary patterns put forth in the guidelines would be lacking in key essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from plant foods, yet easy to obtain from animal foods, such as B vitamins. How did human beings obtain essential nutrients prior to the invention of processed foods? This is the kind of common-sense question not being asked as part of the current process.

            The consumption of refined carbohydrates can lead to chronically elevated insulin levels, which promote inflammation, oxidation, and insulin resistance throughout the body, including at the blood-brain barrier .
            Insulin resistance, which now affects more than 50% of Americans, is a driving force behind many chronic diseases, including obesity , type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

            Additional problematic evidence of pro-plant bias is the lack of responsible acknowledgment of and warnings about risk of serious micronutrient deficiencies inherent in vegan diets unless properly and carefully supplemented. The 144-page dietary guidelines for 2015-2020 devote just a single sentence to vegan diets: “This [healthy vegetarian] Pattern can be vegan if all dairy choices are comprised of fortified soy beverages (soymilk) or other plant-based dairy substitutes.” This simple statement sanctioning a vegan diet does not clearly state that plant-based dairy substitutes must be fortified with B12 and neglects the importance of proper supplementation of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs (DHA and EPA) and vitamin K2, which are not found in plant foods. It also includes no warnings about the risks of serious nutrient deficiencies which are more common among vegans than omnivores, including: B12, B2, iodine, zinc, EPA and DHA deficiencies.

            5. Displays clear evidence of anti-meat bias.

            As a psychiatrist I was curious to understand the reasoning behind the DGAC’s conclusion that diets lower in red meat reduced risk for depression . There is clear evidence that the DGAC not only cherry-picked studies to support its stance against red meat, but that it misrepresented the studies it chose to review. I took the time to read every study the DGAC cited in support of its findings and was appalled to find that they did NOT support the notion that red meat increases risk for depression (!). My complete analysis of the studies concludes:

            “In summary, 16 studies look at meat. One of them suggests meat increases risk for depression, six of them suggest that meat mixed with junk foods increases risk for depression, NINE studies specifically exonerate meat, including BOTH of the RCT’s, and one of the RCT’s found that eating MORE red meat was actually PROTECTIVE against depression.”

            Anti-animal food bias clearly prevented the committee from objectively and honestly evaluating all of the available science.
            Georgia Ede, MD

            https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/diagnosis-diet/201803/changes-dietary-guidelines-needed-preserve-our-sanity

    4. That last study has Dariush Mozaffarian as its chief investigator. He apparently works for several commercial consultancy companies (that have food inducstry clients) and also has a patent on a dairy fatty acid drug/compound.

      People who call for dietary guidelines to be relaxed to benefit particular industries (dairy, salt etc) as here, should ideally have no industry links either direct or indirect. Especially when their own study states ‘During 22 y (37,498 person-years) of follow-up, 2428 deaths occurred (6.4 deaths per 100 person-years). In multivariate models adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle, cardiovascular, and dietary factors, there was no significant association between quintiles of plasma phospholipid pentadecanoic, heptadecanoic, and trans-palmitoleic acids and total mortality (P-trend across quintiles = 0.19, 0.25, and 0.14, respectively; Figure 2, Supplemental Table 1)’. Yet they were still able spin the results in a such a way that they could claim a moratlity benefit from consumption of dairy fatty acids!

      It’s also quite easy to make dairy look healthful or harmless in other ways – for example, just compare high dairy diets to background diets high in meat and/or refined carbs (eg the standard American or Western diet). However, if you compare dairy to specific alternatives instead of the average American diet then a very different picture emerges

      ‘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.’
      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/10/25/dairy-fat-cardiovascular-disease-risk/

      Or ensure that your subjects are all obese. Obese people react differently to foodstuffs than people of normal weight.

      1. Tom,

        Yet another way dairy appears to reduce CVD risk

        Conclusions

        These results demonstrate that incorporating dairy cheese into a high-sodium diet preserves EDD by decreasing the concentration of superoxide radicals. Consuming sodium in cheese, rather than in nondairy sources of sodium, may be an effective strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in salt-insensitive, older adults. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03376555.

        Gouda news for cheese lovers: Study finds blood health benefit

        By Nikki Hancocks

        26-Sep-2019

        Antioxidants naturally found in cheese may help protect blood vessels from damage from high levels of salt in the diet, according to a new Penn State study.

        In a randomised, crossover design study, researchers con-curd that when adults consumed a high sodium diet, they also experienced blood vessel dysfunction.

        But, when the same adults consumed four servings of cheese a day alongside the same high sodium diet, they did not experience this effect.

        Billie Alba, who led the study while finishing her Ph.D. at Penn State, said the findings may help people balance food that tastes good with minimising the risks that come with eating too much salt.

        “While there’s a big push to reduce dietary sodium, for a lot of people it’s difficult,”​ Alba said. “Possibly being able to incorporate more dairy products, like cheese, could be an alternative strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve vessel health without necessarily reducing total sodium.”​

        While sodium is a mineral that is vital to the human body in small doses, too much dietary sodium is associated with cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure so WHO recommends an intake of less than 5,000 mg of salt per day.

        According to Lacy Alexander, professor of kinesiology at Penn State and another researcher on the study, previous research​​ has shown a connection between dairy products – even cheeses high in sodium – and improved heart health measures.

        “Studies have shown that people who consume the recommended number of dairy servings each day typically have lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health in general,”​ Alexander said.

        “We wanted to look at those connections more closely as well as explore some of the precise mechanisms by which cheese, a dairy product, may affect heart health.”​

        Method

        The researchers recruited 11 adults without salt-sensitive blood pressure for the study. They each followed four separate diets for eight days at a time: a low-sodium, no-dairy diet; a low-sodium, high-cheese diet; a high-sodium, no-dairy diet; and a high-sodium, high-cheese diet.

        The low sodium diets had participants consume 1,500 mg of salt a day, while the participants consuming high sodium diets had to consume 5,500 mg per day. The cheese diets included 170 grams, or about four servings, of several different types of cheese a day.

        At the end of each week-long diet, the participants returned to the lab for testing. The researchers inserted tiny fibers under the participants’ skin and applied a small amount of the drug acetylcholine, a compound that signals blood vessels to relax. By examining how each participants’ blood vessels reacted to the drug, the researchers were able to measure blood vessel function.

        The participants also underwent blood pressure monitoring and provided a urine sample to ensure they had been consuming the correct amount of salt throughout the week.

        Results

        The researchers found that after a week on the high sodium, no cheese diet, the participants’ blood vessels did not respond as brie-lliantly to the acetylcholine and had a more difficult time relaxing. But this was not seen after the high sodium, high cheese diet.

        “While the participants were on the high-sodium diet without any cheese, we saw their blood vessel function dip to what you would typically see in someone with pretty advanced cardiovascular risk factors,”​ Alexander said. “But when they consumed the same amount of salt, and ate cheese as a source of that salt, those effects were completely avoided.”​

        Alba said that while the researchers cannot be sure that the effects are caused by any one specific nutrient in cheese, the data suggests that antioxidants in cheese may be a contributing factor.

        “Consuming high amounts of sodium causes an increase in molecules that are harmful to blood vessel health and overall heart health,”​ Alba said. “There is scientific evidence that dairy-based nutrients, specifically peptides generated during the digestion of dairy proteins, have beneficial antioxidant properties, meaning that they have the ability to scavenge these oxidant molecules and thereby protect against their damaging physiological effects.”​

        Alba said that in the future, it will be Gouda to study these effects in larger studies, as well as further research possible mechanisms by which dairy foods may preserve vascular health.

        Cheese studies

        The potential health benefits of vitamin K include cardiovascular​​ and bone health​ ​and MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9 are found in fermented food products like cheese. A recent study​​ by scientists from Belgium and The Netherlands, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association​, found that improving vitamin K status may boost cardiovascular health by reducing arterial stiffness and improving blood pressure.

        Researchers from the University of Florence previously found​​ that consuming cheese from ewe’s milk, rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), may reduce markers linked to heart disease.

        They said ewe’s milk rich in cis-9, trans-11 CLA produced favourable changes in inflammatory cytokines and platelet aggregation, both of which are associated with atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries due to the build-up of fatty deposits on artery walls.

        Source: The Journal of Nutrition​

        Authors: Billie K Alba et al,

        “Controlled Feeding of an 8-d, High-Dairy Cheese Diet Prevents Sodium-Induced Endothelial Dysfunction in the Cutaneous Microcirculation of Healthy, Older Adults through Reductions in Superoxide”​

        DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxz205​

        1. Thanks Pete.

          I am sure that it is possible to come up with all sorts of involved reasons why dairy should be beneficial. Even weak ones like comparing two high sodium diets and finding that the dairy high sodium diet was less harmful than a non-dairy sodium diet seems particularly weak. Especially since the same team found that,compared to rice milk, ‘Acute dairy milk ingestion does not improve nitric oxide-dependent vasodilation in the cutaneous microcirculation’

          The fact is that high sodium diets are harmful and dairy products are high in sodium. Surely the best solution is simply to reduce sodium consumption, trather manufavture some elaborate reason for eating a high sodium diet containing dairy in place of a high sodium diet not containing sodium. And just what was the slternative high sodium diet anyway?

          The fact is that full fat dairy significantly increases CVD risk compared to PUFA and vegetable fats, and whole grains. As Harvard’s Frank Hu stated

          ‘“These results strongly support existing recommendations to choose mainly unsaturated fats from vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and some oily fish for a heart-healthy diet.”
          https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/10/25/dairy-fat-cardiovascular-disease-risk/

          Despite the industry’s best efforts, I have seen no convincing evidence that dairy is heart healthy (other than relative to even more unhealthy alternatives like red meat and refined carbs);

          1. Thanks Tom. You have made constantly great points and a logical discussion of the facts. this is exactly why I think normal people are so confused. Dairy, meat and alcohol industry does so many junk studies and says “ were healthy” , but in small print or not really disclosed, is the hidden notes compared to bacon cheeseburgers covered in high fructose corn syrup.

            Pete is saying a murderer is a good guy compared to Jeffery Daumier or John Wayne Gacy.

            End

        2. That funny Pete. “Antioxidants found in cheese “ there are much better, both in quantity and quality, sources of antioxidants than cheese. Are you a patsy for the dairy industry?

          End

  10. Hello “fb0252”,
    I am a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine and also a volunteer for Dr. Greger on this website. I also have a master’s degree in epidemiology, which means I am trained in interpreting epidemiologic studies. I believe that the study you’re referring to is the one titled “Milk, dairy intake and risk of endometrial cancer: a 26-year follow-up”. Here is a link to the full-text article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3359127/.

    This is a “prospective cohort” type of study, which has been following 121,700 female RNs since 1976. I’m not sure what you mean when you say that “the % or rates of cancer in the population were not made clear.” Do you mean that Dr. Greger did not make this clear or that the article did not make this clear? I think the article makes it pretty clear. If you look at their “Table 3”, you’ll see that this is exactly the same as what Dr. Greger presents. It shows that, among post-menopausal women, compared with those who consume less than one serving of all dairy products, the relative risk of endometrial cancer goes up steadily, the more total servings of dairy consumed per day, maxing out at a relative risk of 1.41 for those who consume 3 or more servings of dairy per day. This means that postmenopausal women who consumed 3 or more servings of dairy were 41% more likely to develop invasive adenocarcinoma of the uterus than were those who consumed less than one serving. The 95% confidence interval was 1.01-1.98, meaning that the increased risk might be as small as 1% or as high as 98%, due to chance.

    Maybe you are concerned that they don’t give the actual rates of endometrial cancer in the different groups, only the ratio (relative risk) compared with the group that consumed the least total dairy. That might be a legitimate concern. For example, if there is only 1 case per 100,000 women who consumed <1 serving per day, compared with 1.4 cases per 100,000 who consumed 3 or more servings — that would be less concerning than if there were 1000 cases among those who consumed less than one serving per day, vs. 1,400 cases among those who consumed 3+ servings/day. Because the excess number of cases in the first scenario is 0.4, vs. 400 in the second scenario.

    However, the authors DO give you the total numbers: they had 669 cases of invasive adenocarcinoma among the 68,019 women who completed the baseline dietary questionnaire and were eligible for analysis. This means the overall rate of invasive cancer was 984 per 100,000. So, as a gross estimate, you would say that if you increased from <1 to 3+ servings, you'd have an additional 41% of cases, namely about 403 more cancer cases per 100,000 women.

    I hope this helps some. Epidemiologic studies are not easy to interpret. But before you accuse someone of "disingenuousness and cherry-picking of stats", you should be sure you have the facts.

    Dr. Jon
    PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
    Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org.

  11. HELP!!

    At the age of 40 I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis. My endocrinologist told me that I obviously didn’t consume enough dairy or drink enough milk as a child and that a male at 40 should never have this. I was referred to a specialist who wanted to put me on medications. Initially it was thought I may have had Imperfecta, however this was ruled out after genetic testing. I had several fractures as a child and most recently have had stress fractures followed by bone marrow edema in my feet. 12 years later I have discovered the plant based lifestyle. I only went on the meds for about 6 months but came off of them after doing my own research and reading. Can I improve my bone density? I gave up all meat 3 years ago and for almost a year have eliminated all dairy and do my best not to consume any oil. Any insight would be appreciated. I can’t tell you how down this gets me at times. Thanks

    1. Med5031, you definitely can increase bone density. Start with an alkaline diet, can look up a chart for how acid or alkaline foods are.
      Then make sure you are getting enough vitamin D, B12, Boron, Magnesium and vitamin K2.
      It’s not necessary to eat dairy to get calcium. In fact, dairy has been linked to lower bone density. Many vegetables are high in calcium, especially greens. (But not spinach, it has calcium, but the calcium is bound.)
      Make sure you get enough protein, but not too much. Plant proteins are more alkaline.
      I don’t have time to post all the relevant studies, but you can look them up. Just put in the nutrient name, osteoporosis or bone density, and nih in your search engine.
      Exercise, especially Resistance, is very necessary to improve bone strength. You should be working out, both cardio and resistance at least 5 days a week. Walking will strengthen bone in lower body, but won’t protect against fractures in wrist etc. Work up to 1 hour a day of some kind of exercise, and sit as little time as you possibly can.
      Weight lifting is also important.
      Hope this helps.

      1. Dr. Greger has some good videos and the comments on those videos sometimes got interesting.

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/prunes-for-osteoporosis/

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-the-prevention-of-osteoporosis/

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/alkaline-diets-animal-protein-and-calcium-loss/

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/long-term-vegan-bone-health/

        Shake your soy milk

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/calcium-absorption-soy-milk-versus-cow-milk/

        Take your Vitamin D

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-the-institute-of-medicine-arrived-at-their-vitamin-d-recommendation/

        Exercise, for sure.

        My gadget, which was used by NASA for astronauts who lost bone density in space is:

        MicroPulse ICES PEMF developed by Bob Dennis

        The cheapest one is $429 or something like that. The more flexible ones, which can be used for a greater range of things run from $650 to slighly over $1000, but the same technology is in the cheapie one. I have an M1 which is wearable and a C5, which treats more than one body part at a time.

        It is excellent for wound healing and pain management and improving circulation and decreasing inflammation, etc.

        Regrowing bone and cartilage are 2 of the things I use it for, though it takes a very long time to regrow cartilage- the cartilage study was 2 years. I think the bone re-growing didn’t take as long. They did a study where you see that the gap in bone filled in when treated with the ICES.

        This isn’t Bob’s site, but this came up first when I googled and it does have his pictures of bones filling in with the technology. (Warning, it is not vegan-friendly. He started with animal studies, but is past there.) If you buy one, I would go to his official site.

        https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0724/8613/files/MCP48__B5.pdf

    2. Milk is an awful source of calcium. I literally am from a dairy family who drink milk constantly and osteoporosis and osteopenia is rampant in my family members of both sexes. Even ones who married into the family.

  12. So is it safe to drink organic milk or cows not fed on GMO products (i.e. grass fed milk)? If it isn’t, are you saying that the labels saying no hormones given to the cows may be inaccurate? Are there any commercial dairies that do not use the methods you describe? If so, where can we find out which in our area are safe?

    Not enough info in this story.

    1. Cathleen, From my reasoning, I don’t need this video to convince me that cows milk is not good for adult human consumption. Without doing any studies at all, I can reason that if the purpose of cows milk is to make a newborn calf grow into a full grown cow in a relatively short period of time, then what it does to the human body is not going to be good. And this line of reasoning applies to “grass-fed” happy cows as well as those grown in a modern milk production facility where additional hormones are added.

      1. Wow, I just can’t see any debate at all on this topic Darwin Galt ! No other animal suckles on another species (except extreme interventions with orphaned animals), and none drink past weaning age. How can people not see how ludricrous the dairy industry is? Not to mention the cruelty involved!

        1. and none drink past weaning age.
          ———————————————-
          The reason a calf doesn’t drink past weaning age is because their teeth grow and they hurt the mother’s teats. If not for that maybe the cow doesn’t kick the calf off (literally.) I promise you the calf would keep sucking even as a young adult if the cow would let them.

      2. Cathleen, there are harmful hormones in all milk, doesn’t matter if it’s organic, grass fed, etc.
        Why is cow milk necessary? There are so many healthy plant milks to choose from. Why take the chance of getting breast cancer? And, I note breast cancer in men is on the rise also.

    2. Cathleen Caffrey, it doesn’t matter whether it’s non-GMO, grass fed or what. Pregnant cows are loaded with hormones. Period. All animals have hormones. It’s a simple concept.

      Maybe you need to watch the video again. But first clear your mind of the brainwashing from the organic dairy industry that some cows don’t have hormones. It’s just not possible. They’re just saying their product is better because they don’t add hormones to the hormones that are already there.

      Hormone free milk. There ain’t no such animal.

      1. Which is why, even though I’ve stopped using liquid milk, I eat dairy yogurt at least once a day b/c its turned out to be an excellent treatment for my otherwise miserable postmenopausal vaginal dryness. The last time I bought Premarin Cream it was $400/tube and had all but stopped working; the plant-derived Vagifem actually cost MORE. Endometrial cancer not a concern (its all been gone since the end of 2000). The other problem with the Premarin is that the estrogen is taken from the urine of pregnant mares (each one wears her collection bag); after the foals are born they are parted from their mothers WAY too early so that the mares will come in heat again soon. Another product derived from animal abuse.

    3. Many of those labels on non organic milk products are intentionally misleading. For example most milk bottlers only bottle. They do not handle actual cows and milking, only trucks of milk coming in. Yet many of these companies say ‘Such-and-Such brand does not use rBST’. Of course they don’t, hard to inject a bottling machine. Yet do they bother tracking the farmers they purchase raw milk from? When I was with Pure Food Campaign we would call them up and question this hoping to put the company on the ‘good list’ and more often than not would be rudely hung up on. They intentionally mislead using the dubious claim strictly to market product knowing full well that the FDA does not bother AT ALL to verify any claims on rBGH beyond organic labeling.

    1. It’s just milk with a whole bunch of live yeast and bacteria added. There is no single formula and therefore many of those strains of bacteria and yeast may vary between individyual kefir brands and products. Because of mutations, the precise mix of live bacteria and yeasts may even vary between batches of the same product/brand.

      1. Tom, nutritionally ‘just’ milk is just about as good at it gets. Fermented or unfermented. ‘Typical of milk, several dietary minerals are found in kefir, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, molybdenum, manganese, and zinc 24] Also similar to milk,[22] kefir contains vitamins in variable amounts, including vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E.[24] Essential amino acids found in kefir include methionine, cysteine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine, lysine, and valine,[24] as for any milk product.[22]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir

        Those friendly bacteria reduce flatulence, promote motility of the bowels (ahh, regularity!) and offer relief to upset stomachs. And the benefits continue well after you’ve polished off a serving. The bacteria and yeast in kefir — unlike those in yogurt — can actually colonize your gastrointestinal tract and stay there for a long period of time.
        Research has found that kefir contains kefiran, a polysaccharide associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol in animal studies. It’s also loaded with B vitamins and tryptophan, which fend off stress and produce a calming effect. Who doesn’t need that?
        If you’re one of the 30 to 50 million Americans who struggle with lactose intolerance, kefir may be a good option for you. The fermentation process removes most of the irritating lactose from the milk

        Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN

        https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/why-is-kefir-good-for-me#1

        As it contains Lactobacillus bacteria, kefir can be used to make a sourdough bread. It is also useful as a buttermilk substitute in baking. Kefir is one of the main ingredients in borscht in Lithuania, also known in Poland as Lithuanian cold soup (chłodnik litewski), and other countries. Kefir-based soup okroshka is common across the former Soviet Union. Kefir may be used in place of milk on cereal, granola, milkshakes, salad dressing, ice cream, smoothies and soup.

        1. Thanks Pete.

          I’d still be cautious about the full fat kefirs because of the increased CVD risk associated with full fat dairy in general. Also, I am never quite clear if the claimed benefits are mainly attributed to the goats’ milk version alone or to all kefirs equally.

          There’s not a lot of good quality human studies on these but a major problem with trying to identify health effects must be the variability between individual kefirs since it’s not a standardised product.

          1. Tom,

            For 40 years we have been taught saturated fat, or more specifically dairy fat is a cardiovascular disease risk. Moreover, we should replace saturated dairy fat with PUFA’s. However, the evidence is increasingly trending in the opposite direction. In moderation, dairy fat appears protective against cardiovascular disease and stroke. Including via a sex-dependent compensatory mechanism which removes excess cholesterol in blood circulation in men ….but not women. The latter having an innate compensatory mechanism. Nonetheless, women obtain a net benefit with the consumption of mono-unsaturated fats. Neither gender obtain a benefit from PUFA consumption. On this basis, 40 years of replacing dairy fat with PUFAs has been harmful not helpful.

            CEC – The Beneficial Process

            Increased cholesterol efflux capacity (CEC) decreases CVD risk (a reverse cholesterol process) …and dairy fat increases CEC. (dairy fats reduce excess serum cholesterol). Butter more so than cheese. Substituting mono-unsaturated fats for cheese significantly increased CEC in women, but not men. Clearly, it is not simply a case of dairy fats being good or bad. The evidence is suggesting they reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly in men – and more so in the form of butter rather than cheese. That is, it is subject to gender and the food matrix. Moreover, substitution of mono-unsaturated fats for dairy fats appears to enhance the benefit, but only in women. (which may be a good argument for combined xv olive oil and dairy fats?)

            ‘This provides further support to the hypothesis that the food matrix modifies the association between SFAs and CAD risk. The increase in HDL-mediated CEC seen with SFAs from butter paralleled the increase in LDL-cholesterol among men, but not among women, which may reflect a sex-dependent compensatory mechanism required for the management of excess cholesterol in the circulation’.

            ‘Thus far, 2 studies tested if the HDL-mediated cholesterol efflux capacity (CEC) is associated with incident cardiovascular events in the general population. They found that increased CEC is associated with lower CVD risk independent of the HDL-C concentration.’ Jul 18, 2019

            Combined these data demonstrate that in the general population baseline CEC is significantly associated with the future development of CVD events independent of HDL-C and apoA-I plasma levels.

            https://ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.312645

            ‘How SFAs from butter and cheese influence HDL-mediated cholesterol efflux capacity (CEC), a key process in reverse cholesterol transport, is currently unknown’.

            ….the increase in HDL-mediated CEC after BUTTER compared with CHEESE was significant among men (+6.0%, P = 0.047) but not women (+2.9%, P = 0.19), whereas the increase after MUFA compared with CHEESE was significant among women (+9.1%, P = 0.008) but not men (–0.6%, P = 0.99).

            … ‘The diet rich in SFAs from butter significantly increased HDL-mediated CEC compared with SFAs from cheese. Consumption of MUFAs also increased HDL-mediated CEC, while PUFAs had no effect’.

            …’with men being more responsive to SFAs from butter and women being more responsive to MUFAs’.

            Summary
            Increase in HDL-mediated CEC, Butter Vs Cheese

            Men + 6%

            Women + 2.9%

            Increase in HDL-mediated CEC with mono-unsaturated fats Vs Cheese

            Men minus 0.6%

            Women +9.1%

            Conclusion
            ‘These results provide evidence of a food matrix effect modulating the impact of dairy SFAs on HDL-mediated CEC with potential sex-related differences that deserve further investigation’.

            …’In conclusion, data from this randomized controlled trial suggest that SFAs from butter have a greater influence on ex vivo HDL-mediated CEC and on HDL physical characteristics than SFAs from cheese. This provides further support to the hypothesis that the food matrix modifies the association between SFAs and CAD risk. The increase in HDL-mediated CEC seen with SFAs from butter paralleled the increase in LDL-cholesterol among men, but not among women, which may reflect a sex-dependent compensatory mechanism required for the management of excess cholesterol in the circulation’.

            https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/148/4/573/4965926

            These findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting dairy fat is beneficial:

            ‘Otto et al. found the fatty acids in dairy were not significantly associated with mortality, total incident CVD, coronary heart disease or stroke. The researchers found heptadecanoic acid was associated with a 42 percent lower risk of stroke mortality, compared to extreme heptadecanoic acid concentrations. Heptadecanoic acid was also associated with a higher risk of non-CVD mortality but it was not clearly related to a specific type of non-CVD mortality’.

            https://www.cardiovascularbusiness.com/topics/vascular-endovascular/full-fat-dairy-body

            1. Pete,

              I guess I still see that in the Finland studies to improve their risk of heart attacks and Alzheimer’s, it was saturated fats, which they went off of and Dr. Barnard took people off of saturated fats and succeeded at reversing Type 2 Diabetes.

              I got rid of all of my disease symptoms going off of dairy and lowering saturated fats.

              This whole WFPB movement reversing peoples’ diseases is what I lift up as the “opposing view” to what you are saying.

              So many people are reversing their diseases getting off of saturated fats and dairy was the only thing I had left to get off of, but it wasn’t until I got off of it that I did see the reverse in disease symptoms.

            2. Pete

              You didn’t see the contradiction between the claim you made and the following statement you offered?

              ‘These findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting dairy fat is beneficial:
              ‘Otto et al. found the fatty acids in dairy were not significantly associated with mortality, total incident CVD, coronary heart disease or stroke’.

              I don’t see any beneficial effects there – and that was from a study led by Mozaffarian, somebody with a record of publishing pro-dairy studies. Nor do I see how a study arguing that butter is less unhealthful than cheese somehow proves that dairy id healthful.

              The dairy industry is certainly keen to play down the risks of eg saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium because those things are either high in dairy foods (saturated fat and sodium) or raised by consuming such foods (plasma cholesterol levels).

              The dairy industry funds a lot of carefully designed studies which present dairy foods as healthful or at least harmless. They get a lot of media attention. The HDL issue is an example. Multiple trials have been conducted where HDL cholesterol was raised. However, no clinical benefits have been observed. It appears therefore to be a risk marker rather than a modifiable risk factor. Yet studies are still presented saying this or that dairy food will raise HDL cholersterol and thereby benefit cardiovascular health.

              As for your statement that ‘On this basis, 40 years of replacing dairy fat with PUFAs has been harmful not helpful.’, my understanding is that the evidence shows exactly the opposite:

              “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”
              https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/10/25/dairy-fat-cardiovascular-disease-risk/

              The scientific panel convened by the AHA to review the evidence on dairy fats and CVD came to the same conclusion

              ‘Prospective observational studies in many populations showed that lower intake of saturated fat coupled with higher intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat is associated with lower rates of CVD and of other major causes of death and all-cause mortality. In contrast, replacement of saturated fat with mostly refined carbohydrates and sugars is not associated with lower rates of CVD and did not reduce CVD in clinical trials. Replacement of saturated with unsaturated fats lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a cause of atherosclerosis, linking biological evidence with incidence of CVD in populations and in clinical trials. Taking into consideration the totality of the scientific evidence, satisfying rigorous criteria for causality, we conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of CVD.’
              https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

              Clinical trials also support the conclusions from these obserbvational studies.

              If you are the dairy industry though you want to encourage studies that compare diets high in dairy with with diets high in meat and/or high in simple carbohydrates (as most Western diets are). As the AHA’s scientific panel observed

              ”Clinical trials that used polyunsaturated fat to replace saturated fat reduced the incidence of CVD.9,10 In contrast, trials that used mainly carbohydrates to replace saturated fat did not reduce CVD. However, the types of carbohydrate-containing foods were often unspecified and typically included sugar and other refined carbohydrates to maintain energy balance. Evidence from prospective observational studies indicates that carbohydrates from whole grains reduce CVD when they replace saturated fat.18″
              https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

              1. Tom,

                Just as general comment. Being contradictory is probably preferable to being absolutist, particularly unjustifiably so. Research is full of contradictions – which is a function of both bias and unresolved complexity. The latter restricts our ability to adequately process data. I suspect we will not get closer to a more absolute truth until quantum computers analyse the data. If they are capable of breaking every bit of encrypted data known to mankind, they may well be capable of discovering the truth in regards many of these issues. Who knows, there may be multiple truths?

                That aside, if ‘Otto et al. found the fatty acids in dairy were not significantly associated with mortality, total incident CVD, coronary heart disease or stroke’, then the contradictions may apply more to those who have claimed for decades dairy fatty acids are harmful. Whether they are beneficial is another matter again. The majority (but not all) of the latest studies suggest they are beneficial. The trend is definitely in dairy’s favour. The latest studies I sent provide possible reasons why (milk’s ability to process excess cholesterol, counteracting the effects of excessive salt, circulating phospholipid pentadecanoic, heptadecanoic, or trans-palmitoleic acids) with Otto describing circulating heptadecanoic acid as being inversely associated with CVD and stroke mortality. That is, I did not contradict myself as you suggest.
                But, to make myself unambiguously clear; the evidence suggests dairy is health beneficial, but it also depends on the food-matrix. For example, dairy consumption in the absence of (say) a plant-based diet may transform dairy into being more harmful rather than helpful. Moreover, there may be gender differences. I rather expect this is where the truth probably lies.

                I dont accept your argument on Harvard University’s Mozaffarian. He is one of the multiple researchers on that research paper, and has a patent on a dairy isolate. This does make him a dairy flunkie any more than Myong et al or Westfall et al or Sair are vegan flunkies in regards their soy isolate patents: https://patents.google.com/patent/US7332192B2/en , https://patents.google.com/patent/US5270450A/en , https://patents.google.com/patent/US3635726

                In regards HDL, the studies I have read suggest that saturated dairy fat increases both LDL (bad) and HDL (bad) cholesterol. Seems to me there is still a great deal to learn about cholesterol.

                In regards: ‘Prospective observational studies in many populations showed that lower intake of saturated fat coupled with higher intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat is associated with lower rates of CVD and of other major causes of death and all-cause mortality

                These latest studies suggest dairy fat reduces CVD risk in men, but (paradoxically) increases all-cause mortality (food matrix?) and in women a higher proportion of mono-unsaturated fat seems protective.

                They also suggest substituting dairy fat with PUFAs has no benefit.

                ‘Carbohydrates from whole grains reduce CVD when they replace saturated fat’. I would argue that the optimal diet has a combination of plants, complex carbs and dairy fat. It is not a case of either/or.

        2. Isn’t it estimated that about 95% of the population over the age of 10 have a negative intolerance, or allergic reaction to milk? Most people I know can’t drink it.

          End

            1. Jumbo, Well I certainly have a good percentage of American Indian and my wife is Hispanic and has both Spanish and American Indian heritage. Including my daughter all three of us have problems with dairy. In school she had to have a note from a dr to be exempt from having milk as her main drink, wow! I could tolerate it up to the time I started drinking beer, which was late 20’s. I know shouldn’t drink beer or milk to be healthy, but that was a long time ago. But it appears, based on people I know, who started drinking beer earlier, it sets off the milk side effects-cascade sooner than later. Never seen any thing in writing on this, but in high school those few who drank beer absolutely could not tolerate milk.

              End

                1. They are trying to say it’s only osmotic pressure that causes a problem. Not the lactose itself? So if drinkers are not drinking , they maybe able to consume milk and not have problems? (Maybe) But I can assure you when this stated happening to me, I was drinking less than 2 beers a day.

                  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/9261602/?i=4&from=/3728351/related In this one they talk about a paralysis of the muscle contractions of the intestine but I don’t appear to have that problem either. But I really don’t. See the correlation to dairy as I suggest. So perhaps I’ve given it more weight based on people I know. But to me doesn’t appear to answer the question.

                  End

          1. DArmstrong

            My understanding is that 65% of the world population is lactose intolerant. However, most people of Northern European descent are lactose tolerant = although even there, tolerance decreases as we age.

            1. Tom, thanks. of that 65% how many drink beer. Or of those 35% that doesn’t have lactose intolerance how many of those drink beer. To me, it’s uncanny how quickly milk intolerance happened, along side the fact, it coincided with consumption of beer. Never the less, the more I stay away from dairy the better I feel.

              Asthma, accumulation of sinus mucus and mucus that too thick. Barf .

              End

    1. John Volk,

      There was a vegan comic who did a milk section.

      About how people get the cows pregnant, separate the baby cows from the mother cow, drink the milk, which was specifically meant for those baby cows and then we put pictures of our human children who are separated from their mothers on the milk bottles.

      Yes, it doesn’t sound funny because it is true, but it was a very effective stand-up session.

      The fact that I still remember the logic, I know that it really reached me.

  13. Note that the risk for endometrial CA becomes significant only at or over 3 servings per day. This should have been stated in this video for those who aren’t familiar with confidence intervals and other statistical data. I never recommend dairy and tell people soy milk is a much better choice and to use almond milk if they don’t like the taste. It’s very possible there is a sub-population of women whose risk for this CA is higher at lower levels of dairy intake because of other predisposing factors. But it seems clear that eating a serving of dairy one in a while (ice cream once a month? Wine and cheese platter on special occasions?) doesn’t represent a great risk; once again, habitual intake is the problem, not occasional exposures.

  14. I haven’t eaten meat in over 20 years. Three years ago I gave up all dairy and eggs, and went off birth control pills. I was on the pill for about 30 years which now scares me to death. Will my previous exposure to all these hormones put me at greater risk for cancer, even though I’ve eliminated them from my diet now? Thanks for your help.

  15. Playing the devil’s advocate here, but wouldn’t the Maruyama 2010 study have been better supported with a placebo control group?

    I mean, I get that the measured before:after matched pairs design where a person acts as their own control is probably the most powerful statistical test out there, but could we also interpret this as a hormonal response after eating… anything? What if the subjects don’t absorb hormones at all, and this is just a universal postprandial reaction?

    Or am I just an idiot and that hypothesis has been tested before in some other context, and I just missed the relevant literature citation?

  16. Hi Doc
    I belong to the American Legion. We had a speaker today that was exposed to Agent Orange. Vets are getting prostate cancer from AO. It was sad that this speaker who was relatively healthy, said he was waiting for cancer to come get him. Has there been a study on Agent Orange and plant based Diets???
    I would like to be able to pass that info along to our Vets.
    Thanks

    1. Eric,

      From what I have read, there is a list of condtions which are correlated with Agent Orange. They cannot prove causality.

      When I looked up a page, they listed things such as Diabetes, Prostate Cancer, Hypertension, Ischemic Heart Disease, and various other cancers.

      There were people who were managing their conditions with diet and the author of the article said that they still treat the conditions the same way, so if you look up the WFPB studies on Diabetes and Prostate Cancer, etc. you will find the answers you are seeking of how to deal with the condition. The experts quoted in the article mentioned that standard advice of what to do to prevent and manage chronic health conditions still applies and that is more important than what caused the health problems.

      Dr. Ornish series for Heart Disease and Prostate Cancer. People might be able to do his program for free. People on Medicare can and I have no idea if vets would get to have it paid for, too. Vets have different systems.

      Dr. Barnard and Dr. Fuhrman and the Mastering Diabetes site for Diabetes. Dr. McDougall can be on that list, too. He has said that people have gotten off of Type 2 Diabetes with his diet. It is more that Dr. Barnard did a study on the topic.

    2. Several readers have addressed this questions with helpful comments. When you look at what the VA says about disease conditions recognized as “Presumptive” certainly most if not all of them are ones strongly affected by nutrient dense whole foods, so encouraging review of NutritionFacts.org on each of these conditions make good sense.

  17. I notice sometimes in some grains there’s a blue colour on them. I’ve been picking them out. Should I be concerned? A question about ergot. How to tell if the grain is infected by ergot? The infected head looks different but are the other heads on the stalk, that otherwise look normal, poisoned?

      1. Thanks for the suggestion to search Google images. The grain is not that bad. Just a faint gray-blue hue on an otherwise beige seed. The blue tinge is on the surface and extends about a millimetre into the seed. I’m thinking about the infected ones contaminating ones that look OK because they’ve come into direct contact with the infected ones.

  18. Hello
    I have a question regarding soy and the thyroid drug synthroid.
    My 73 year old sister has taken synthroid for years, and as I have now encouraged her to work towards a plant base diet she is using soy milk and tofu.
    Are there any negative effects of soy on this medication?
    In addition she had asthma and Copd,
    any issues with soy on those conditions?
    Thank you
    Becky Johnson

  19. Soy can affect effect of synthroid, so your sister should consult with her doctor because a change in dosage (NOT a change in diet) may be recommended.
    Why don’t both you and your sister schedule a dr’s visit to advise the dr. about her soy usage?. You can use this as a resource to focus the discussion:https://www.synthroid.com/starting/taking-synthroid-the-right-way
    If the doctor is not supportive of a plant based diet, be prepared to educate him or her with what you’ve learned, sharing some of NutritionFacts videos,in case the doctor just recommends “no soy.” . Glad your able to support your sister towards healthier nutrition.

    1. “your sister should consult with her doctor because a change in dosage (NOT a change in diet) may be recommended.” I love this advise Joan. Most times I hear your food interacts with medication so stop the food, but medication is almost always had more side effects than medicine. This is why I love this site.

    1. Mr Goose,

      Take Mother Goose’s very wise advice. She is not so stupid as to believe the ‘dairy-bashing’ on Nutritionfacts. It is veganism masquerading as nutritional science. Filter out any advice it gives on dairy, and stick instead to the less adulterated advice on plant-based foods.

  20. You said you sent your wife links from NutritionFacts.org. Did you sit down calmly and ask her to view with you so you could tell her why you found those believable (and then watch the video she sent you (BTW the link you gave wasn’t right-it lead to a NFO video!) Anyway if you could ask her who the researcher is who presented the video and what the research sources were that might be helpful. Go to that youtube beforehand to see if you can pick out serious flaws.
    Again just sending dueling links probably won’t convince her, but if you patiently present her with valid reasons why you disagree, that may work.
    If not you can just continue drinking your nut-based milk and she may realize it’s not a big change and join you. (‘Don’t know what NFO videos you sent your wife, but going to the topic, then choosing appropriate videos show how diary can negatively affect adult women might be a more focused approach.) Here is another article you may want to review with your wife: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22081693 “Dairy products and cancer.”
    Hope you continue to learn from NFO and eventually your wife comes around!

    1. Joan,

      ….just to clarify, the research you reference state milk REDUCES the risk of colorectal and bladder cancer, but increase the risk of prostate cancer.
      This hardly supports the alarmist cancer claims made about dairy over the years (post T.Colin Campbell) Moreover, the following is the latest study (of 49,472 US men), on the association between milk consumption and prostate cancer.
      About 8% of these men contracted prostate cancer:

      ‘Our findings do not support the previously reported harmful impact of dairy consumption on overall prostate cancer risk among men in the United States’.
      ‘Total dairy products had no statistically significant association with prostate cancer risk for highest quartile compared with lowest quartile’

      Preble et al. 2019

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6683061/

      This research was funded by the Oregon Health and Science University/Oregon State University Cancer Prevention and Control Initiative (PHR030-PV07).
      *Conflicts of Interest*

      The authors declare no conflict of interest.

      This brings into serious question previous studies linking milk with prostate cancer. Which also brings into question Dr Gregers highly forensic (but also highly speculative) report on the dangers of milk consumption.
      Implicating IGFs etc etc.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dairy-and-cancer/

      It would be nice if Dr Greger’s video was updated to include this latest data, but I am not holding my breath.

      On the evidence, I doubt prostate cancer and dairy are linked, except perhaps where there is an excessively high calcium diet in the absence of fruit and vegetables, esp. leafy greens. This may be asking for trouble, particularly in elderly men. As with cardiovascular disease, the food matrix is far more important than generally realised. I expect this is why the Mediterranean diet is so beneficial. All the elements in balance.

      1. Not sure about you Pete, But getting off the dairy milk was one of best things my family has done. When my daughter used to get rashes on her face after drinking it. I told her school not to give her milk. We are so brainwashed that milk is great , the school told me “you have to get a doctors note for that”. That’s insane! Lots sinus and chest problems went away after getting off milk. Several of my wife’s family did the same with similar results. So drink all the puss juice you want, But as for me and my family, we will look elsewhere for that “nutrition” .

        End

        1. No one is suggesting anyone consume milk if allergic to it. Likewise peanuts or tree nuts, etc. However, 98% of children do not have a milk allergy. For the remaining 2% milk can be a very serious problem. Most (but not all) children grow out of the allergy in adulthood, however they may increase their risk of lactose intolerance (an intolerance rather than an allergy) as they age. I expect if one has a true adult allergy to milk it will be very obvious to them. The symptoms will be extremely unpleasant.
          Soy based milk is not always the solution for infants as they are often allergic to soy as well. Hypoallergenic milk formulas for infants is one option. They pre-digest (break down) milk proteins casein or whey.

          There are maybe three choices for those who are lactose intolerant. Low lactose milk, A2 milk (maybe??), plant-based milk alternatives.
          I do not recommend milk unless it is from pastured cows. For all the same reasons given by Dr Greger in regards industrialised dairy. It is probably the one thing we agree on in terms of dairy.

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