Health Panel Decries Attacks on Milk
New York, NY, October, 1999. Scientists and physicians associated with
the American Council on Science and Health
(ACSH) reject charges that milk and dairy
products, the most widely used source of
dietary calcium in the United States, are
not healthful components of the American
diet. This allegation is particularly irresponsible
in light of the inadequate intake of calcium
by vulnerable segments of the population.
In an updated report, Much Ado About Milk,
ACSH reviews current scientific literature
that supports the use of milk and dairy products
to supply dietary calcium, as well as protein,
magnesium and zinc.
Activist groups, particularly the Physicians'
Committee for Responsible Medicine
have charged that cows' milk causes
variety of ailmentsólike anemia, allergies
and type 1 diabetesóbut when such charges
are thoroughly investigated, they are
to be without merit.
Unmodified cows' milk, when fed to
infants, can indeed cause some bleeding
the gastrointestinal tract which could
to anemia. Such an occurrence should
as no reputable authority advises feeding
babies under one year of age anything
human breast milk or formula. And cows'
formulas have been heat-treated to
the type of problem that can be caused
True milk allergy, typically to the
found in cows' milk, is quite rare,
usually outgrown. Lactose intolerance,
is prevalent among some ethnic groups,
not an absolute contraindication to
and dairy consumption. States Dr. Elizabeth
Whelan, ACSH president, "Even
with lactose intolerance can consume
2 cups of milk per day. They should
do so, since research has shown that
rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat
products can help lower blood pressure."
The link between cows' milk consumption
diabetes in infants is tenuous at best.
some research has supported such a
recent theory supports the view that
real issue is the immaturity of the
infant's gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
the GI tract has matured, other proteins
(even those from soy-based formulas)
increase the risk of diabetes. Research
this area is active, and more information
will undoubtedly be available within
next few years.
"ACSH agrees with the recommendations
of the American Academy of Pediatrics,
state that the most appropriate food
young infants is human breast milk
formula." stated Dr. Ruth Kava,
director of nutrition. "After
of one year," she continued, "it
is appropriate for children to drink
Other charges include one that calcium
milk and dairy products does not help
osteoporosis late in life. Many studies
found, however, that the calcium in
is better absorbed than that of most
foods, and that ample dietary calcium
required for building and maintaining
Dr. Gilbert Ross, ACSH medical director
"The attempts by extremist groups
rescind current recommendations for
and dairy consumption are ill-advised
certainly not supported by the scientific
data. Their suggestions would certainly
improve public health."
The American Council on Science and
is a consortium of over 250 physicians
|For more information contact:
The American Council on Science
1995 Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10023-5860