Demonizing dairy

October 12, 2010 

A recent column by Suzanne Hobbs suggested that dairy products are harmful to our health. Unfortunately, she either presented no data or cherry-picked the research to make her points, demonizing an entire food group. She linked dairy foods to the risk for heart disease; however, a 2009 analysis of 12 studies involving close to 300,000 people found no such association (and rates of heart disease are historically lower in both France and Italy where dairy intake is common).

She also cited relationships to ovarian and prostate cancer. However, a 2006 analysis of studies done on more than 500,000 women found only a modest elevation in risk associated with a lactose intake of three or more servings of milk (yogurt and cheeses have less lactose) and a 2008 analysis of 45 studies found no association with prostate cancer.

Finally, she failed to mention research that has consistently found an association between dairy intake and reduced colon cancer risk and the evidence for a direct relationship between dairy foods and blood pressure reduction.

It is difficult for the public to make an informed decision about their diets when the information they are given is incomplete at best and misleading at worst.

Sarah Ash

Raleigh

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