Milk is no longer recommended or required by doctors

Milk is no longer recommended or required by doctors

The risks of consuming cow's milk are greatest for infants under one year of age, for whom whole cow's milk can contribute to deficiencies of several nutrients, including iron, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E. The Academy of Pediatrics Americana [1] recommends that infants under one year of age do not consume whole cow's milk.

Dairy products are very low in iron [2], containing only about 1 to 10 milligrams (mg) per eight-ounce serving. To get the US Recommended Daily Allowance (15 mg of iron), a child would have to drink more than 31 glasses of milk a day. Milk can also cause blood loss from the intestinal tract, which, over time, reduces the body's iron stores. Researchers speculate that the blood loss could be a reaction to proteins in milk.3 Pasteurization does not eliminate the problem. Researchers at the University of Iowa recently wrote in the Journal of Pediatrics that “in a large proportion of infants, feeding cow's milk causes a substantial increase in hemoglobin loss. Some infants are delicately sensitive to cow's milk and can lose large amounts of blood. ”[3]

Although the concerns are greatest for children in the first year of life, there are also health concerns related to milk consumption among older children and some problems associated with infant cow's milk preparations.

Milk Proteins and Diabetes

Several reports link insulin-dependent diabetes to a specific protein in dairy products. This form of diabetes usually begins in childhood. It is the leading cause of blindness and contributes to heart disease, kidney damage, and amputations due to poor circulation.

Studies from several countries show a strong correlation between the use of dairy products and the incidence of diabetes. [4] A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine [5] adds substantial support to the old theory that cow's milk proteins stimulate the production of antibodies [6] which destroy the pancreatic cells that produce the insulin. [7] In a new report, researchers from Canada and Finland found high levels of antibodies to a specific portion of cow's milk protein, called bovine serum albumin, in 100 percent of the 142 diabetic children they studied at the time the disease began. diagnosed. Non-diabetic children may have such antibodies, but only at much lower levels. Evidence suggests that the combination of a genetic predisposition and exposure to cow's milk is the major cause of the childhood form of diabetes, although there is no way to determine which children are genetically predisposed. Antibodies can appear to be formed in response to small amounts of dairy products, including baby bottle formula.

Destruction of pancreatic cells occurs gradually, especially after infections, which cause cellular proteins to be exposed to antibody damage. Diabetes becomes apparent when 80 to 90 percent of the insulin-producing beta cells are destroyed.

Milk proteins are also among the most common causes of food allergies. Often times, the cause of symptoms is not recognized for substantial periods of time.

Milk Sugar and Health Problems

Many people, particularly those of Asian and African descent, cannot digest lactose, or milk sugar. The result of its consumption is to suffer from diarrhea and gas. For those who can digest lactose, its by-products are two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. Galactose has been implicated in ovarian cancer [8] and cataracts. [9,10] Nursing children have active enzymes that break down galactose. With age, many of us lose much of this ability.

Fat Content

Whole milk, cheeses, creams, butter, ice cream, sour cream, and all other dairy products - other than skimmed and fat-free products - contain significant amounts of saturated fat, including cholesterol, which contribute to high blood pressure. cardiovascular diseases and certain forms of cancer. The early changes in heart disease have been recorded in American adolescents. While children do require a certain amount of fat in their diets, there is no nutritional requirement for fat from cow's milk. In contrast, cow's milk is high in saturated fat, but low in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid.


Milk contains frequent contaminants, from pesticides to drugs. About a third of milk products have been shown to be contaminated with small amounts of antibiotics. The vitamin D content of milk has been poorly regulated. Recent tests of 42 milk samples found only 12 percent within the expected range for vitamin D content. Testing of 10 bottle formula samples revealed that 7 products contain more than twice the vitamin D content reported on the label, and that one of them had more than four times the amount on the label. [11] Excess vitamin D is toxic. [12]


Dairy products offer a false sense of security to those concerned about osteoporosis. In countries where dairy products are not generally consumed, there is actually less osteoporosis than in the United States. Studies have shown small effects of dairy products on osteoporosis. [13] The Harvard Nurses' Health Study followed 78,000 women over a 12-year period and found that milk did not protect them against broken bones. In fact, those who drank three glasses of milk a day had more fractures than those who rarely drank milk. [14]

There are many good sources of calcium. Cauliflower, broccoli, and other green leafy vegetables contain high levels of calcium that are easily absorbed by the body. A recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that the ability to absorb calcium was actually higher for cauliflower than for milk, and concluded that "vegetables such as cauliflower can be considered at least as good as milk in terms of calcium absorption. ”[15] Grains are also rich in calcium. Fortified orange juice supplies large amounts of calcium in a pleasant way. [16]

Calcium is one of the many factors that affect bones. Other factors include hormones, phosphorus, boron, exercise, smoking, alcohol, and drugs. [17-20] Protein is also important in calcium balance. Protein-rich diets, particularly animal protein, promote calcium loss. [21-23]


There is no established nutritional requirement for dairy products, and there are serious health problems related to protein, sugar, fat, and contaminants in dairy products. Therefore, the following recommendations are offered:

Breastfeeding is the preferred method, as it is healthier, more complete and natural for feeding infants. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, whole cow's milk should not be given to infants less than one year of age.

Parents should be alerted to the potential risks that drinking cow's milk brings to their children.

Cow's milk should not be required or recommended in government regulations.

Government programs, such as school lunch programs, should be consistent with these recommendations.


[1] American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Nutrition. "The use of whole cow’s milk in infancy." Pediatrics 1992; 89: 1105-9.

[2] Pennington JAT, Church HN. "Food values ​​of portions commonly used". New York, Harper and Row, 1989.

[3] Ziegler EE, Fomon SJ, Nelson SE, et al. "Cow milk feeding in infancy: further observations on blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract". J Pediatry 1990; 116: 11-8.

[4] Scott FW. "Cow milk and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: is there a relationship?" Am J CLin Nutr 1990; 51: 489-91.

[5] Karjalainen J, Martin JM, Knip M, et al. "A bovine albumin peptide as a possible trigger of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus". N Engl J Med 1992; 327: 302-7.

[6] Roberton DM, Paganelli R, Dinwiddie R, Levinsky RJ. "Milk antigen absorption in the preterm and term neonate". Arch Dis Child 1982; 57: 369-72.

[7] Bruining GJ, Molenaar J, Tuk CW, Lindeman J, Bruining HA, Marner B. "Clinical time-course and characteristics of islet cell cytoplasmatic antibodies in childhood diabetes". Diabetologia 1984; 26: 24-29.

[8] Cramer DW, Willett WC, Bell DA, et al. "Galactose consumption and metabolism in relation to the risk of ovarian cancer". Lancet 1989; 2: 66-71.

[9] Simoons FJ. "A geographic approach to senile cataracts: possible links with milk consumption, lactase activity, and galactose metabolism". Digestive Diseases and Sciences 1982; 27: 257-64.

[10] Couet C, Jan P, Debry G. "Lactose and cataract in humans: a review". J Am Coll Nutr 1991; 10: 79-86.

[11] Holick MF, Shao Q, Liu WW, Chen TC. "The vitamin D content of fortified milk and infant formula". New Engl J Med 1992; 326: 1178-81.

[12] Jacobus CH, Holick MF, Shao Q, et al. "Hypervitaminosis D associated with drinking milk". New Engl J Med 1992; 326: 1173-7.

[13] Riggs BL, Wahner HW, Melton J, Richelson LS, Judd HL, O'Fallon M. "Dietary calcium intake and rates on bone loss in women". J Clin Invest 1987; 80: 979-82.

[14] Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. "Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study". Am J Publ Health 1997; 87: 992-7.

[15] Heaney RP, Weaver CM. "Calcium absorption from kale". Am J Clin Nutr 1990; 51: 656-7.

[16] Nicar MJ, Pak CYC. "Calcium bioavailability from calcium carbonate and calcium citrate". J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1985; 61: 391-3.

[17] Dawson-Hughes B. "Calcium supplementation and bone loss: a review of controlled clinical trials". Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 54: 274S-80S.

[18] Mazess RB, Barden HS. "Bone density in premenopausal women: effects of age, dietary intake, physical activity, smoking, and birth control pills." Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53: 132-42.

[19] Nelson ME, Fisher EC, Dilmanian FA, Dallal GE, Evans WJ. A 1-y walking program and increased dietary calcium in postmenopausal women: effect on bone. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53: 1304-11.

[20] Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. FASEB J 1987; 1: 394-7.

[21] Zemel MB. Role of the sulfur-containing amino acids in protein-induced hypercalciuria in men. J Nutr 1981; 111: 545.

[22] Hegsted M. Urinary calcium and calcium balance in young men as affected by level of protein and phosphorus intake. J Nutr 1981; 111: 553.

[23] Marsh AG, Sanchez TV, Mickelsen O, Keizer J, Mayor G. Cortical bone density of adult lacto-ovo-vegetarian and omnivorous women. J Am Dietetic Asso 1980; 76: 148-51.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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