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Breast Cancer Truths and Dairy Lies
THE MILK LETTER : A MESSAGE TO MY PATIENTS
Robert M. Kradjian, MD
Breast Surgery Chief Division of General Surgery,
Seton Medical Centre #302 - 1800 Sullivan Ave.
Daly City, CA 94015 USA
WELL, WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Is there any health reason at all for an adult human to drink cows' milk?
It's hard for me to come up with even one good reason other than simple preference. But if you try hard, in my opinion, these would be the best two: milk is a source of calcium and it's a source of amino acids (proteins).
Let's look at the calcium first. Why are we concerned at all about calcium? Obviously, we intend it to build strong bones and protect us against osteoporosis. And no doubt about it, milk is loaded with calcium. But is it a good calcium source for humans? I think not. These are the reasons. Excessive amounts of dairy products actually interfere with calcium absorption. Secondly, the excess of protein that the milk provides is a major cause of the osteoporosis problem. Dr. Hegsted in England has been writing for years about the geographical distribution of osteoporosis. It seems that the countries with the highest intake of dairy products are invariably the countries with the most osteoporosis. He feels that milk is a cause of osteoporosis. Reasons to be given below.
Numerous studies have shown that the level of calcium ingestion and especially calcium supplementation has no effect whatever on the development of osteoporosis. The most important such article appeared recently in the British Journal of Medicine where the long arm of our dairy industry can't reach. Another study in the United States actually showed a worsening in calcium balance in post-menopausal women given three 8-ounce glasses of cows' milk per day. (Am. Journal of Clin. Nutrition, 1985). The effects of hormone, gender, weight bearing on the axial bones, and in particular protein intake, are critically important. Another observation that may be helpful to our analysis is to note the absence of any recorded dietary deficiencies of calcium among people living on a natural diet without milk.
For the key to the osteoporosis riddle, don't look at calcium, look at protein. Consider these two contrasting groups. Eskimos have an exceptionally high protein intake estimated at 25 percent of total calories. They also have a high calcium intake at 2,500 mg/day. Their osteoporosis is among the worst in the world. The other instructive group are the Bantus of South Africa. They have a 12 percent protein diet , mostly plant protein, and only 200 to 350 mg/day of calcium, about half our women's intake. The women have virtually no osteoporosis despite bearing six or more children and nursing them for prolonged periods! When African women immigrate to the United States, do they develop osteoporosis? The answer is yes, but not quite are much as Caucasian or Asian women. Thus, there is a genetic difference that is modified by diet.
To answer the obvious question, "Well, where do you get your calcium?" The answer is: "From exactly the same place the cow gets the calcium, from green things that grow in the ground," mainly from leafy vegetables. After all, elephants and rhinos develop their huge bones (after being weaned) by eating green leafy plants, so do horses. Carnivorous animals also do quite nicely without leafy plants. It seems that all of earth's mammals do well if they live in harmony with their genetic programming and natural food. Only humans living an affluent life style have rampant osteoporosis.
If animal references do not convince you, think of the several billion humans on this earth who have never seen cows' milk. Wouldn't you think osteoporosis would be prevalent in this huge group? The dairy people would suggest this but the truth is exactly the opposite. They have far less than that seen in the countries where dairy products are commonly consumed. It is the subject of another paper, but the truly significant determinants of osteoporosis are grossly excessive protein intakes and lack of weight bearing on long bones, both taking place over decades. Hormones play a secondary, but not trivial role in women. Milk is a deterrent to good bone health.
Go on to THE PROTEIN MYTH
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