Dairy & Eggs
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The consumption of dairy products is of course unnatural after early childhood.  It has been a human habit, initially for survival, among a number of human groups worldwide.  However, today, dairy products are no longer necessary for survival.  Dairy product consumption is promoted as a preventative against osteoporosis.  However, several studies have found dairy consumption only a small benefit against osteoporosis and this benefit can easily be achieved through other means such as 1) eliminating salt from the diet, 2) women (not men) using calcium supplements, 3) both men and women using vitamin D supplements if they are at risk for osteoporosis, and 4) increasing the consumption of greens in the diet since these have a number of health benefits and tend to be high in calcium.

Dairy products are beneficial in a number of other conditions, but each of these benefits can be achieved in other ways.  If dairy products are used, skim milk and reduced fat milk are much better overall than whole milk and cheese.  However, middle-aged and elderly men should avoid dairy products since they increase prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease. In several studies below, reduced fat dairy products did quite well.  

I think the bottom line is to stay away from whole milk and cheese and probably even reduced fat milk.  Both men and women can get all of the dairy they need by consuming a cup of sugar-free low-fat yogurt each day.  The numerous benefits of yogurt are covered in its own six-page section.

Aborting Spontaneously Lower on Good Diets, Dairy; Butter Doubled Abortions: The relative risk for a miscarriage is 0.3 for fruit, 0.5 for cheese, 0.6 for green vegetables and milk and 0.7 for fish and eggs. The major type of seasoning fats have showed a direct association with risk of miscarriage. Comparing the highest with the lowest intake, the highest group in butter intake had twice as many miscarriages. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2001 Mar;95(1):132-6

BP: Dairy Products Helps HBP, Colon & Breast Cancer: Meta-analysis and DASH study which found dramatic BP decreases with dairy, fruits, vegetables. J Am Coll Nutr 19:147S, 2000. Low fat dairy assoc with lower incidence and mortality of DM and BP in lactovegetarians. Lower diabetes in breastfed infants. Also decreases in colon, rectum, and breast CA, kidney stones, lead intoxication, and osteoporosis. Milk is also relatively high in Zn, K, Mg, B2, B6. RDA of calcium for adults is 800mg.

BP: Fruits, Vegetables, Low Salt, Low-Fat Dairy Lower BP Dramatically: DASH: Randomized feeding study. 412 adults with untreated systolic 120-160, diastolic 80 to 95 mm Hg. Followed the DASH diet or a control (typical U.S.) diet for three consecutive 30-day feeding periods, during which sodium intake (50, 100, and 150 mmol/d at 2100 kcal) varied according to a randomly assigned sequence. Body weight was maintained. In all subgroups, the DASH diet and reduced sodium intake were each associated with significant decreases in blood pressure; these two factors combined produced the greatest reductions. Among nonhypertensive participants who received the control diet, lower (vs. higher) sodium intake decreased blood pressure by 7.0/3.8 mm Hg in those older than 45 years of age (P < 0.001) and by 3.7/1.5 mm Hg in those 45 years of age or younger (P < 0.05). Ann Intern Med 2001 Dec 18;135(12):1019-28; Reducing the sodium intake from the high to the intermediate level reduced the systolic blood pressure by 2.1 mm Hg (P<0.001) during the control diet and by 1.3 mm Hg (P=0.03) during the DASH diet. Reducing the sodium intake from the intermediate to the low level caused additional reductions of 4.6 mm Hg during the control diet (P<0.001) and 1.7 mm Hg during the DASH diet (P<0.01). The effects of sodium were observed in participants with and in those without hypertension, blacks and those of other races, and women and men. The DASH diet was associated with a significantly lower systolic blood pressure at each sodium level; and the difference was greater with high sodium levels than with low ones. As compared with the control diet with a high sodium level, the DASH diet with a low sodium level led to a mean systolic blood pressure that was 7.1 mm Hg lower in participants without hypertension, and 11.5 mm Hg lower in participants with hypertension. The reduction of sodium intake to levels below the current recommendation of 100 mmol per day and the DASH diet both lower blood pressure substantially, with greater effects in combination than singly. Long-term health benefits will depend on the ability of people to make long-lasting dietary changes and the increased availability of lower-sodium foods. Sacks, Harvard, N Engl J Med 2001 Jan 4;344(1):3-10

Crohn’s Disease: Japan Finds Animal Protein, Milk Bad; Fish Not Related: Diet changes over 20 year found a strong association between increases in Crohn’s and increases in animal and milk proteins and decreases in vegetable proteins. Fish proteins were not related and n-6/n-3 ration only weakly related although still a factor. Shoka, Toyko, Am J Clin Nutr 5/96;63:741

Calcium Intake Associated With Lower Weight: The daily increase of one cup of milk or a small piece of cheese, about 300 milligrams of calcium, resulted in one-half inch less of abdominal fat and as much as two pounds less of body weight. "I have reason to believe that the same effect occurs in boys," Novotny, U Hawaii, April 13, ‘03 as part of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences program at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego. No diff if supplement or dairy.

Cancer: Milk, Liver Increased Cancers in Study: An Italian matched control study with 158 Hodgkins, 429 non-Hodgkins lymphomas, 141 multiple myelomas and 101 sarcomas with over 1000 controls found RR highest tertile milk consumption 1.8 for NHL and 1.9 for sarcoma. Liver RR 1.8 HD, 1.6 NHL, 2.0 myeloma; Ham RR 1.7 HD; Butter RR 2.8 myelomas. Greens 0.4 for myeloma and whole grains 0.4 for NHL and 0.2 sarcomas. Coffee and alcohol not associated. Tavani, Milan, Nutr Cancer ’97;27:256

Cancer: Animal Products Increase, Vegetables Decrease Lymphoma Risk: Foods high in animal protein, saturated fat, eggs and dairy lead to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), while diets high in dietary fiber -- tomatoes, broccoli, mixed lettuce salad with vegetables, cauliflower, etc.-- were associated with a reduced risk of NHL. 601 Connecticut women, ages 21-84, diagnosed with NHL, using a Food Frequency Questionnaire of the frequency and portion size for 120 foods and beverages were compared to 717 matched controls. Two other studies of American women have similar findings. Tongzhang Zheng. Yale. Amer J Epid. 3/9/04

Diabetes: Cow’s Milk a Cause of DM: Many animal and retrospective human studies link cows’ milk consumed by babies with DM. A milk protein resembles a protein on the surface of the human islet cells. Cows’ milk also contains bovine insulin. Finnish researchers have a prospective study from birth showing that babies in DM-prone families who receive infant formula based on cows’ milk are more likely to develop immune reactions assoc with juvenile-onset DM (40% with autoantibodies vs. 4%). Formulas where the cows’ milk proteins have been chopped up into peptide fragments did not increase DM. In Puerto Rico, where 95% of children are raised on infant formula, juvenile onset DM is 10 times as common as in Cuba where breast feeding in nearly universal. Sci News 155:405, 6/26/99

Diabetes in Children and Heart Disease: Milk Protein Unhealthy: Researchers compared the diets of 20 economically developed countries over 15 years. For ischemic heart disease, cow milk protein consumption had a strong positive correlations with death rates in the country five years later (r = 0.76, p <0.001) and were more important that milk fat consumption. Across the 20 countries, a 1% change in cow milk protein consumption was associated with a 0.57% change in deaths from ischemic heart disease, especially for men. Diabetes in children (DM-1) was strongly correlated with the consumption of cow milk protein in milk and cream (r = 0.92, p <0.00001).  A 1% change in consumption was associated with a 1.3% change in DM-1 in the same direction. Ischaemic heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, and cow milk A1 beta-casein. Laugesen M, Elliott R. Auckland, New Zealand. N Z Med J. 2003 Jan 24;116(1168):U295

Esophageal Cancer up with Eggs, Meat; Milk, Vegetables, Fruit Good: Case control study found RR of 1.7 red meat, 1.6 pork, 1.5 eggs, but 0.7 milk, 0.5 vegetables, 0.5 fruit. Eur J Cancer Prev 2000 Aug;9(4):257-63

Heart: Oats, Milk, Sugar May be Bad for Heart: Older study claims analysis rates of 21 countries and diets link oats, milk proteins other than cheese, milk fats, and sugar most strongly to coronary mortality. Study seems a little odd. Manchester, Int J Cardiol 1988 Aug;20(2):183-92. 

Heart Meat, Milk, Pastries, Butter Bad for Heart; Legumes, Vegetables, Oils, Alcohol Good in 7 Countries: Seven Country Study with 25 year f/u of 12,763 middle-aged men belonging to 16 cohorts in seven countries (USA, Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan) with periodic evaluation. Population death rates from CHD showed large differences, ranging from 268 per 1000 in East Finland to 25 per 1000 in Crete, Greece. butter (R = 0.887), meat (R = 0.645), pastries (R = 0.752), and milk (R = 0.600) consumption, and significant negative correlation coefficients for legumes (R = -0.822), oils (R = -0.571), and alcohol (R = -0.609) consumption. Combined vegetable foods (excluding alcohol) were inversely correlated (R = -0.519), whereas combined animal foods (excluding fish) were directly correlated (R = 0.798) with CHD death rates. Eur J Epidemiol 1999 Jul;15(6):507-15. Food intake patterns and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease: cross-cultural correlations in the Seven Countries Study. The Seven Countries Study Research Group. Menotti A, Kromhout D, Blackburn H, Fidanza F, Buzina R, Nissinen A. U Minn.

Longevity: Vegans Lowest Cholesterol, Lowest Mortality, Milk U-Shaped: Oxford f/u study of 6000 vegetarians and 5000 of their fish or meat eating friends (meat Qwk or more). HDL slightly higher for fish eaters. Total cholesterol and LDL lowest for vegans and highest for meat-eaters. 12 yr f/u. All groups in study had much lower mortality than English average. Standardized mortality ratios lower for non-meat eaters: .80 all causes, .70 cardiac, .61 cancer. Animal fat consumption strongly linked to ischemic cardiac mortality. Eggs and cheese increased cardiac mortality. Fish, fiber, alcohol had no protective effect in this study. All cause mortality inversely linked to nuts and a U-shaped relationship with milk and eggs was suggested by the data. More appendectomies in meat eaters. Amer J Clin Nutr 01

Longevity in Elderly Linked to Citrus, Coffee, Milk, and Low Meat: Italian free living elderly in care center diet = frequent consumption of citrus fruit (greater two/week RR=.55), milk and yogurt (3/week or more RR=.38); coffee (one-two cups/week RR=0.21 and over 2=0.35), low consumption of meat; and high intake of vitamin C, riboflavin, and linoleic acid are associated with longevity. High meat RR 9.72. Epidemiology 2000 Jul;11(4):440-5

Multiple Sclerosis: Meat and Dairy Associated with MS in Germany: J Clin Epidemiol 1994 Jan;47(1):43-8. German study found diet and latitude factors.

MS: Meat, Whole Milk, and possibly Potatoes Associated with MS in Croatia: daily consumption of different quantities of full fat unskimmed milk (OR 21.7; chi 2 42.34; LL 7.12), potatoes with lard and fresh or smoked meat (OR 20.7; chi 2 15.52; LL 2.72), and new potatoes (OR 20.7; chi 2 15.52; LL 2.72). 46 pt and 92 controls. Neuroepidemiology 1993;12(4):234-40

Osteoporosis: Calcium?, Tea Good; Late Menarche, Low Exercise & Sunlight Bad: A low BMI and milk consumption were significant risks only in the lowest 50% and 10% of the population, respectively. A late menarche, poor mental score, low BMI and physical activity, low exposure to sunlight, and a low consumption of calcium and tea remained independent risk factors after multivariate analysis, accounting for 70% of hip fractures. Excluding mental score and age at menarche (not potentially reversible), the attributable risk was 56%. Risk factors for hip fracture in European women: the MEDOS Study. Mediterranean Osteoporosis Study. Johnell O, Gullberg B, Kanis JA, Allander E, Elffors L, Dequeker J, Dilsen G, Gennari C, Lopes Vaz A, Lyritis G, et al. J Bone Miner Res. 1995 Nov;10(11):1802-15; But, In both men and women, the adjusted intakes of protein, saturated fatty acids, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus were significantly higher in the high-calcium-intake group of 957 at UCSD. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Mar;53(3):741-4

Osteoporosis: Soy Isoflavones Help Lower LDL & Bone Density Better than Milk: DB PC 6 months 40g/d soy protein with two levels of isoflavones/g vs milk protein. Both soy lowered LDL but only higher soy increased lumbar bone density. U Ill, Am J Clin Nutr 12/98;68(6 Suppl):1375; Same in another U Ill study of LDL. Am J Clin Nutr 9/98;68:545

Ovarian Cancer Increased by Meat, Butter, Whole Milk, Eggs, Lactose, Cholesterol, Decreased by Greens: 14,500 die in US annually from ovarian cancer. There is a five fold international variation, low in Japan and high in US with increases when Japanese moved to America. A 13yr Japanese follow-up of 142,857 found meat associated with increased ovarian cancer. A 20 yr 7th Day Adv found eggs (3/wk) and fried foods associated with increased cancer. This Iowa Women’s Health Study of 29,083 with a 10 yr f/u found ovarian cancer rates increased for the highest quartile in lactose RR 1.60, cholesterol RR 1.55, and eggs 2/wk RR 1.90. Greens were best with an RR 0.44. Other research in 27 countries increased ovarian cancer with increased milk/lactose intake but two case control studies found whole milk high RR while skim milk protective. Several studies find high meat and butter increase ovarian cancer considerably.

Parkinson’s: Milk Increases: Honglei Chen of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Massachusetts, found that dietary intake of dairy products is associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s in men, but not in women (Annals of Neurology 2002;52:793-801). Prospective health professionals and nurses studies found 2.9 servings vs. under 1 serving per day associated with 80% increase and this level over 6 years associated with 170% increase (2.7 relative risk). Some cases been linked to viruses, toxins, and drugs. Oxidative damage has also been thought to contribute, and some studies have found that antioxidants can protect against the progression of

Pharyngeal Cancer: Fried Foods Linked to Increased Pharyngeal Cancer, Not Milk: low intake of fruit, fruit juice, uncooked vegetables, dietary fiber-containing foods (legume and cereals), fish, milk, and dairy products is an independent risk factor for pharyngeal cancer and that high consumption of meat and fried foods also increases the risk once data are adjusted for tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking. Spanish study of 232 cases and 232 controls. Head Neck 2002 Sep;24(9):830-40

Prostate: Dairy, esp Skim, Increases Prostate Cancer: calcium in milk products protects against colon cancer, while promoting in the prostate through suppression of circulating levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Mutat Res 2000 Apr;462(2-3):227-33. For 28 countries with more than five Kcal/day of tomatoes in the consumer supply, a linear combination of non-fat milk (risk factor) and tomatoes (risk reduction factor) was found to have the highest statistical association with prostate cancer mortality rates for men over the age of 35, with the Pearson regression coefficient (R2) for those aged 65-74 years = 0.67 and p < 0.001. For the 13 countries with fewer than six Kcal/day of tomatoes, non-fat milk had the highest association (R2 = 0.92, p < 0.001 for men aged 65-74 years). For 41 countries combined, the non-fat portion of milk had the highest association with prostate cancer mortality rates (R2 = 0.73). Altern Med Rev 1999 Jun;4(3):162-9. A significantly increased risk of prostate cancer was associated with skim milk as compared to whole milk. Int J Cancer 1997 Nov 27;73(5):634-8


Esophageal Cancer up with Eggs, Meat: Case control study in Switzerland found RR of 1.7 red meat, 1.6 pork, 1.5 eggs, but 0.7 milk, 0.5 vegetables, 0.5 fruit. Eur J Cancer Prev 2000 Aug;9(4):257-63

Eggs, Butter, Pastries Bad for Oral CA; Fish, Chicken, Fruits, Veggies Good: increasing risk with increasing intake emerged for soups, eggs, processed meats, cakes and desserts, and butter. Risk was approximately halved in the highest compared to the lowest intake quintile for coffee and tea, white bread, poultry, fish, raw and cooked vegetables, citrus fruit, and olive oil. The inverse association with oils, especially olive oil, was only slightly attenuated by allowance for vegetable intake in Italian case-control study of 600 with oral-pharyngeal cancer vs. 1500 controls. Br J Cancer 1999 May;80(3-4):614-20

No Harm for Heart Disease or Stroke: In 8 and 14 year follow-up studies by Harvard of Health Professionals and Nurses with over 120,000 participants, researchers found no difference between zero and up to 1 egg per day. However, any benefit from eggs was very minor. Even higher consumption was not harmful except in diabetes where more than one egg per day increased heart disease. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, Manson JE, Ascherio A, Colditz GA, Rosner BA, Spiegelman D, Speizer FE, Sacks FM, Hennekens CH, Willett WC.  JAMA 1999 Apr 21;281(15):1387-94

Eggs Might Be Slightly Unhealthy: When a full-range of confounding factors was considered, the association between cholesterol intake and heart disease risk was small (6% increase in risk for 200mg/1,000kcal/day difference in cholesterol intake). However, researcher concluded there was no harm at all for up to one egg per day. Univ. Tenn.  Egg consumption and coronary heart disease: an epidemiologic overview. Kritchevsky SB, Kritchevsky D. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5 Suppl):549S-555S

Thomas E. Radecki, M.D., J.D.