FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Peak Milk?

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

Despite 20 years of “Got Milk?” mustache ads, milk consumption in the US falls more every year. The National Dairy Promotion and Research Program and the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Program cite competition from calcium-fortified and vitamin-enhanced beverages, milk’s lack of  availability “in many eating establishments” (You can’t find milk anywhere!) and a growing percentage of African Americans and Latinos in the US population who are not traditionally big milk consumers.

Many other groups also shun milk from teenagers and young adults to dieters, athletes and health-food eaters who reject the cholesterol, fat, calories and allergens. Several Asian ethnic groups also avoid milk, as do the lactose intolerant, the allergic, people who drink or smoke (the tastes don’t mix) and animal and environmental activists. In fact, Dr. Benjamin Spock, whose pediatric advice shaped the entire Baby Boom generation, recommended no milk for children after age two, in his later years, to reduce their risks of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and diet-related cancers.

To sell milk, marketers try to push the button that sells almost everything–It Will Make You Thin. But soon after debuting milk as a diet food, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of 20,000 men who increased their intake of low-fat dairy foods found they did not lose weight. “The hypothesis that has been floating around is that increasing dairy can promote weight loss, and in this study, I did not find that,” said Swapnil Rajpathak, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The research behind the weight-loss claims was largely conducted by Michael Zemel, PhD, director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, who had “patented” the claim that calcium or dairy products could help against obesity. The patent was owned by the university and licensed to Dairy Management Inc., reported USA Today.  Zemel’s coauthor, Sharon Miller, PhD, was later ensnared in a conflict of interest mishap with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

After investigating, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection directed milk marketers to stop the weight-loss claims “until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss.” Milk marketers then claimed that low-fat dairy products do not necessarily add weight and may have “certain nutrients that can help consumers meet dietary requirements”–pretty much the definition of “food,” when you think about it. Soon the marketing had been diluted to, “Soft drinks and othersweetened beverages are now the leading source of calories in a teen’s diet and these nutrient-void beverages are increasingly taking the place of milk.”

Like Big Pharma, Big Food is not above creating false medical benefits to move product. Milk marketers admit that they cite “research” to the medical and scientific press about milk’s value in breast cancer, hypertension, rickets and  osteoporosis, according to their yearly report to Congress. They also admit to wooing African Americans by continuing “to spotlight the high incidence of high blood pressure among African Americans and to promote milk and milk products as a dietary solution as part of the DASH [Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension] diet.” Marketers also educate African Americans and other groups prone to milk allergies about “misconceptions” regarding lactose intolerance and show why “it should not be a barrier to including milk in the diet,” says the report.

Of course chocolate milk has been one of milk producers’ steadiest revenue streams because it tastes a lot better to kids than unflavored milk. But thanks to growing youth obesity grows, some school districts have banned the flavored milks because of their high sugar content. Milk producers have responded by adding controversial artificial sweeteners such as aspartame to the products, despite a different sets of risks they can present. Consumers and school districts have responded negatively and milk marketers and now petitioning the FDA to omit listing them on the label altogether. The government has a long history of not labeling ingredients people want to avoid from Monsanto’s recombinant bovine growth hormone in milk to GMO crops.

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

 

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 20, 2017
Sebastian Friedrich – Gabriel Kuhn
A New Class Politics
Patrick Cockburn
The Massacre of Mosul: More Than 40,000 Civilians Feared Dead
Paul Street
The Abandonment: Reflections on James Foreman’s “Locking Up Our Own”
Kim Codella
A Practical Education
Frank Scott
America’s Trump, Not Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Clancy Sigal Goes Away
Don Monkerud
The Real Treason in DC: Turning Our Lives Over to Corporate
Brian Dew – Dean Baker
Are Amazon’s Shareholders Suckers?
Ralph Nader
Detecting What Unravels Our Society – Bottom-up and Top-down
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Covering Islam, Post-Jack Shaheen
Binoy Kampmark
Uhlmann’s Trump Problem
Patrick Walker
In Defense of Caitlin Johnstone
Barry Lando
Those Secret Putin-Trump Talks
Sean Marquis
Thank You, Donald Trump
July 19, 2017
Adam Ziemkowski and Rebekah Liebermann
How Seattle Voted to Tax the Rich
Patrick Cockburn
Why ISIS Fighters are Being Thrown Off Buildings in Mosul
John W. Whitehead
Zombies R Us: the Walking Dead of the American Police State
Mateo Pimentel
Net Neutrality’s Missing Persons
Adil E. Shamoo - Bonnie Bricker
Yemen Policy is Creating More Terrorists
L. Ali Khan
U.S. Misreads Pakistan’s Antifragility
David Macaray
Fear and Trembling in the Workplace
Brian Trautman, Gerry Condon and Samantha Ferguson
Veterans Call on U.S. to Sign Nuclear Ban Treaty
Binoy Kampmark
Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing and Terrorism
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuelan Opposition “Consultation”: Playing Alone and Losing
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Cold-Hearted Agenda is Immoral
Raul Castro
We will Continue to Advance Along the Path Freely Chosen by Our People
July 18, 2017
James Bovard
Obama’s AWOL Anti-War Protesters
Gary Leupp
CNN: “Russia is an Adversary, Ukraine is Not.”
Ryan Shah
Beware the Radical Center
John Carroll Md
Cold Hands Don’t Need Narcotics
Derrick Jensen
Endangered Species Don’t Need an Ark – They Need a Living Planet!
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Canadian Conjucture
Arturo Lopez-Levy
Trump’s Cuba Restrictions: a Detour, Not the Future
Russell Mokhiber
State Street Bentley University Business Ethics and Corporate Crime
Laura Finley
Being Too Much
Robert J. Gould
What is Our Experience of our Flawed Democracy?
Taju Tijani
The Burden of Indivisible Nigeria
Guillaume Pitron
China Now Leads in Renewables
Ted Rall
How I Learned Courts are Off-Limits to the 99 Percent
Binoy Kampmark
Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing and Terrorism
July 17, 2017
Gregory Wilpert
Time for the “International Left” to Take a Stand on Venezuela
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Embrace of the Saudi Crown Prince, and a Qatar Nightmare Scenario
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Liu Xiaobo: the West’s Model Chinese
Terry Simons
Why I Did Not Go to Vietnam
Jim Green
Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilus
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail