Does God's own PR company handle
the account for milk? How else has it managed to hang on to its untarnished
image, despite gallons of evidence to the contrary? White ergo pure, natural,
nutritionally essential: milk seems more an element than a product, as
if it were nature in a carton. While the reputation of other animal foodstuffs
has plummeted, milk's has stayed relatively buoyant. Indeed, many people
believe that their health will be jeopardised if they don't drink it.
In the US, milk is virtually the national emblem (apple pie, in comparison,
is an also-ran).
Yet something is bubbling up in the milk pan. The animal welfare groups,
for so long preoccupied with chicken and beef farming, have begun to take
up the cause of the dairy cow. The scientific evidence, too, is massing
up that regular consumption of large quantities of milk can be bad for
your health, and campaigners are making a noise about the environmental
and international costs of large-scale intensive European dairy farming.
Will milk be the site on which health scares meet animal rights? We have
been weaned on the idea that cows' milk is the most complete food to serve
youngsters - default sustenance for picky children, liquid calcium for
thirsty bones. So thorough is our dairy indoctrination that it requires
a total gestalt switch to contemplate the notion that milk may help to
cause the very diseases it's meant to prevent. Yet as far back as 1974,
the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
was answering the question, "Should milk drinking by children be
discouraged?" (even posing it seems heretical) with a "maybe."
Today, there's a big bank
of scientific evidence against milk consumption, alleging not only that
it causes some diseases but, equally damning, that it fails to prevent
others for which it has traditionally been seen as a panacea. At the same
time, new claims about its health-enhancing properties are being advanced
almost monthly - 30 years on, the AAP has changed its mind and now recommends
dairy products for children. For this is a story of
evidence and counter-evidence, of an elixir tainted and attempts to restore
it to its previous pre-eminence. At stake are enormous commercial interests,
deeply rooted patterns of agriculture and consumption - and our health.
It starts in infancy. Frank Oski, former paediatrics director at Johns
Hopkins school of medicine, estimated in his book Don't Drink Your
Milk! that half of all iron deficiency in US infants results from
cows' milk-induced intestinal bleeding - a staggering amount, since more
than 15% of American under-twos suffer from iron-deficiency anaemia. The
infants, it seems, drink so much milk (which is very low in iron) that
they have little appetite left for foods containing iron; at the same
time, the milk, by inducing gastrointestinal bleeding, causes iron loss.
The dairy industry acknowledges (as Hippocrates did) that some people
are allergic to milk - though this makes it sound as if the problem lies
in the individual's aberrant constitution, rather than in the beverage
Yet, when you look at it more closely, the extent of lactose intolerance
is extraordinary. Lactose is the sugar in milk, and it needs to be broken
down by the enzyme lactase that lives in our intestines and bowels. If
the lactose we absorb is greater than our lactase capacity, undigested
lactose travels to the large intestine, where it ferments, producing gas,
carbon dioxide and lactic acid. The result? Bloating, cramps, diarrhoea
and farts. In 1965, investigators at Johns Hopkins found that 15% of all
the white people and almost three-quarters of all the black people they
tested were unable to digest lactose. Milk, it seemed, was a racial issue,
and far more people in the world are unable than able to digest lactose.
That includes most Thais, Japanese, Arabs and Ashkenazi Jews, and 50%
According to various studies, there's a whole catalogue of other illnesses
that can be attributed to cows' milk, among them diabetes. A 1992 report
in the New England Journal of Medicine corroborated a long-standing theory
that proteins in cows' milk can damage the production of insulin in those
with a genetic predisposition to diabetes. The dairy industry dismisses
this as "just a theory" - along with "myth" and "controversial",
a term it applies to almost all studies critical of milk. The anti-milk
lobby also claims that consumption of dairy products can aggravate rheumatoid
arthritis and has been implicated in colic, acne, heart disease, asthma,
lymphoma, ovarian cancer and multiple sclerosis. Major studies suggesting
a link between milk and prostate cancer have been appearing since the
1970s, culminating in findings by the Harvard School of Public Health
in 2000 that men who consumed two and a half servings of dairy products
a day had a third greater risk of getting prostate cancer than those who
ate less than half a serving a day. In the same year, T Colin Campbell,
the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell
University, said that "cows' milk protein may be the single most
significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed".
Yet even if milk does play a part in causing some diseases, surely it's
crucial in avoiding others? "After the first year of life,"
concluded Oski, "the child requires no milk of any type. The child,
like... adults, can thrive without cow milk ever crossing [its] lips."
A profane statement such as that lights a flare of questions. What about
osteoporosis and our need for calcium? Surely if we don't eat dairy products
we'll become brittle-boned and frail, destined for the dowager's hump?
It's an intriguing coincidence that just as the alarm was sounding about
the fat content of milk products, along came the panic about osteoporosis
to propel us straight back to dairy.
To the milk critics, the shibboleth that osteoporosis is caused by calcium
deficiency is one of the great myths of our time (each side accuses the
other of myth peddling). Mark Hegsted, a retired Harvard professor of
nutrition, has said, "To assume that osteoporosis is due to calcium
deficiency is like assuming that infection is due to penicillin deficiency."
In fact, the bone loss and deteriorating bone tissue that take place in
osteoporosis are due not to calcium deficiency but rather to its resorption:
it's not that our bodies don't get enough calcium, rather that they excrete
too much of what they already have. So we need to find out what it is
that's breaking down calcium stores in the first place, to the extent
that more than one in three British women now suffers from osteoporosis.
The most important culprit is almost certainly the overconsumption of
protein. High-protein foods such as meat, eggs and dairy make excessive
demands on the kidneys, which in turn leach calcium from the body. One
solution, then, isn't to increase our calcium intake, but to reduce our
consumption of protein, so our bones don't have to surrender so much calcium.
Astonishingly, according to this newer, more critical view, dairy products
almost certainly help to cause, rather than prevent, osteoporosis. Consider
this: American women are among the biggest consumers of calcium in the
world, yet still have one of the highest levels of osteoporosis in the
world. Lots of researchers have tried to work out the relationship between
these two facts. A study funded by the US National Dairy Council, for
example, gave a group of postmenopausal women three 8oz glasses of skimmed
milk a day for two years, then compared their bones with those of a control
group of women not given the milk. The dairy group consumed 1,400mg of
calcium a day, yet lost bone at twice the rate of the control group.
Similarly, the Harvard Nurses' Health Study found that women who consumed
the most calcium from dairy foods broke more bones than those who rarely
drank milk. Another piece of research found that women who get most of
their protein from animal sources have three times the rate of bone loss
and hip fractures of women who get most of their protein from vegetable
sources, according to a 2001 National Institutes of Health study. The
pattern of diet and fractures in other parts of the world is equally revealing.
Most Chinese people eat and drink no dairy products, and get all their
calcium from vegetables. Yet while they consume only half the calcium
of Americans, osteoporosis is uncommon in China, despite an average life
expectancy of 70. In South Africa, Bantu women who eat mostly plant protein
and only 200-350mg of calcium a day have virtually no osteoporosis, despite
bearing on average six children and breastfeeding for prolonged periods.
Their African-American brothers and sisters, who ingest on average more
than 1,000mg of calcium a day, are nine times more likely to experience
hip fractures. Campbell puts it unequivocally: "The association between
the intake of animal protein and fracture rates appears to be as strong
as that between cigarette smoking and lung cancer."
Almost none of these scientific findings has been reflected in mainstream
nutritional advice, which continues to emphasise the need for calcium.
In fact, the recommendations on calcium are now so high that it is difficult
to devise practical diets that meet them. The AAP, for example, currently
recommends five daily servings from the milk group for adolescents (try
getting those into figure-conscious teenage girls).
But there's another vital part of the calcium puzzle that suggests that
the American Dietetic Association and its UK counterparts are looking
in the wrong place. Instead of recommending multiple servings of dairy,
they'd probably have done better to advise women, and especially teenage
girls, to take more exercise. A 15-year study published in the British
Medical Journal found that exercise may be the best protection against
hip fractures and that "reduced intake of dietary calcium does not
seem to be a risk factor". Similarly, researchers at Penn State University
concluded that bone density is affected by how much exercise girls get
in their teen years, when up to half of their skeletal mass is developed.
The girls who took part in this research had wildly different calcium
intakes, but it had no lasting effect on their bone health. "We [had]
hypothesised that increased calcium intake would result in better adolescent
bone gain," said one researcher. "Needless to say, we were surprised
to find our hypothesis refuted."
What's the dairy industry's response to all this? The Americans say the
idea that excess protein makes you pee out calcium is controversial. The
British call it a myth. And those figures on the higher rates of fracture
in countries where large amounts of dairy are consumed? Ah, they say,
that can be explained by the fact that the northern hemisphere has a limited
number of months a year when we're outside for long enough for our bodies
to synthesise vitamin D, which is vital for the absorption of calcium.
And they're right - vitamin D is critical. In a major follow-up to the
Nurses' Health Study, the risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women
was reduced not by milk or a high-calcium diet, but by higher vitamin
D intake. The Dairy Council also says that we protein- and calcium-guzzling
northerners keep breaking our hips because of our sedentary lifestyle
- ie, we don't exercise enough. Remarkably, here they acknowledge one
of the milk critics' central arguments: that no matter how much calcium
you down, without adequate exercise and vitamin D, it's to no avail. So
much for milk as the great bone protector.
By now, the reader (unless you're Bantu) may be despairing. So what is
it that you should be eating? Should we eat nothing, since all of it makes
us sick? Or, in that case, we might as well eat everything? For the record,
calcium from leafy vegetables seems pretty benign (though watch out for
pesticides) - it is, after all, where elephants, rhinos and most other
animals get their strong bones from - as are nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
Absurd, says the dairy industry: you'd need seven servings of cooked broccoli
or eight medium bags of peanuts to get the same amount of calcium as in
a 200ml glass of milk. Milk isn't only nutrient-dense, but it needs no
preparation and is easily swallowed, both important considerations with
the very young and the old.
But given that the benefits of cows' milk have been seriously questioned,
why is it still nutritional orthodoxy and a staple of government policy?
One reason is history. Even within living memory, rickets was widespread.
In the poor living conditions that the working class had to endure early
last century, milk seemed indispensable, with the result that it came
to be indissolubly linked to health. The 1934 Milk Act, providing elementary
schoolchildren with a third of a pint a day at the subsidised price of
a halfpenny, enshrined this idea; by 1965, the majority of English and
Welsh schoolchildren were downing their daily third. When, in 1971, as
minister of education, Margaret Thatcher controversially decided to withdraw
free school milk for children over seven, she was widely vilified as a
"milk-snatcher". (Perhaps she's retrospectively due some gratitude?)
Yet already 10 years earlier, the Framingham Heart Study had reported
a link between coronary heart disease and raised cholesterol levels, and
by the 1970s the Royal College of Physicians was recommending the replacement
of saturated fats by polyunsaturated. But still the association of milk
with health is hard to break. Says Tim Lang, professor of food policy
at City University, "The contradictions in policy are a leftover
from the 1940s, when nutritionists argued, with justification, that milk
provided a good technical fix for poverty. Sixty years on, nutritional
science has advanced, and important evidence of the impact of saturated
fats has come to the fore."
Another reason why official policy on milk is often at odds with medical
evidence lies in the conflict of government role, both in Britain and
the US. The US department of agriculture, for example, has the twin, and
often mutually incompatible, tasks of promoting agricultural products
and providing dietary advice. In 2000, it was still recommending two to
three servings of dairy products a day, to the rage of critics such as
the Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine. PCRM claimed that six of the 11-member drafting panel had
close ties with the meat, egg and dairy industries (five of them with
dairy). Britain isn't free from conflict of interest, either. The government
is heavily involved in encouraging us to drink milk. The department for
the environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) sponsors both the dairy
industry and the Milk Development Council, responsible for the generic
marketing of milk. Equally parti pris are the British and US dairy councils
- apparently the source of public health information, but in reality branches
of the milk business. In the UK, the National Dairy Council is the promotional
arm of the industry, funded by dairy farmers, milk processors and manufacturers.
Its website includes the "fact" that eating three portions of
dairy products a day significantly lowers cholesterol and the risk of
coronary heart disease. Of course, it's no crime for the industry to promote
itself; what's disturbing is its masquerading as a disinterested source
of incontrovertible information.
What has galvanised the whole debate has been a major change in our dietary
habits. We just aren't drinking milk in the quantities we used to. The
British went down from 30.55 gallons each a year in 1969 to 25.42 in 1993;
by 2001, this had fallen further. But the milk industry is fighting back.
For years, milk producers thought their product so essential that it didn't
need marketing - you don't promote water or air, after all. But when sales
declined because of anxieties about cholesterol, the rise of eating out
and competition from soft drinks and bottled water, they realised it was
time for a makeover. Out went the goody-two-shoes image, and in its place
came the birth of cool. Milk was repositioned by major ad campaigns. The
first was the "Got Milk?" campaign, launched in California in
1993, in which celebrities and high-profile sports figures were adorned
with a white milk moustache: Naomi Campbell, Serena Williams, Melanie
Griffiths, the cast of Friends - all were featured with one. The idea
has now travelled to Britain, where milk's unhip image is challenged by
the National Dairy Council's The White Stuff campaign, launched in 2000
(and co-funded by Defra). It plays the macho card (white stuff/right stuff),
suggesting that milk drinkers are as tough as aviation heroes, reinforced
by a punchline demanding, "Are you made of it?" (calcium and
strong bones, that is). Recruiting homegrown celebrities such as George
Best and Chris Eubank, it increased UK sales.
The Americans also tried to staunch the flow away from milk by introducing
flavoured milks. Forget chocolate, strawberry or banana; today, you can
choose between "Orange Scream: a whole new concept in milk"
(contents: cellulose gum, pectin, soy protein, high fructose corn sugar,
sugar and annatto colour), cappuccino-flavoured milk, caffeine milk, even
root beer milk. And anyone for carbonated milk, with carbon dioxide for
In Britain, the industry is promoting the provision of milk in primary
schools, and installing milk bars in secondary schools. On average, each
bar shifts 10,000 litres a year. The final, and perhaps most insidious,
dimension of the dairy fightback is funding research. Michael Zemel is
director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee; his
study demonstrating that the consumption of skimmed milk, yogurt and cheese
can lessen the risk of obesity attracted international publicity, as well
as an enthusiastic press release from the National Dairy Council, which
omits to reveal that it funds him. A recent Zemel study shows that people
who included three servings of Yoplait Light yogurt in their diet lost
significantly more weight than those in the control group (another of
his funders is General Mills, makers of Yoplait Light). The British Nutrition
Foundation, however, cites the yogurt study as if it were independent
How come it's taken so long to learn about milk's less health-giving properties?
Partly it's to do with how research is conducted. Until recently, no one
had done the science - the epidemiological and population studies. What's
more, though the milk advocates maintain that humans have kept animals
for milk products for thousands of years, milk-drinking on the scale we
have it now is relatively new. Fresh, raw milk was rarely consumed after
childhood until the late 19th century, except in nomadic countries. Milk
is essentially a modern, industrial phenomenon - its consumption only
really took off after the discovery of pasteurisation in 1864.
In the west, we've moved very fast (in historical terms) from undernutrition
to overnutrition, from insufficiency to excess. While milk had a major
role to play early in the last century, today's nutritional needs are
different. Says Lang, "I'm not saying that milk is lousy. It does
have lots of nutrients and is a rich source of energy, quickly taken up
in an easily digestible form - good when children were short and you needed
growth. But should we be basing our diets on it today, as though without
dairy we couldn't survive? I'd say no."
Alongside the researchers raising questions about milk sits the more inflammatory
animal rights movement, which has recently focused its attention on dairy
farming and what it argues is its intrinsic cruelty. For a long time,
those concerned about animal welfare seemed magically to exempt milk from
their preoccupations. They suffered from what Richard Young of the Soil
Association calls "the vegetarian fallacy": non-meat-eaters
who still drink milk and so perpetuate the cycle that ends in crated veal
calves destined for European dinner tables. Now many of them have begun
to contend that, organic or not, there's no such thing as humane milk.
For in order to lactate, cows - like humans - first have to get pregnant.
Calves are essentially the waste by-product of the industry. What happens
to them once they've done what they were created to do - stimulate a cow's
milk production by the very fact of their being conceived? Male udderless
cows are of no value to the dairy industry, so if prices for male calves
are low and the veal route unprofitable, most are killed within a couple
of weeks for baby food or pies, to make rennet, or sent to rendering plants
to be turned into tallow or grease or, in other countries, animal feed.
Female calves, on the other hand, are bred as replacement stock for their
mothers. The provision of beef essentially originates in the dairy industry:
if we didn't drink milk, we wouldn't have all that extra meat to get rid
Though a male calf's life is unenviable, its mother's is no better. To
ensure almost continuous lactation, she endures annual pregnancies. Her
calf is removed from her within 24 hours of its birth. Calves hardly ever
drink their mother's milk.
Like agribusinesses everywhere, milk producers have tried to increase
output while cutting costs. The victims are the cows. Today, from the
age of two, they're expected to produce up to 10,000 litres of milk during
their 10-month lactation stint (before they dry off, are re-inseminated
and the whole process starts up again). Milked once or twice (or even
three times) daily while pregnant, they produce around 20 litres a day,
10 times as much as they'd need to feed a calf. The amount of milk cows
are required to make each day has almost doubled in the past 30 years,
because having a smaller number of high-yielding cows reduces a farmer's
feed, fertiliser, equipment, labour and capital costs. That's why the
variety of cattle breeds in Europe has declined so much - everyone wants
the high-yielding black-and-white Holstein-Friesens.
You don't need to be sentimental about animals to pity the poor bloated
creatures, dragging around their vast, abnormally heavy udders. Many each
year go lame, and they rarely live longer than four or five years, compared
with a natural lifespan of around 25 years. Then they are slaughtered.
The official view is that not only do dairy farmers care about their cows,
but that it's in their interests to keep them healthy. The reality is
that overmilking, problems with cleanliness and the choice of high-yielding
breeds together cause more than 30 incidents of mastitis per 100 British
cows each year. Mastitis is a painful infection of the udder. Cows' mastitis
has implications for human health, too, because to control infection farmers
use more antibiotics. Although milk from cows being treated with antibiotics
must be discarded and can't be sold, there are far more antibiotics in
commercial use than are tested for.
The industry's most indefatigable foe, Robert Cohen, a former scientific
researcher and author of Milk: The Deadly Poison, has declared,
"We are at war... Monsanto is the enemy." The object of Cohen's
wrath is Posilac, Monsanto's trade name for rBST, recombinant bovine somatotropin,
which is injected into cows to get them to produce more milk. This synthetic
growth hormone, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in
1993, boosts a cow's milk output up to 15%. According to the FDA, hormone-treated
milk is "not significantly different" from untreated milk. Cohen,
along with other critics, disagrees. He went on a 206-day hunger strike
to pressurise (unsuccessfully) the FDA into banning Posilac. Cohen et
al maintain that greater levels of IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1)
in rBST milk are linked to breast and colon cancer, hypertension and diabetes.
On the other hand, respected health bodies, such as the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation, World Health Organisation, American Council on Science and
Health, and American Medical Association, have all confirmed the safety
of milk supplemented with rBST. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the
rBST milk saga has been the introduction since 1993, in 13 US states,
of Food Disparagement Acts. Hitherto only a living person or company could
be libelled, but under this legislation you can now libel fruits, vegetables,
cattle, even fish, and be sued for large sums. Opponents claim that the
acts are just another weapon designed to intimidate critics and curtail
evolving nutritional knowledge. It was under this act that Oprah Winfrey
was sued when, in the wake of the UK's mad cow disease outbreak, a guest
on her show disparaged beef. In one sense, this needn't bother us, since
the EU, along with Canada, Japan and 100 other countries, has banned rBST
milk because of its effects on animal (rather than human) health and welfare.
On the other hand, there are no restrictions on the import of rBST dairy
products, or a requirement to label them. And even if we scrupulously
try to avoid GM products ourselves, we're drinking milk from cows unable
to do the same, since 6% of animal feed in Britain is made up of GM products
(maize, soya and corn).
If you're struck by the absurdities in the milk story so far, this last
part will have you thinking you've woken up in the middle of a Dalí
painting. It concerns the common agricultural policy (CAP), a system so
opaque and complex that it seems expressly designed to elude (or should
that be evade?) public scrutiny. In her recent briefing on the dairy industry,
Land Of Milk And Money?, for Sustain, an alliance of more than
100 national public interest and farming organisations, Vicki Hird unearthed
its follies. Here are some gems:
In 2001, CAP provided ?16bn of direct and indirect support to dairy production,
and yet, over the past 10 years, average farm income has all but collapsed.
Most British dairy farmers sell milk at less than it costs to produce
- they get around 18p for a litre that sells for 43p in the supermarket.
CAP subsidies to traders allow dairy products to be dumped (exported below
cost) on to the international market, destroying the livelihoods of thousands
of small-scale farms in countries such as Jamaica and Kenya. Equally bizarrely,
the EU imports Brazilian soya beans to feed to its cows, then sells some
of the resultant surplus milk powder back to Brazil.
The WHO recommends that we consume not more than 10% of our total calories
from saturated fat, but CAP encourages milk fat production and subsidises
schools to buy full-fat (but not fat-free) milk and food manufacturers
to buy surplus butter. And just when nutritionists have vaunted the healthiness
of the fruit- and vegetable-dominated Mediterranean diet, those Mediterranean
countries joining the EU, and therefore CAP, have increased milk production
and consumption, and decreased fruit and veg production.
This trend, known as "nutrition transition," is not, Hird argues,
inevitable but shaped by food policy and pricing. It gets worse: milk
quotas are set by CAP at a level that guarantees a
surplus, allowing cheap export, yet in the UK the current milk quota is
not enough to meet domestic need. Milk quota (effectively the right to
produce milk) can be traded as if it were milk. Until the end of 2003,
even non-producers were allowed to rent and lease it - so, for instance,
Manchester United has traded in milk quota.
And the final insult: a large proportion of subsidised skimmed milk powder
surplus to European requirements is sold cheaply to veal producers, who
then feed it to calves. In other words (and with only a dash of poetic
licence), after the calves have been forcibly removed from their mothers,
the milk they would have been drinking is turned into powder and fed back
to them. At taxpayers' expense.
So what's the alternative? Compulsory veganism and the banning of milk?
The dairy industry is the single largest agricultural sector in Britain,
which is the third largest milk producer in the EU. It generates £6bn
in retail sales, and can't just be wished away. Nor do most of us respond
well to attempts to police our eating habits. Yet what we eat and drink
isn't just the result of individual choice and cultural tradition: the
contents of our shopping trolleys are at least equally shaped by government
policy and official decisions.
Dr Tim Lobstein, co-director of the Food Commission, an independent watchdog
on food issues, is scathing about dairy overproduction. He advocates the
removal of all EU subsidies from dairy production, with the money going
to support sustainable forms of food production, including some organic
dairy farming. What would he say to struggling dairy farmers? "I
can't help to stay in business the producers of commodities that aren't
helping human health - they'll have to find alternative employment. The
EU should help farmers transfer to products more helpful to human health,
such as horticulture."
Why, Lobstein asks, do we need to import onions from Tasmania or beans
from Kenya? Perhaps the ultimate folly is the import of New Zealand apples
into a country in which so much of that fruit is grown already. Hird's
report recommends more radical CAP reform, the removal of free school
milk, the adoption by the WTO of anti-dumping measures, as well as other
structural changes that would produce "less, better milk from happier
Of course, changing food policy and individual eating habits is hard and
slow. The first major step is a national debate about milk production
and consumption - a real one, not the kind the government has conducted
on GM foods. Part of this debate will have to be a frank appraisal of
whether milk can jeopardise human health. Finding a way of discussing
milk that neither evangelises nor demonises will be tough. So, too, is
distinguishing the dogma from the science, especially since the research
is so often conflicting. Yet it seems increasingly clear that dairy prodicts
alone probably don't protect bone health in the way we've long thought,
and that calcium intake on its own has only a small effect on bone density.
At the same time (and Atkins notwithstanding), while some fats are essential,
the human body does not thrive on excessive amounts of milk fat. Yet milk's
connotations are so primordial, its associations so pastoral and the interests
that promote it so enormous, that changing the way we think about it,
and drink it, will be a process every bit as challenging and root-and-branch
as the loss of unquestioning religious faith.
To the milk critics, the shibboleth that
osteoporosis is caused by calcium deficiency is one of the great myths
of our time. Mark Hegsted, a retired Harvard professor of nutrition, has
said, "To assume that osteoporosis is due to calcium deficiency is
like assuming that infection is due to penicillin deficiency." In
fact, the bone loss and deteriorating bone tissue that take place in osteoporosis
are due not to calcium deficiency but rather to its resorption: it's not
that our bodies don't get enough calcium, rather that they excrete too
much of what they already have.
For a long time, those concerned
about animal welfare seemed magically to exempt milk from their preoccupations.
Non-meat-eaters who still drink milk perpetuate the cycle that ends in
crated veal calves destined for European dinner tables. In order to lactate,
cows--like humans--first have to get pregnant. Calves are essentially
the waste by-product of the industry. What happens to them once they've
done what they were created to do --stimulate a cow's milk production
by the very fact of their being conceived?
T Colin Campbell, the Jacob Gould Schurman
Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, said that
"cows' milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen
to which humans are exposed."