Harm of milk - summary of scientific studies

03.08.2014 18:56

The harm of milk is one subject that I have written much about.

Why, exactly, is milk harmful? The article below, published in The Good Life in the mid-1990s, summarises some major scientific studies linking milk to various diseases.

But it seems that things are not all that straightforward. In recent years, there has been a campaign for real milk -- raw, unpasteurised milk – championed by, amonst others, the Weston Price Foundation. And it seems that raw milk do not produce any of the harm of milk that many scientific studies have shown.

This may well be true. But since practically all milk is sold as pasteurised milk – and also homogenised, UHT-treated, skimmed and otherwise processed, we would be better off avoiding milk unless we can get good quality, clean, raw milk.


Liquid meat!

Regular readers of this newsletters would know by now that milk and dairy foods are not “health foods” but that they cause many health problems instead. Below is a summary of major scientific studies linking milk to various diseases.


Harm of milk - Allergies



A teenage boy in hospital with muscular and skeletal pains, bronchial asthma, abdominal pains, headache and dark circles under the eyes experienced substantial improvement within two days when milk and chocolate were taken out of the diet. When milk was given to him again after three weeks, the… symptoms returned.


E G Weinberg and M Tuchinda, “Allegic Tension Fatigue Syndrome”
Annals of Allergy, 31:209-11, 1973
Cited in 
Let Food Be Thy Medicine, by Alex jack


Harm of milk - Anemia

Young children sometimes become aanemic due to significant iron loss from intestinal bleeding.

Studies show that over half the intestinal bleeding in children is a reaction to dairy products.

Many studies have measured the haemoglobin (iron) levels of people with different diet-styles. Vegetarians consistently fare better in these tests than do meat eaters. The only people who run into trouble are the ones who eat a lot of dairy products, fatty foods, sugar and junk foods.

Wilson J, Journal of Paediatrics, 1974, 84:335, 1974
Cited in 
Diet for a New America by John Robbins


Harm of milk - Arthritis

A 38-year-old woman had, for 11 years, been suffering from steadily worsening rheumatoid arthritis. Three weeks after doctors removed all dairy products from her diet, she showed signs of improvement. In four months, her arthritic symptoms had completely disappeared.

In the interest of scientific curiosity, she once again ate some cheese and milk. The next day, her joints were swollen, stiff and painful. Her symptoms again disappeared as she resumed her abstinence from dairy products.

Parke, A, “Rheumatoid Arthritis and Food…”
British Medical Journal, 282:2027, 1981
Cited in 
Diet for a New America, by John Robbins


Harm of milk - Asthma

Twenty five patients with bronchial asthma were put on a strict vegetarian diet and showed 71 percent improvement within four months and 92 percent improvement within one year.

The experimental diet avoided meat, dairy food, eggs and fish, as well as sugar, chocolate, salt and other foods.

O Lindahl, et al, “Vegan Diet Regimen with Reduced Medication in the Treatment of Cronchial Asthma”,
Journal of Asthma, 22:45-55, 1985
Cited in 
Let Food Be Thy Medicine, by Alex Jack


Harm of milk - Cancer

A 16-nation study, based on World Health Organisation Statistics, found a high correlation between consumption of animal protein, particularly from beef and dairy products, and lymphoma mortality.

The study indicated that beef and dairy food increased the risk of lymphosarcoma and Hodgkin’s disease by 70 and 61 percent respectively, while cereal grains lowered the risk by 46 and 38 percent.

Harvard University researchers asked hundreds of women with ovarian cancer to record in detail what they normally ate. There was one thing that they had eaten much more frequently than women without cancer: dairy products, especially the supposedly “healthy” products such as yoghurt.

The problem is the milk sugar, not the milk fat, so it id not solved by using nonfat products.

A S Cunningham, “ Lymphomas and animal protein consumption,” Lancet, 2:1184-86, 1976
Cited in 
The Cancer Prevention Diet, by Michio Kushi


Harm of milk - Cataracts

Pppulations that consume large amounts of milk and dairy products have a much higher incidence of cataracts.

The problem appears to be the milk sugar, lactose. In the digestive tract, lactose breaks apart, yielding two simple sugar molecules, glucose and galactose. When blood concentration of galactose increase, it can pass into the lens of the eye. There, galactose degrades into various molecular waste products that can lead to opacities of the lens.

Nursing children can generally handle galactose... As we age, many of us lose much of the capacity to break down galactose. There are even some rare cases of genetic defects in which children cannot break down galactose. These children can form cataracts within the first year of life.

Couet C, jan P Derby G, “Lctose and cataract in Humans: a review”, Journal of the American
College of Nutrients, 10(1):79-86, 1991
Cited in 
Food for Life, by Dr Neal Barnard


Harm of milk - Crime and delinquency

Excessive milk consumption is connected with juvenile delinquency. Researchers at the University of Washington found that male offenders consumed an average of 64 ounces of milk a day, while the control group rank an average of 30 ounces. For girls, the figures were 35 and 17 ounces.

In some situations,” they reported, “eliminating milk from the diet can result in dramatic improvements in behaviors, especially in hyperactive children.”

Alexander Schauss, Diet, Crime and Deliquency


Harm of milk - Diabetes in children

Cow's milk protein can enter the infant's blood stream and stimulate the formation of antibodies which, in turn, destroy the insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Diabetes becomes apparent when 80 – 90 percent of the insulin-producing beta cells are destroyed.

Researchers found high levels of antibodies to a specific portion of cow’s milk protein… in every one of 142 diabetic children they studied.Cow’s milk protein can even much reach a breast-feeding baby if the mother drinks milk.

Scott F W, “Cow milk and insulin-dependent diabetes melitus…”
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 50:728-30. 1989
Cited in 
Food for Life, by Dr Neal Barnard


Harm of milk - Multiple sclerosis

Children who are fed cow's milk formula grow up into adults with a higher susceptibility to multiple sclerosis than children who are breast-fed.

Cow’s milk contains only one fifth of the linoleic acid of human milk, and skimmed cow’s milk is utterly void of this important nutrient. Linoleic acid is essential for human nervous systems, which is where multiple sclerosis strikes.

Agranoff, B. “Diet and the Grographical Distribution of Multiple Sclerorosis,” Lancet, 2:1061, 1974
Cited in 
Diet for a New America, by John Robbins


Harm of milk - Osteoporosis

Pobably most surprising of all, milk has been found to contribute to osteoporosis – the very disease that it is supposed to help prevent!

Even those studies by the National Dairy Council for the express purpose of showing the benefits of milk for women susceptible to osteoporosis have, in fact, ended up showing something quite different.

In one Dairy Council sponsored study, women who drank an extra three 8-ounce glasses of low fat milk everyday for a year showed no significant increase in calcium balance. They were still in negative calcium balance after a full year of the regime.

The scientists who conducted the test said the women continued to develop osteoporosis due to “…the average 30 percent increase in protein intake during milk supplementation.

Recker R, “The Effects of Milk Supplementation on Calcium Metabolism, Bone Metabolism and Calcium Balance,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 41:254, 1985


The calcium in kale and other green vegetables is more efficiently absorbed than the calcium in milk.

Robert p Heaney and Connie M Weaver, “Calcium Absorption from Kale,”
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51:656-57, 1990


Milk does contain calcium... but they are also high in protein and diets that are high inprotein, especially animal protein, cause more calcium to be excreted. Meats also contain large quantities of phosphorus, which can impair calcium balance.

Hegsted R B, Barden H S, Zemel M B, Linkswiller H M,
“Urinary calcium and calcium balance in young men as affected by level of protein and phosphorus intake,”
Journal of Nutrition, 111:553-62, 1981