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What Nourishes Me Also Destroys Me

Men Need Milk Too June 13, 2003 

Good Housekeeping (GH) reports: 

"The Dairy Council of California says recent studies have linked the consumption of dairy foods by men with decreased risk for...colon cancer. In 2003, 72,800 new cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed in men. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 28,000 men will die this year from these cancers." 

How does one earn the famous GH "Seal of Approval"? By purchasing full page advertisements in their magazine, that's how. A full page ad in GH will set you back $200,000, and if that's not in your personal 2003 budget, take note that America's milk producers have averaged one full-page milkstache ad per issue through June of 2003. That's $1,200,000 investested for their cause. 

Let's examine the dairy industry's claim that milk consumption lowers colon cancer risk as reported by Good Housekeeping. The "recent" study referred to in the GH article actually was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) five years ago. 

JAMA is America's most quoted medical authority. "According to an article published in JAMA..." is a phrase that appears in bundreds or more newspapers each month, heralding blockbuster news. Every two weeks this journal is sent to 350,000 subscribers in the United States. 

In 1998, three months before the study was actually published 
(September 23/30, 1998 issue), the dairy industry held a press conference in New York announcing this earth shattering news: 

"Drinking low fat milk prevents colon cancer!" 

The senior author of the JAMA study, Peter Holt, MD, gratefully acknowledged the support of the National Dairy Council, which was kind enough to foot the bill for his phony research. 


This year, one out of 48 Americans will develop polyps in his/her colon. Of those who develop polyps, the additional risk of having that polyp develop into a colon cancer is about 2 1/2 percent, or one out of 40. Therefore, this year it is expected that one out of every 1,920 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon. Holt's article was titled: Modulation of Abnormal Colonic Epithelial Cell Proliferation and Differentiation by Low-Fat Dairy Foods. Publication of the study enabled the dairy industry to make fraudulent claims about their product. 

A review of the JAMA paper found that only seventy-three people with polyps were studied, and not even one person was diagnosed with colon cancer before or during the study. Less than half of these "subjects" were given low-fat dairy products containing calcium. Each of the human "laboratory animals" went home and kept a journal regarding his/her dairy consumption. Only one of these people was expected (based upon cancer statistics) to get colon cancer, yet the author and sponsor of the study placed great faith upon the incorrect assumptions and conclusions. So great was this fraud that that the dairy industry called a press conference and then wined, dined, and milked the nation's media into reporting their enormous lie. 

JAMA was aware that they were participating in a fraud, and tried to cover up evidence of milk mustache stains under their noses. The title page of the "clinical investigation" contains this news: "For Editorial comment see P. 1095." 

I reviewed the actual study and was outraged. Reporters rarely read scientific studies. That was clearly evidenced by the conclusions reached by those reporting this story. The editorial writer expressed both a sense of outrage and a sense of humor. This scientific journal could not run as coarse a headline as: 

"Sh*t happens." Instead, their classy satiric headline read: "Proliferation Happens." 

The author of the editorial, Dennis Ahnen, MD, in criticizing the experimental methodology and conclusions of Holt, wrote: 

"The fundamental relationship of proliferation (growth) to carcinogenesis (cancer) remains unclear...the value of proliferative (growth) measurements for identifying high risk subjects appears to be low...the reliability of proliferative 
(growth) measurement in the colon is uncertain." 

This medical editorial writer and fellow physician also criticized the experimental design and lack of professional technique and ethics of the researchers by writing: 

"The proliferative (growth) parameters measured were not stable over time...many of the statistically significant differences between the two groups (test subjects and placebo) were due as much (to other factors than those claimed by the researcher) to changes in proliferative parameters in the control group as they were to changes in the treatment group." 

Dr. Ahnen's outrage clearly can be read between the lines: 

"The timing of the proliferative changes also were not consistent during the study by Holt et. al. These types of variability suggest that if there is a treatment effect from low-fat dairy food, it is either too small or too variable to be consistently detected..." 

Dr. Ahnen, the JAMA critic, concludes that there is no way to accurately measure what Holt and the dairy industry claim to have measured. 

Good Housekeeping should not place their "Seal of Approval" on outrageous health claims because of advertising revenue. They compromise more than just their own integrity when doing so. Such lies and deceit for payment compromise the health of Good Housekeeping's readers. 

So what is the difference between Good Housekeeping and bad housekeeping? In the case of bad housekeeping, one occasionally sweeps dirt and dust and truth under the rug. Good Housekeeping's rug may appear to be fresh and clean on the outside, but that which they hide is gross filth. 

Robert Cohen

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