Earlier this year, the dairy industry was once again caught hyping a distorted study to claim that milk prevents diabetes. Based on research conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, milk proponents claimed that if you drank enough milk, you would reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Leave it to the dairy industry to come up with a whopper like this. They'd like you to believe milk will do anything -- it will increase your bone mass, make you lose weight and now it will prevent diabetes. But what's wrong with this study? It fails to mention that the results are simply based on replacing another, more harmful beverage with milk.
Drinking milk is a replacement for drinking carbonated soft drinks -- those high-sugar beverages that cause diabetes. It's no surprise that people who stop drinking soda and start drinking milk are going to demonstrate a lower level of diabetes. You could get the same reduced diabetes risk by replacing soft drinks with water. You could then say water prevents diabetes in the same way this study says milk prevents diabetes. In fact, any beverage that doesn't cause diabetes can be made to look like it "prevents" diabetes by comparing it to soft drinks.
This hyping of milk as a diabetes prevention beverage if nothing but junk science, yet it's being reported as fact by newspapers and cable news networks that just parrot whatever press releases their advertisers send them.
Junk science is the norm
I could just as easily say that watching television prevents rock climbing injuries. It's true! I conducted a study looking at 5,000 people who watched a lot of television and found they had a really low rate of rock-climbing injuries. That proves it. I should issue a press release. Maybe we will get all the national news media and television stations to run that as news.
Now, of course, you know that this is complete nonsense, but it's the same logic that says milk prevents diabetes. It is a replacement activity. In the same way, people who are drinking milk aren't drinking carbonated, sugary beverages nearly as much, so of course they are not going to have a high rate of diabetes.
I hate to be the one to have to point this out, but what happened to critical thinking skills in our society? Aren't scientists supposed to be scientific? Aren't journalists supposed to ask the basic fundamental questions about these stories before they report them as fact?
This just goes to demonstrate that scientific and medical reports that fill our mediascape are not based on scientific thought. People spin the studies and distort the models to help sell products. That is what passes as scientific thinking and medical science today. Then, as long as it fits the current model or belief system, it gets published in the medical journals, and if anything is discovered outside of that belief system, it must not be true. The message of the day seems to be: "Let's keep the advertisers happy, and let's keep people drinking milk."
Why would humans need to drink liquids from bovines?
Even the USDA goes along with this message, encouraging people to consume mass quantities of bovine extract as part of the food pyramid. I'm not sure what science they distorted to come up with that, but it is one of the strangest ideas around. To think that human beings are supposed to drink liquids produced by the mammary glands of other species makes no scientific sense whatsoever. These are animals with fur and hooves. It takes genuinely twisted thinking to suppose that we should be drinking liquids from them.
Even further, to suppose that consuming this bovine extract prevents diabetes is not just a leap of faith; it's a bungee jump! This distortion is so extreme, you'd have to be a complete novice in scientific thinking to believe it. Do you really want to find out what milk does for people? Conduct a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study on milk versus water, and you'll find out just how dangerous milk is for human health. It promotes cardiovascular disease and increases the risk of colon cancer due to the animal fats it contains. We also see type-1 diabetes in young children, which can be caused by consuming high amounts of milk. We know that infant deaths increase when they are fed cow's milk instead of human breast milk. We also know a vast majority of people are allergic to milk proteins and can't digest them properly.
And then there's the stink factor: Drinking milk (or eating dairy products) flatly makes you stink. It makes you smell like a milk-and-butter American, and it drives huge profits in the deodorant industry. Give up milk products for 30 days, and you won't stink nearly as much. Give up all animal products for 30 days, and you may actually be able to skip a shower or two.
The prevalence of the dairy industry's dubious claim is an example of media's role as a propaganda machine for advertisers
What I am surprised about is mainstream journalism these days. Much of the time, as we now know, they just make up their sources. If they need something to fill in the blanks, they just dream them up. Journalism is a mess in this country, and the fact that this story was major headline news all around the country just demonstrates it even further.
Where is the critical thinking out there? Basically, big media is just a system of propaganda to make consumers buy the things that the advertisers push. It's just a giant system of circular logic, and with enough repetition, even the most ridiculous statements start to sound true. People start believing the lies. They believe milk will help you lose weight, which is absurd. The only way milk will help you lose weight is if you use it as a replacement beverage for something else that's far worse for you. It is easy to show that doing something other than drinking soft drinks will help you lose weight, but the credit shouldn't go to milk. Replacing soft drinks with anything -- water, tea or even beer -- will also help you lose weight. It's basic common sense.
Mainstream media conducts press-release journalism
I really wonder what has happened to the minds of the people running the mainstream newspapers these days. I know there are some great journalists out there engaged in some fantastic journalism, but they are not the majority. They are the exception. The vast majority of these papers are just parading what comes across their desks. It is like they have a teleprompter there, and they are just repeating what comes their way. People think, "Whatever the editor handed to me must be news." And the editor says it must be news, because it was faxed to him by the dairy industry
On health issues, the country already believes other absurd things like prescription drugs make you healthier and herbal medicine is dangerous. We have been told things like vitamin E will kill us, thanks to the American medical system and the researchers who are paid to drum up with these results.
Milk will prevent diabetes, and it will lower your taxes; did you know that? It may repair your car, if you pour it into your gas tank, and you will get better gas mileage because cows can run. Milk does the car good -- just pour it on in there. Milk is a great lubricant and a plant fertilizer. See, I can make claims the same way the dairy industry does, and you can come up with some of your own. Milk will do whatever you want it to do. It is the miracle liquid from alien cows.
By the way, if any other beverage made the same claims about their products as the milk industry, they'd be put out of business by the FDA for making health claims. The claims stated for milk seem to put it in the category of a drug that treats diabetes. So why doesn't the dairy industry apply for FDA approval for milk? Why don't they sell milk as a drug that you need a prescription for? After all, they say that it is an anti-diabetic drug, and next they'll say it is an anti-heart-disease drug or that it is an anti-diarrhea drug because it causes constipation.
If there was money in the human breast milk industry, and you could convince people to drink that, can you imagine all the incredible, yet true, claims that would be made about human breast milk? That is the milk human beings are supposed to drink. Let's face it: Human babies don't have the urge to crawl towards a cow and start suckling. Their connection is with their human mothers who supply them with real nutrition. It only makes sense that human breast milk would be better for you than cow's milk, so why don't we have studies on human breast milk? It's because they can't sell it to you. It doesn't come from a factory where mothers are hooked up to a machine and their milk is bottled and sold in the grocery store. That's not saying some corporations wouldn't do that if they could get away with it, but it's not happening today.
Where there's a market, the science can always be invented
Marketers will invent science to support whatever it is they're doing. Maybe next they will find a way to milk little mice with miniature "milkers." They might milk those mice and sell it as "miracle mice milk." Do you think people would drink that? It makes just as much sense as drinking cow's milk.
Actually, milk from mice might be more nutritious than the milk from cows. Come to think of it, I may start a company called Miracle Mouse Milk, and we'll take all the studies the dairy industry has produced and replace the words "cow's milk" with "mouse milk." Of course, people wouldn't buy that; they'd be grossed out and say, "Why on earth would I drink milk from a mouse?" Exactly. What crazy human would drink milk from another species?
Let's face it: Cow's milk is popular because it is profitable. It has so-called science behind it, but science can be invented, distorted and made to say anything any industry wants it to say. For humans, there is nothing nutritionally advantageous about cow's milk, and there is no mechanism by which cow's milk prevents type 2 diabetes. In fact, cow's milk helps promote chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type-1 diabetes and stagnation throughout the body. The literature on this is well-documented. No person in their right mind could say that milk is good for human beings if they are familiar with the real science on this (and not the hijacked studies that are latched onto by the dairy industry to promote exaggerated conclusions).
At least if we can't get good nutrition from cow's milk, we can get good entertainment from reading the press releases put out by the dairy industry. It gives me a good laugh every time I see the dairy industry's spin on these studies. But I think it would be more entertaining if we could convince the dairy industry to start milking little mice and selling mice milk to the public. After all, mice are mammals, too, and mice milk is no more foreign to the human body than cow's milk or moose milk.
Of course, given the complete disregard for animal welfare in the conventional dairy industry, they'd probably pump the mice full of rBGH (artificial growth hormones used on cows), and the mice would grow to the size of rabbits. Mighty mouse milk! Now available in strawberry and chocolate flavors!