Clinical Nutrition Report: Kids Fed Dairy 3X Cancer Risk

on Feb 13
by Dr. Vikki Petersen | Print the article |

Here at HealthNOW’s Clinical Nutrition department we have found many of our patients to be intolerant to dairy products. More research is discovering the negative effects associated with dairy ingestion and today we’ll be discussing children, dairy and colorectal cancer.

The reaction that we see is not an ‘allergy’ in the true sense of the word, but a sensitivity or intolerance.

What’s the Difference Between ‘Allergy’ and ‘Intolerance’

Allergy – a reaction that occurs within an hour of consuming a food and the symptoms tend to be quite dramatic. E.g. Vomiting, hives, diarrhea, trouble breathing, etc.

Sensitivity or Intolerance – a reaction that occurs within several hours or days of consuming a food and the symptoms can be intense, mild or silent (meaning that you cannot ‘feel’ them but they are still damaging the body) and covers anything from digestive problems to non-digestive to degenerative changes that can lead to disease.

Individuals who have a true allergy tend to know it because the reason behind their symptoms is easy to track. If every time you drank milk you had diarrhea within an hour, for instance, it probably wouldn’t be long before you figured out the connection for yourself.

Sensitivities are trickier to spot due to the intervening time frame that can occur between ingestion and symptom development. Imagine you at a bagel for breakfast Sunday morning and Tuesday afternoon you got a headache and were quite exhausted. Would you think to ‘blame’ Sunday morning’s bagel? Unlikely, yet for many people that’s exactly the kind of scenario that occurs.

In this post I am referring to dairy sensitivities, not allergies.

As a clinical nutrition patient so aptly put it to me this morning, dairy foods and gluten foods are ‘well marketed’ and ‘positioned’ in our society. Whole wheat bread just ‘sounds’ healthy. Dairy products that are promised to ‘build strong bones’ and campaigns such as: ‘Milk- it does a body good’ are well ingrained into our society.

What If… a lot of what we’ve been told about dairy products is untrue?

What if the calcium in dairy didn’t build strong bones and what if, in fact, societies that ingested the largest amount of dairy products actually had the highest incidence of osteoporosis – meaning weakened bones?

What if the high phosphorous, protein and calcium in dairy products actually tended to prevent Vitamin D from being activated and therefore prevented the cancer prevention aspects of Vitamin D from manifesting themselves?

What if dairy products actually increased a substance in the blood called insulin-like growth factor, a known cancer causing agent?

All the above ‘what ifs’ have been documented in research studies.

Study Reveals Tripled Risk of Cancer

Getting back to children and their consumption of dairy products, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled “Childhood dairy intake and adult cancer risk: 65-year follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort” (December 2007), found that children consuming high quantities of dairy products tripled their risk of developing colorectal cancer as adults.

This was an incredibly robust study done in Scotland and England with 4,999 children. Beginning in 1937, participants were followed for two full years, and the study ended in 2005, sixty-eight years later. The almost 5,000 children were tracked based on their family’s food consumption 7 days per week. These children were then followed into adulthood up until their ultimate passing. Of the 5,000 children, 770 deaths due to cancer were recorded. The correlation of high dairy consumption and a tripled incidence of colorectal cancer was discovered.

High dairy consumption was defined as 2 plus glasses of milk per day or the equivalent in a different form of dairy.

Low dairy consumption was defined as ½ glass of milk or less per day or the equivalent in a different form such as cheese.

The correlation was independent of meat, fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as socioeconomic status.

What Should You Do?

In my family we have eliminated dairy consumption from any mammal including cow, goat and sheep. I have become convinced that milk from a mammal, other than your own mother when you’re an infant, is not beneficial for humans. If you compound the fact that we’re not really ‘designed’ to digest the milk of another mammal with the fact that the dairy products sold in this country are typically full of synthetic hormones, antibiotics and other toxic elements, you begin to see the problem.

I know that I will receive questions regarding the benefits of organic milk and unpasteurized milk. Granted, milk that doesn’t contain hormones and drugs would be better than the alternative, but you are still left with the milk of another mammal and I am convinced that is not beneficial in the long-run for optimal human health.

During the past several years we have gotten increasingly strict with our clinical nutrition patients in this regard and it has only confirmed that the above is factual. Additionally, patients who are gluten intolerant show a high preponderance of dairy sensitivities and this too is being confirmed in research findings.

I hope you find this helpful and I will continue to provide more information on this important topic as it becomes available. Unfortunately the dairy lobbies are quite powerful and such research is not happening in the numbers it needs to.

Please write to me with any questions you may have.

If your health is not at the level you desire, consider contacting us for a free health analysis – call 408-733-0400. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally – we are here to help!

p.s. I wrote an earlier post on milk alternatives that we recommend, so feel free to read that one here.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”


Permission is granted to re-post this article in its entirety with credit to Dr Vikki Petersen & HealthNOW Medical Center and a clickable link back to this page. Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN is founder of HealthNOW Medical Center and the author of “The Gluten Effect” and eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you”.  She has been featured in national magazines, international medical journals and is a frequent headlined speaker.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007 Dec;86(6):1722-9. “Childhood dairy intake and adult cancer risk: 65-y follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort.” van der Pols JC, Bain C, Gunnell D, Smith GD, Frobisher C, Martin RM.


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