Why be Skeptical?
I just received a link to an article from one of my migraine group members with concern and confusion–quite understandably. I want to explain why articles like this are misleading and hope that this will help you in the future to see (and not panic!) what is wrong with them–here is the original it refers to.
The research has committed several errors:
- not looking at what kind of milk is consumed
- if grains are consumed
- what kind of other fats are consumed
- if sugar is consumed
The actual summary of the newspaper is totally misleading since the original study looks at the genetic connection of drinking milk (as opposed to eating fermented milk like yogurt and kefir) to genotypes–not mentioned in the newspaper at all. The original research isolated D-galactose as the possible cause for fractures, etc., and only looked at that and nothing else.
Studies that take a single food item humans eat and look at that in isolation are trouble for many very simple reasons. Milk is not pure D-galactose… so if you take D-galactose and look at what that does, perhaps you will find issues. Also, people eat a variety of foods that affect how milk is absorbed and used by the body and for what. For example, look at the 4 points I listed above. Each has a major influence on how the body responds to drink.
We already know that whole milk is the only healthy milk so if they looked at skim milk (no mention of the type of milk) then we know that it is a problem. If they did not separate milk types, that too is a problem since each milk type has a little bit different mineral and nutrition constituent–these also vary by brand! No mention of any of this in the research, so this is an epidemiological study without full information. That is a major problem.
Why grains, fat, and sugar have such significant effect on the bones:
- Grains prevent the absorption of nutrients by blocking protein synthesis and nutrient absorption in the intestines and the gut so while you are drinking calcium, it doesn’t absorb anywhere.
- Calcium is a fat soluble mineral and as such you need to eat it with animal fat in order to get is absorbed–calcium that cannot be absorbed may build up in your arteries causing plaque and later trouble!
- Sugar uses up all insulin–fat also uses insulin (see below)–so fat cannot absorb
This study has not only not looked at the type of milk (skim versus increased fat levels of however kind) but also has not studied if the people who drink them have been on the low-fat diet all their lives, which is likely since they studied people of the older generation in particular, all of whom grew up on the low-fat nonsense of the failed heart-health hypothesis.
I pulled sugar out separately since its relation to milk is difficult and unique. Sugar has a lot to do with how milk is used by the body since sugar blocks fat absorption for fuel and stores fat away. The problem is that both sugar AND fat use insulin for transport thus there is a contest!!!
If you are in carbs burning mode (most people are unless you are on the ketogenic diet), sugar has priority and so all other good stuff in the milk–such as fat, if not skim milk, and minerals as well as vitamins–are just trouble since insulin is tied down with sugar already. The fat in milk just gets deposited rather than used for handing out fat soluble minerals and vitamins. This means that calcium is just floating in your blood aimlessly and has the chance to cause trouble.
Most likely, had they checked, all the people in this study would also have had low vitamin D and high triglycerides! These are all connected but, of course, they have not checked!
I find studies like this very unprofessional. If I were a reviewer, it would not have had a chance to see daylight in print. Don’t believe everything you read!! Even if it is in the best of academic journals and the best of newspapers! Just stay skeptical!
Comments are welcome, as always.