Why the Recent Milk Research Is Faulty

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:

  1. not looking at what kind of milk is consumed
  2. if grains are consumed
  3. what kind of other fats are consumed
  4. 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.

The Problems

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.

Sugar

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.

Angela

About Be Healthy

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist who evaluates changes in behavior, chronic pain, decision-making, as a result of hormonal variations in the brain. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a migraineur, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic mutations of insulin and glucose transporters, and voltage gated sodium and calcium channel mutations. Such mutations cause major shifts in a migraine brain, unlike that of a non-migraine brain. A non-migraineur can handle electrolyte changes on autopilot. A migraineur must always be on manual guard for such changes to maintain electrolyte homeostasis. The book Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: How To Treat and Prevent Migraines Without Medicines - An Insider's View explains why we have migraines, how to prevent them and how to stay migraine (and medicine) free for life. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know at the moment and also some hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. While working on the 2nd edition of the book she also published academic articles: "Migraine Cause and Treatment" Mental Health in family Medicine, November 23, 2015, open access "Functional Prodrome in Migraines" Journal of Neurological Disorders, January 22, 2016, open access "Are Statistics Misleading Sodium Reduction Benefits?", Journal of Medical Diagnostic Method, February 3, 2016, open access “A Comment on Severe Headache or Migraine History Is Inversely Correlated With Dietary Sodium Intake: NHANES 1999-2004” Angela A Stanton PhD, 19 July 2016 DOI: 10.1111/head.12861 not open access, subscription is required to read it. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers. For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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