Thursday, December 18, 2014

Scary Dairy

If you like milk it does not matter what science says; you will likely continue to drink it regardless of the harm you may be incurring. It's also likely you will agree that any negative reports about milk is the equivalent of denigrating the American flag, apple pie, motherhood, and maybe a communist conspiracy. But, if you are still reading, then take a look at the latest non-dairy industry report on milk:

Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies

BMJ 2014;349:g6015 “High milk intake (3+ glasses of milk a day) was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women. Positive association was seen between milk intake and both urine 8-iso-PGF2α (a biomarker of oxidative stress)and serum interleukin 6 (a main inflammatory biomarker).”

I will never forget the reaction to a report in the Journal Pediatrics March 2005. In shock, reporters took to the streets mics in hand to gauge mother’s reactions to the study showing that by pooling over 50 research results milk was not found to promote bone health. Predictably, mothers refused to change and breezily commented that they didn’t care and would continue to feed their children dairy.

The evidence is clear, milk does not do a body good. Oh, it does promote growth. This is why Americans are taller. But, it also promotes the growth of breast and prostate tumors and cancers. There are several other problems from drinking the milk of other species (mother’s milk is the best thing for humans): allergies, intestinal problems, acne, arthritis, etc.

Milk does have calcium, but its acidity and tendency to irritate the gut makes absorption of calcium problematic. So, it does not protect your bones as the milk industry would like you to believe. They base their promotional marketing on the fact that milk has calcium. In fact, osteoporosis seems to be a Western problem; cultures that do not drink milk have much lower rates of osteoporosis. About 90% of the world population has a milk intolerance. “Only” 65% of Americans are so affected.

The study above is about high consumption of milk, or more than three glasses a day. So, milk is probably ok once in a while, and likely harmless if used to wet your cereal. But, if you already have a poor diet, gut problems, a family history of cancer and are exposed to toxic environments, then, any decrease in risk factors would be advisable. Try rice, soy or almond milk with cereals.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Generics Increasing Cost - I Smell a Rat

Surely you have noticed how suddenly generic drugs’ prices have gone up 5-10 times.[1] Given the history of lying and outright fraud associated with Big Pharma you and I suspect some sordid deal cooking in secretive corporate meeting rooms. Some will cynically maintain that this is how businesses operate in general, as Adam Smith predicted they would. That greedy invisible hand does not know when to be satisfied; left unsupervised it will collude with others to rip off the public.[2]

Remember when we found out that Big Pharma was (and probably still is) paying generic companies to delay production of their drugs? They both benefit this way because the more expensive brand name drugs have no competition for a longer period of time.[3]

We just learned of another shameless tactic from brand name drug companies. They now claim that generics are not as good as their newer, more expensive products. The makers of Concerta for ADD claim that the oldie moldie drugs, such as methylphenidate, which worked just fine up to now, are causing patients unnecessary grief by failing to perform as well as Concerta.

The makers of methylphenidate are fighting back. They do not feel Concerta makers are looking at the scientific data on their products, and have even failed to meet to discuss this matter. I believe the methylphenidate makers. Despite the rift between drug makers I believe we, the public, will end up losing. I have no hope of improvement in the near future.

As Quixotic as it sounds, we must continue our efforts to rely less on symptomatic therapies and courageously face the roots of our medical problems: relationships, environment and diets.

PS- quit blaming your genes-they are responsible for only 15% of health problems….

[1] “High-Cost Generic Drugs — Implications for Patients and Policymakers,” N Engl J Med 2014; 371:1859

[2] “Wealth of Nations,” and “Theory of Moral Sentiment.”

[3] JAMA 2011;306:2443

Monday, December 1, 2014

Posting Calories

Soon there will be calorie counts on just about everything you consume, including concession stands at the movies.

It won’t work.

Sure, we all want to curve the obesity epidemic weighing down our society. But, this is an ill-conceived measure, little more than a PR move from Big Food. No doubt some outside that industry will see it as a step in the right direction, which it is in a way, if they are content with half-way measures that do little more than make us feel good. Sure, caloric content of foods will likely raise the level of awareness of this problem. But, will it have a significant impact? Will it reverse the epidemic that is breaking our health care system?

NOTHING will work until we courageously face the addicting nature of processed foods, especially sugars,[1] an unfortunately neglected issue in practically all discussions at all levels seeking to help Americans prevent most diseases.

Does an alcoholic stop drinking due to a warning on his bottle of booze?

Does a smoker quit smoking due to warnings on his pack of cigarettes?

Only behavioral approaches, public and family support AND taxes have been shown to curve consumer addictions. It will be no different with food addictions.


[1] “Toxic Truth About Sugar,” J. Nature 2012;482:27

“Neural Cortex Food Addiction,” J. Arch Gen Psy 2011, April 4th, Epub doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.32