October 2016    
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Chocolate Milk - Disease in Disguise

Sixty-five years ago, as a child in kindergarten and my early years in grade school, I (John McDougall) was required, every morning, at a 15-minute refreshment break, to drink a half-pint carton of unsalted, bitter tasting tomato juice or cow's milk: white milk for two cents or chocolate milk for three cents. Because I was from a very low-income family I felt guilty about spending the extra penny for chocolate, but the taste of the white milk was too disgusting. My first grandson, Jaysen, attended public school at age five in the year 2009 in Calistoga, California. Milk was free. Apple Juice was $2 a day. His parents paid the extra $60 a month required by the school so that he could be exempt from drinking cow's milk. In Fiscal Year 2011, over 66 million half pints of milk were served through the Special Milk Program, an arm of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), at a reduced cost or for free to children in schools and childcare institutions. The School Nutrition Association, working with the dairy and other food industries, has been an integral part of our children's education since 1946.


Drinking white cow's milk is unpalatable for most children. As a result, the Dairy Association now actively promotes chocolate milk as "Nutrition in Disguise."


"Nutrition in Disguise" from the Dairy Industry


Nutrition in Cow's Milk


The dairy industry advertises that milk is the number-one food source to deliver three of the four nutrients of concern identified in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. Calcium is abundant in plant foods and no case of calcium deficiency has ever been reported on any natural diet. Vitamin D is an added ingredient. The richest source of potassium is from plant foods, not milk.


Actually there are five nutrients of concern listed by the 2015 Guidelines; the other two are fiber and iron, both of which are completely absent in cow's milk. Cow's milk fails to provide adequate amounts of dietary fiber, linoleic acid, iron, and vitamins niacin and C to meet the nutritional needs of adults and children.


A half pint of fat-reduced chocolate cow's milk contains 24 grams of sugar (about 100 calories). Half of the sugar is from natural lactose made by the cow, but the other half is simple sugar added during the manufacturing. This happens to be the same amount of sugar found in COCA-COLA (one half pint, 8.5 ounces, has 100 calories from 28 grams of sugar). Most U.S. schools now ban sodas and other sugary beverages, but not flavored chocolate milk, and 70 percent of milk served in schools is flavored.


The Basic Problem: Wrong Mammal


Animal Protein* Growth Rate
Human 1.2 180
Horse 2.4 60
Cow 3.3 47
Goat 4.1 19
Dog 7.1 8
Cat 9.5 7
Rat 11.8 4.5

Female mammals by definition secrete milk to fully nourish their young offspring. The nutrient content is specific for the growth requirements of each species. In general, the faster the young offspring grows, the higher the concentration of protein, calcium, and other nutrients in the mammal's milk. Human babies double in size in six months (180 days), and to support this slow development human breast milk is low in protein (1.2 grams per 100 grams of milk). Cow's milk, however, has almost three times the protein concentration in order to support a growth rate four times as great (47 days to double in size). Rat pups double in size in just 4.5 days and that rapid growth requires a protein concentration almost 10 times greater than that for human babies.


When a human child is fed cow's milk, designed for four times their natural growth rate, they become over-nourished. This means they get too many calories and too much fat, promoting obesity. It also means they get too much protein, which raises growth hormone levels. One consequence of accelerated growth is precocious puberty. Girls become women at 12 instead of 16. Boys mature earlier, too.


In reverse, for a moment, consider the consequences of feeding a calf human breast milk. The baby cow would fail to thrive on a food with one-fourth the concentration of vital nutrients required to support its faster growth. (You might be charged with farm animal abuse if you did this, so don't.) However, the disease-producing consequences of feeding the wrong species milk to children is rarely considered as harmful; rather this practice is universally thought of as "necessary, proper, and the best of all nutrition."


Experts Agree: Dairy Foods Are Unnecessary for Children


Contrary to the dairy industry's marketing campaigns, reviews of the scientific literature have concluded that taking in extra dietary calcium during childhood does not build strong bones. (See my book the Starch Solution for more details.)


Cow's Milk Is Dirty with Chemicals and Microbes


Cow's milk is high on the food chain and as a result of bioaccumulation and the concentration of environmental chemicals, the milk is laden with many poisonous chemicals. Veterinary drugs, heavy metals, radionuclides, mycotoxins and pesticides are chemical contaminants from animal feed that leave residues in cow's milk. These residues in milk also include antimicrobial drugs.


Dairy products are the foods most often recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of contamination with infectious agents, mostly bacteria. They are commonly tainted with disease-causing bacteria, such as salmonella, staphylococci, listeria, deadly E. coli O1573, and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. Milk is also contaminated with viruses known to cause lymphoma, leukemia, and immune deficiency in cattle.


A division of the USDA, the Animal and Plant Inspection Services (APHIS), reported in 2007 that 89% of U.S. dairy operations had cattle with evidence of infection with Bovine Leukemia Viruses (BLV). This infection affects nearly our entire milk supply in the U.S. Milk from many dairy farms is trucked to central processing plants and placed into tanks. Tanks representing herds containing 500 cows or more were found to be infected 100% of the time with these viruses. Scientists have known about this health hazard since 1969. Pasteurization does not remove the problem.


This virus is easily spread from cow's milk to other species of animals, and once infected they can become ill with leukemia. For example, in 1974 it was reported that when six infant chimpanzees were fed infected cow's milk two died of leukemia within a year. Using state-of-the-art detection methods, in December of 2003 researchers from the University of California, Berkeley published their findings that three-fourths (74%) of people from their community, with a study population of 257 humans, have been infected with bovine leukemia viruses. In 2015 this virus from cow's milk was reported to be linked to breast cancer.


First: Stop the Cow's Milk


Children should never consume cow's milk. This calf food should be the first thing that is stopped when trying to improve the family's diet. Naturally, babies drink mother's milk exclusively for the first six months. Then with the development of teeth and the coordination to grab food from mother's hands, the baby adds solid foods like cooked and mashed potatoes, corn, and rice. At two years of age the gastrointestinal system is developed to where solid food is the ideal diet. For more about this, see Diet, Children, and the Future.



Many common illnesses are caused by the macronutrients— protein, fat, and sugar (lactose)—in this foreign mammalian secretion.


Cow's-milk protein causes autoimmune diseases, including:

The milk sugar (lactose) is the most common cause of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, and gas, in people, including children four years of age and older. As many as 90% of non-white people worldwide have lactose (milk sugar) intolerance. For this reason alone, how could anyone believe that people should be drinking cow's milk?


The fat in cow's milk is a major cause of obesity. Half (49%) of the calories from whole cow's milk (labeled as 3.5% fat by weight) are from fat. Low-fat milk (2%) actually contributes 39% of its calories as fat. The fat you eat is the fat you wear. In addition, the fat (98%) is of the saturated variety, the natural kind that is the most damaging to the arteries, causing atherosclerosis. We all start out as babies with clean arteries, but that soon changes with the consumption of the rich Western diet. Children raised on cow's milk, meat, and other delicacies soon show fatty streaks (the earliest stage of atherosclerosis) in their aorta. This damage is seen as early as nine months of age, and all children on this diet show artery damage by age three years.



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