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Milk Is Having a Shitty Week

Maybe you should believe some of that anti-milk hype that the hemp- and almond-water-chugging anti-dairy masses have been telling us for decades: Turns out, milk might actually be super-bad for you.
Photo via Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar

For children of the 90s, that deep-voiced echo of "Got milk?" rings in our ears more than a decade after the campaign faded. We were never truly weaned—assured by our elders that we would only make it above 5' 3" or live to see commercial space travel if we chugged a missing-child-emblazoned carton of two-percent every day without fail. But then college happened, we went through our phases of vegan rebellion or beer-only diets, and most of us generally forgot about the importance of getting (got-ting?) milk.


But some people carried on with their mouths to the figurative udder, sipping on a tall glass of the white stuff alongside their filet mignon or fish tacos or what have you. And those people are probably going to die younger than the rest of us, because it turns out that milk might be really bad for you.

A recent study of data from more than 100,000 people in Sweden over the course of 11 to 20 years found a positive correlation between high milk consumption and mortality for both sexes, as well as a higher incidence of bone fracture in women. Participants completed two surveys more than a decade apart, which documented their diet, including their milk intake; they—along with their health records—were then tracked until death or December 2010, depending on which came first.

Some are skeptical of the data from the study because it demonstrates correlation instead of causation, but one possible reason for the connection between milk, mortality, and bone fragility could stem from dairy's inflammatory properties due to the production of D-galactose, a substance produced by the body when processing high levels of lactose and other compounds.

On the plus side, fermented dairy products such as yogurt and cheese (ugh, isn't cheese just the best?) actually had a correlation with lower incidences of bone fracture and premature death. Every daily serving of fermented dairy was associated with a 10 to 15 percent reduction in risk of the aforementioned for women, though for men it wasn't quite as dramatic. Whatever. Let's all throw our half-gallon jugs of milk into the street, have a casserole dish full of mac 'n' cheese for dinner tonight, and call it science.

So basically, your parents inadvertently lied to you, your school cafeteria lied to you, most of your doctors have probably lied to you, and worst of all, the US Department of Agriculture—which recommends drinking three cups of milk a day—definitely lied to you, although we all know that it's because they're being hassled by dairy-centric interest groups left and right.

Seriously, though, milk is having a shitty week. A couple of other incidents of cow baby juice operating as Public Enemy Number One from the past few days: a German woman used a spray of her breast milk to stun the staff at a pharmacy, which she subsequently robbed amid the confusion. The woman, described as "robust," aimed her nipple and shot it in the eyes of a store associate before grabbing a wad of cash and goods on her way out. And let's not forget the Calgary man who is in court this week because he gave his wife blistering, second-degree burns by dousing her with boiling hot milk.

Not to worry though, milk slangers of America: dairy farm rep group Dairy Management Inc. has noticed the rising sentiment in recent years that drinking glass after glass of straight milk is kind of gross, and announced yesterday that they're putting half a billion dollars into seven new partnerships with the aim of encouraging the American people to "put milk back in the center of the rapidly growing health and wellness beverage market."

Their timing could have been a little bit better.