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The Milk Letter
excerpted from A Message to My Patients, by Robert M. Kradjian, MD


Just the word itself sounds comforting! “How about a nice cup of hot milk?” The last time you heard that question, it was from someone who cared for you–and you appreciated the effort.

The entire matter of food and especially that of milk is surrounded with emotional and cultural importance. Milk was our very first food. If we were fortunate, it was our mother’s milk. A loving link, given and taken. It was the only path to survival. If not mother’s milk, it was cow’s milk or soy milk “formula” –rarely it was goat, camel or water buffalo milk.

Now, we are a nation of milk drinkers. Nearly all of us. Infants, the young, adolescents, adults and even the aged. We drink dozens or even several hundred gallons a year and add to that many pounds of dairy products such as cheese, butter and yogurt.

Can there be anything wrong with this? We see reassuring images of healthy, beautiful people on our television screens and hear messages that assure us that “Milk is good for your body.” Our dietitians insist that “You’ve got to have milk, or where will you get your calcium?” School lunches always include milk and nearly every hospital meal will have milk added. And if that isn’t enough, our nutritionists told us for years that dairy products make up an “essential food group.” Industry spokesmen made sure that colorful charts proclaiming the necessity of milk and other essential nutrients were made available at no cost for schools. Cow’s milk became “normal.”

You may be surprised to learn that most of the human beings that live on planet Earth today do not drink or use cow’s milk. Further, most of them can’t drink milk because it makes them ill.

There are students of human nutrition who are not supportive of milk use for adults. Here is a quotation from the March/April 1991 Utne Reader:

“If you really want to play it safe, you may decide to join the growing number of Americans who are eliminating dairy products from their diets altogether. Although this sounds radical to those of us weaned on milk and the five basic food groups, it is eminently viable. Indeed, of all the mammals, only humans–and then only a minority, principally Caucasians –continue to drink milk beyond babyhood.”

Who is right?

I believe there are three reliable sources of information. The first, and probably the best, is a study of nature. The second is to study the history of our own species. Finally we need to look at the world’s scientific literature on the subject of milk.

Let’s look at the scientific literature first. From 1988 to 1993 there were more than 2,700 articles dealing with milk recorded in the “Medicine” archives. Fifteen hundred of these had milk as the main focus. I reviewed more than 500 of the 1,500 articles, discarding articles that dealt exclusively with animals, esoteric research and inconclusive studies.

How would I summarize the articles? They were only slightly less than horrifying. First of all, none of the authors spoke of cow’s milk as an excellent food, free of side effects and the “perfect food” as we have been led to believe by the industry. The main focus of the published reports seems to be on intestinal colic, intestinal irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions in infants and children, as well as infections such as salmonella. More ominous is the fear of viral infection with bovine leukemia virus or an AIDS-like virus, as well as concern for childhood diabetes. Contamination of milk by blood and white (pus) cells as well as a variety of chemicals and insecticides was also discussed.

Among children the problems were allergy, ear and tonsillar infections, bedwetting, asthma, intestinal bleeding, colic and childhood diabetes. In adults the problems seemed centered more around heart disease and arthritis, allergy, sinusitis and the more serious questions of leukemia, lymphoma and cancer.

I think an answer can also be found in a consideration of what occurs in nature–what happens with free living mammals and what happens with human groups living in close to a natural state as “huntergatherers.”

Our paleolithic ancestors are another crucial and interesting group to study. Here we are limited to speculation and indirect evidence, but the bony remains available for our study are remarkable.

There is no doubt whatever that these skeletal remains reflect great strength, muscularity (the size of the muscular insertions show this) and total absence of advanced osteoporosis. And if you feel that these people are not important for us to study, consider that today our genes are programming our bodies in almost exactly the same way as our ancestors of 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. WHAT IS MILK?

Milk is a maternal lactating secretion, a short-term nutrient for newborns. Nothing more, nothing less.

Invariably, the mother of any mammal will provide milk for a short period of time immediately after birth. When the time comes for weaning, the young offspring is introduced to the proper food for that species. A familiar example is that of a puppy. The mother nurses the pup for just a few weeks and then rejects the young animal and teaches it to eat solid food. Nursing is provided in nature only for the very youngest of mammals. Of course, it is not possible for animals living in a natural state to continue with the drinking of milk after weaning. IS ALL MILK THE SAME?

Then there is the matter of where we get our milk. We have settled on the cow because of its docile nature, size and abundant milk supply. Somehow this choice seems “normal” and blessed by nature, our culture and our customs. But is it natural? Is it wise to drink the milk of another species of mammal?

Consider, if it were possible, drinking the milk of a mammal other than a cow, let’s say a rat. Or perhaps the milk of a dog would be more to your liking. Possibly some horse milk or cat milk. Do you get the idea? Well, I’m not serious, except to suggest that human milk is for human infants, dogs’ milk is for pups, cows’ milk is for calves and so forth. Clearly, this is the way nature intends it.

Milk is not just milk. The milk of every species of mammal is unique and specifically tailored to the requirements of that animal. For example, cows’ milk is very much richer in protein than human milk. Three to four times as much. It has five to seven times the mineral content. However, it is markedly deficient in essential fatty acids when compared with human mothers’ milk. Mothers’ milk has six to 10 times as much of the essential fatty acids, especially linoleic acid. (Incidentally, skimmed cow’s milk has no linoleic acid.) It simply is not designed for humans.

Food is not just food, and milk is not just milk. It is not only the proper amount of food but the proper qualitative composition that is critical for the very best in health and growth. Biochemists and physiologists—and rarely medical doctors—are gradually learning that foods contain the crucial elements that allow a particular species to develop its unique specializations.

Clearly, our specialization is for advanced neurological development and delicate neuromuscular control. We do not have much need of massive skeletal growth or huge muscle groups as does a calf. Think of the difference between the demands made on the human hand and the demands on a cow’s hoof. Human newborns specifically need critical material for their brains, spinal cord and nerves. WELL, AT LEAST COW’S MILK IS PURE

Or is it? Fifty years ago an average cow produced 2,000 pounds of milk per year. Today the top producers give 50,000 pounds! How was this accomplished? By the use of drugs, antibiotics, hormones, forced feeding and specialized breeding.

One of the latest high-tech onslaughts on the poor cow is bovine growth hormone or BGH. This genetically engineered drug is supposed to stimulate milk production but, according to Monsanto, the hormone’s manufacturer, it does not affect the milk or meat. There are three other manufacturers: Upjohn, Eli Lilly and American Cyanamid. Obviously, there have been no long-term studies on the hormone’s effect on humans who drink the milk. Other countries have banned BGH because of safety concerns. One of the problems with adding molecules to a milk cow’s body is that the molecules usually come out in the milk. I don’t know how you feel, but I don’t want to experiment with the ingestion of a growth hormone.

A related problem is that it causes a marked increase (50% to 70%) in mastitis. This, then, requires antibiotic therapy, and the residues of the antibiotics appear in the milk. It seems that the public is uneasy about this product, and in one survey 43% felt that growth-hormone-treated milk represented a health risk. A vice president for public policy at Monsanto was opposed to labeling for that reason, and because the labeling would create an “artificial distinction.”

Any lactating mammal excretes toxins through her milk. This includes antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals and hormones. Also, all cows’ milk contains blood! The inspectors are simply asked to keep it under certain limits.

So is milk pure or is it a chemical, biological and bacterial cocktail?

One nasty subject must be discussed. It seems that cows are forever getting infections around the udder that require ointments and antibiotics. An article from France tells us that when a cow receives penicillin, that penicillin appears in the milk for from four to seven milkings. Another study, from the University of Nevada at Reno, tells of cells in “mastic milk,” milk from cows with infected udders. An elaborate analysis of the cell fragments was conducted, employing cell cultures, flow cytometric analysis and a great deal of high-tech stuff. Do you know what the conclusion was? If the cow has mastitis, there is pus in the milk. Sorry, it’s in the study, all concealed with language such as “macrophages containing many vacuoles and phagocytosed particles, etc.” IT GETS WORSE

Well, at least human mothers’ milk is pure! Sorry. A huge study showed that human breast milk in more than 14,000 women had pesticide contamination! Further, it seems that the sources of the pesticides are meat and–you guessed it–dairy products.Well, why not? These pesticides are concentrated in fat and that’s what’s in these products. (A subgroup of lactating vegetarian mothers had only half the levels of contamination.)

There are dozens of studies describing the prompt appearance of cows’ milk allergy in children being exclusively breast-fed! The cows’ milk allergens simply appear in the mother’s milk and are transmitted to the infant.

A committee on nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics reported on the use of whole cows’ milk in infancy (Pediatrics 1983: 72-253). They were unable to provide any cogent reason why bovine milk should be used before the first birthday yet continued to recommend its use! Dr. Frank from the Upstate Medical Center Department of Pediatrics, commenting on the recommendation, cited the problems of occult gastrointestinal blood loss in infants, the lack of iron, recurrent abdominal pain, milk-borne infections and contaminants, and said: Why give it at all–then or ever? In the face of uncertainty about many of the potential dangers of whole bovine milk, it would seem prudent to recommend that whole milk not be started until the answers are available. Isn’t it time for these uncontrolled experiments on human nutrition to come to an end?

In late 1992 Dr. Benjamin Spock, possibly the best-known pediatrician in history, shocked the country when he articulated the same thoughts and specified avoidance for the first two years of life. Here is his quotation:

“I want to pass on the word to parents that cows’ milk from the carton has definite faults for some babies. Human milk is the right one for babies. A study comparing the incidence of allergy and colic in the breast-fed infants of omnivorous and vegan mothers would be important. I haven’t found such a study; it would be both important and inexpensive. And it will probably never be done. There is no academic or economic profit involved.” OTHER PROBLEMS

Let’s mention the problems of bacterial contamination. Salmonella, E. coli and staphylococcal infections can be traced to milk. In the old days tuberculosis was a major problem and some folks want to go back to those times by insisting on raw milk on the basis that it’s “natural.” This is insanity!

A study from UCLA showed that over a third of all cases of salmonella infection in California, 1980-1983, were traced to raw milk. That’ll be a way to revive good old brucellosis again, and I would fear leukemia too. (More about that later). In England and Wales, where raw milk is still consumed, there have been outbreaks of milk-borne diseases. The Journal of the American Medical Assn. (251: 483, 1984) reported a multistate series of infections caused by Yersinia enterocolitica in pasteurized whole milk.

All parents dread juvenile diabetes for their children. A Canadian study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 1990, describes a “...significant positive correlation between consumption of unfermented milk protein and incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in data from various countries. Conversely, a possible negative relationship is observed between breastfeeding at age 3 months and diabetes risk.”

The April 18, 1992, British Medical Journal has a fascinating study contrasting the difference in incidence of juvenile insulin dependent diabetes in Pakistani children who have migrated to England. The incidence is roughly 10 times greater in the English group compared with children remaining in Pakistan! What caused this highly significant increase? The authors said that “the diet was unchanged in Great Britain.” Do you believe that? Do you think that the availability of milk, sugar and fat is the same in Pakistan as it is in England? That a grocery store in England has the same products as food sources in Pakistan? I don’t believe that for a minute. Remember, we’re not talking here about adultonset, type II diabetes, which all workers agree is strongly linked to diet as well as to a genetic predisposition. This study is a major blow to the “it’s all in your genes” crowd. Type I diabetes was always considered to be genetic or possibly viral, but now this? So resistant are we to consider diet as causation that the authors of the article concluded that the cooler climate in England altered viruses and caused the very real increase in diabetes! LEUKEMIA? LYMPHOMA? THIS MAY BE THE WORST–BRACE YOURSELF!

I hate to tell you this, but the bovine leukemia virus is found in more than three of five dairy cows in the United States! This involves about 80% of dairy herds. Unfortunately, when the milk is pooled, a very large percentage of all milk produced is contaminated (90% to 95%). Of course, the virus is killed in pasteurization–if done correctly. What if the milk is raw? In a study of randomly collected raw milk samples, the bovine leukemia virus was recovered from twothirds.

As mentioned, the leukemia virus is rendered inactive by pasteurization. However, there can be Chernobyl-like accidents. One of these occurred in the Chicago area in April 1985. At a modern, large milk-processing plant an accidental “cross connection” between raw and pasteurized milk occurred. A violent salmonella outbreak followed, killing four and making an estimated 150,000 ill.

Now the question I would pose to the dairy-industry people is this: “How can you assure the people who drank this milk that they were not exposed to the ingestion of raw, unkilled, active bovine leukemia viruses?” Further, it would be fascinating to know if a “cluster” of leukemia cases blossoms in that area in one to three decades.

What happens to other species of mammals when they are exposed to the bovine leukemia virus? It’s a fair question and the answer is not reassuring. Virtually all animals exposed to the virus develop leukemia. This includes sheep, goats and even primates such as rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees.

The route of transmission includes ingestion (both intravenous and intramuscular) and cells present in milk. There are obviously no instances of transfer attempts to human beings, but we know that the virus can infect human cells in vitro. There is evidence of human antibody formation to the bovine leukemia virus; this is disturbing. How did the bovine leukemia virus particles gain access to humans and become antigens? Was it as small, denatured particles?

If the bovine leukemia virus causes human leukemia, we could expect the dairy states with known leukemic herds to have a higher incidence of human leukemia. Is this so? Unfortunately, it seems to be the case! Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin have statistically higher incidence of leukemia than the national average. In Russia and in Sweden, areas with uncontrolled bovine leukemia virus have been linked with increases in human leukemia. I am also told that veterinarians have higher rates of leukemia than the general public. Dairy farmers have significantly elevated leukemia rates. Recent research shows lymphocytes from milk fed to neonatal mammals gains access to bodily tissues by passing directly through the intestinal wall.

What does this all mean? We know that a virus is capable of producing leukemia in other animals. Is it proven that it can contribute to human leukemia (or lymphoma, a related cancer)?

One of the more thoughtful articles on this subject is from Allan S. Cunningham of Cooperstown, N.Y. Writing in the Lancet, Nov. 27, 1976 (page 1184), his article is titled, “Lymphomas and Animal-Protein Consumption.” Many people think of milk as “liquid meat” and Dr. Cunningham agrees. He tracked the beef and dairy consumption in terms of grams per day for a one-year period in 15 countries. New Zealand, United States and Canada were highest, in that order. The lowest was Japan, followed by Yugoslavia and France. The difference between the highest and lowest was quite pronounced: 43.8 grams/day for New Zealanders versus 1.5 for Japan. Nearly a 30- fold difference!

Cunningham found a highly significant positive correlation between deaths from lymphomas and beef and dairy ingestion in the 15 countries analyzed. OTHER CANCERS–DOES IT GET WORSE?

Unfortunately, it does. Ovarian cancer–a particularly nasty tumor–was associated with milk consumption by workers at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. Drinking more than one glass of whole milk or equivalent daily gave women a 3.1 times greater risk than in nonmilk users. It was felt that the reduced- fat milk products helped reduce the risk. This association has been made repeatedly by numerous investigators.

Another important study, this from the Harvard Medical School, analyzed data from 27 countries mainly from the 1970s. Again a significant positive correlation is revealed between ovarian cancer and per capita milk consumption. These investigators feel that the lactose component of milk is the responsible fraction, and the digestion of this is facilitated by the persistence of the ability to digest the lactose (lactose persistence)–a little different emphasis, but the same conclusion. This study was reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology 130 (5): 904-10 Nov. 1989. These articles come from two of the country’s leading institutions, not the Rodale Press or Prevention magazine.

Even lung cancer has been associated with milk ingestion. The beverage habits of 569 lung cancer patients and 569 controls, again at Roswell Park, were studied in the International Journal of Cancer, April 15, 1989. Persons drinking whole milk three or more times daily had a twofold increase in lung cancer risk when compared with those never drinking whole milk.

There are not many reports studying an association between milk ingestion and prostate cancer. One such report was of great interest. This is from the Roswell Park Memorial Institute and is found in Cancer 64 (3): 605- 12, 1989. It analyzed the diets of 371 prostate cancer patients and comparable control subjects:

Men who reported drinking three or more glasses of whole milk daily had a relative risk of 2.49 compared with men who reported never drinking whole milk. The weight of the evidence appears to favor the hypothesis that animal fat is related to increased risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer now is the most common cancer diagnosed in U.S. men and is the second-leading cause of cancer mortality. WELL, WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

Is there any health reason at all for an adult human to drink cows’ milk?

It’s hard for me to come up with even one good reason other than simple preference. But if you try hard, in my opinion, these would be the best two: Milk is a source of calcium and it’s a source of amino acids (proteins).

Let’s look at calcium first. Why are we concerned at all about calcium? Obviously, we intend it to build strong bones and protect us against osteoporosis. And no doubt about it, milk is loaded with calcium. But is it a good calcium source for humans? I think not. These are the reasons: Excessive amounts of dairy products actually interfere with calcium absorption. Secondly, the excess of protein that the milk provides is a major cause of osteoporosis. Dr. Hegsted in England has been writing for years about the geographical distribution of osteoporosis. It seems that the countries with the highest intake of dairy products are invariably the countries with the most osteoporosis. He feels that milk is a cause of osteoporosis. Reasons are given below.

Numerous studies have shown that the level of calcium ingestion and especially calcium supplementation have no effect whatever on the development of osteoporosis. The most important such article appeared recently in the British Journal of Medicine, where the long arm of our dairy industry can’t reach. Another study in the United States actually showed a worsening in calcium balance in post-menopausal women given three 8-oz. glasses of cows’ milk per day. (Am. Journal of Clin. Nutrition, 1985). The effects of hormone, gender, weight-bearing on the axial bones and, in particular, protein intake, are critically important. Another observation that may be helpful to our analysis is to note the absence of any recorded dietary deficiencies of calcium among people living on a natural diet without milk.

For the key to the osteoporosis riddle, don’t look at calcium, look at protein. Consider these two contrasting groups: Eskimos have an exceptionally high protein intake, estimated at 25% of total calories. They also have a high calcium intake, at 2,500 mg/day. Their osteoporosis is among the worst in the world. The other instructive group are the Bantus of South Africa. They have a 12% protein diet, mostly plant protein, and only 200 to 350 mg/ day of calcium, about half our women’s intake. The women have virtually no osteoporosis despite bearing six or more children and nursing them for prolonged periods! When African women immigrate to the United States, do they develop osteoporosis? The answer is yes, but not quite as much as Caucasian or Asian women. Thus, there is a genetic difference that is modified by diet.

To answer the obvious question, “Well, where do you get your calcium?”, the answer is: “From exactly the same place the cow gets the calcium, from green things that grow in the ground,” mainly leafy vegetables. After all, elephants and rhinos develop their huge bones by eating green leafy plants; so do horses.

If animal references do not convince you, think of the several billion humans on this earth who have never seen cows’ milk. Wouldn’t you think osteoporosis would be prevalent in this huge group? The dairy people would suggest this but the truth is exactly the opposite. They have far less than that seen in the countries where dairy products are commonly consumed. It is the subject of another paper, but the truly significant determinants of osteoporosis are grossly excessive protein intakes and lack of weight-bearing on long bones, both taking place over decades. Hormones play a secondary, but not trivial, role in women. Milk is a deterrent to good bone health. THE PROTEIN MYTH

Remember when you were a kid and the adults all told you to “make sure you get plenty of good protein”? Protein was the nutritional “good guy” when I was young. And of course milk is fitted right in.

As regards protein, milk is indeed a rich source of protein—“liquid meat,” remember? However that isn’t necessarily what we need. In fact, it is a source of difficulty. Nearly all Americans eat too much protein.

For this information we rely on the most authoritative source I am aware of. This is the latest edition (1oth, 1989: 4th printing, Jan. 1992) of the “Recommended Dietary Allowances” produced by the National Research Council. The current editor of this important work is Dr. Richard Havel of the University of California at San Francisco. First to be noted is that the recommended protein has been steadily revised downward in successive editions. The current recommendation is 0.75 g/kilo/day for adults 19 through 51 years old. This, of course, is only 45 grams per day for the mythical 60-kg. adult. You should also know that the WHO estimated the need for protein in adults at 0.6g/kilo per day. (All RDAs are calculated with large safety allowances in case you’re the type who wants to add some more to “be sure.”) You can “get by” on 28 to 30 grams a day if necessary!

Now 45 grams a day is a tiny amount of protein–an ounce and a half! Consider too, that the protein does not have to be animal protein. Vegetable protein is identical, for all practical purposes, and has no cholesterol and vastly less saturated fat

Therefore virtually all Americans, Canadians, British and Europeans are in a protein overloaded state. This has serious consequences when maintained over decades. The problems are the already-mentioned osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and kidney damage. There is good evidence that certain malignancies, chiefly colon and rectal, are related to excessive meat intake. Barry Brenner, an eminent renal physiologist, was the first to fully point out the dangers of excess protein for the kidney tubule. The dangers of fat and cholesterol are known to all. Finally, you should know that the protein content of human milk is the lowest (0.9%) in mammals. IS THAT ALL OF THE TROUBLE?

Sorry, there’s more. Remember lactose? This is the principal carbohydrate of milk. It seems that nature provides newborns with the enzymatic equipment to metabolize lactose, but this ability often extinguishes by age 4 or 5 years.

What is the problem with lactose or milk sugar? It seems that it is a disaccharide which is too large to be absorbed into the bloodstream without first being broken down into monosaccharides, namely galactose and glucose. This requires the presence of an enzyme, lactase, plus additional enzymes to break down the galactose into glucose.

Let’s think about his for a moment. Nature gives us the ability to metabolize lactose for a few years and then shuts off the mechanism. Is Mother Nature trying to tell us something? Clearly all infants must drink milk. The fact that so many adults cannot seems to be related to the tendency for nature to abandon mechanisms that are not needed. At least half of the adult humans on this earth are lactose intolerant. It was not until the relatively recent introduction of dairy herding and the ability to “borrow” milk from another group of mammals that the survival advantage of preserving lactase (the enzyme that allows us to digest lactose) became evident. But why would it be advantageous to drink cows’ milk? And why was it just the white or light-skinned humans who retained this knack while the pigmented people tended to lose it?

Some students of evolution feel that white skin is a fairly recent innovation, perhaps not more than 20,000 or 30,000 years old. It clearly has to do with the northward migration of early man to cold and relatively sunless areas when skins and clothing became available. Fair skin allows the production of vitamin D from sunlight more readily than does dark skin. However, when only the face was exposed to sunlight that area of fair skin was insufficient to provide vitamin D from sunlight. If dietary and sunlight sources were poorly available, the ability to use the abundant calcium in cows’ milk would give a survival advantage to humans who could digest that milk. This seems to be the only logical explanation for fairskinned humans having a high degree of lactose tolerance compared with dark-skinned people.

How does this break down? Certain racial groups, namely blacks, are up to 90% lactose intolerant as adults. Caucasians are 20% to 40% lactose intolerant. Orientals are midway between those two groups. Most American Indians cannot tolerate milk. Diarrhea, gas and abdominal cramps are the results of substantial milk intake in such persons. The milk industry admits that lactose intolerance plays intestinal havoc with as many as 50 million Americans. A lactose-intolerance industry has sprung up and had sales of $117 million in 1992 (Time, May 17, 1993).

The association of cows’ milk with anemia and occult intestinal bleeding in infants is known to all physicians. This is chiefly from its lack of iron and its irritating qualities for the intestinal mucosa. The pediatric literature abounds with articles describing irritated intestinal lining, bleeding and increased permeability, as well as colic, diarrhea and vomiting in cows’-milk-sensitive babies. The anemia gets a double push by loss of blood and iron as well as deficiency of iron in the cows’ milk. Milk is also the leading cause of childhood allergy. SUMMARY

To my thinking, there is only one valid reason to drink milk or use milk products. That is just because we simply want to. Because we like it and because it has become a part of our culture. Because we have become accustomed to its taste and texture. Because we like the way it slides down our throat. Because our parents did the very best they could for us and provided milk in our earliest training and conditioning. They taught us to like it. And then probably the very best reason is ICE CREAM! I’ve heard it described as “to die for.”

I had one patient who did exactly that. He had no obvious vices. He didn’t smoke or drink, he didn’t eat meat, his diet and lifestyle were nearly perfectly health-promoting; but he had a passion.

He loved rich ice cream. A pint of the richest would be a lean day’s ration for him. On many occasions he would eat an entire quart–and yes, there were some cookies and other pastries. Good ice cream deserves this, after all. He seemed to be in good health despite some expected “middle-age spread” when he had a devastating stroke that left him paralyzed, miserable and helpless, and he had additional strokes and died several years later, never having left a hospital or rehabilitation unit. He was in his 50s.

So don’t drink milk for health. I am convinced on the weight of the scientific evidence that it does not “do a body good.” Inclusion of milk will only reduce your diet’s nutritional value and safety. Most of the people on this planet live very healthfully without cows’ milk. You can too.

It will be difficult to change; we’ve been conditioned since childhood to think of milk as “nature’s most perfect food.” I’ll guarantee you that doing without it will be safe, will improve your health and won’t cost anything.

What can you lose?

Robert Kradjian, MD, has served as chief of breast surgery at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif.