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Should You Avoid Dairy?

New research about the value, and problem, with dairy!

If you’ve been trying to figure out if dairy is a good thing to eat, I bet you have read: Cow’s milk is bad for you, but cheese might be okay, and yogurt, well, the jury is still out on that one. However, here is the latest news related to dairy foods and cancer, So you can know if it is necessary to avoid dairy-based foods on your cancer concern.

Dairy and Cancer Connection

According to a new study that investigated dairy consumption and cancer risk in ½ a million Chinese adults, the more dairy products consumed, the higher risk for female breast cancer and liver cancer.

BMC Med, Apr 2022

Now, it is true that evidence to date on whether dairy consumption impacts cancer risk has not been consistent. Here in the US, we eat much more dairy than in Asia. Many are quick to point out that most Asians are lactose intolerant, and that factor may discredit the link between these cancers and dairy. I’m going to differ however because other studies looking at lactose intolerant individuals found they have a decreased risk for breast, lung, and ovarian cancers. Based on this, I believe it doesn’t matter if you are lactose intolerant or not…..dairy can be protective AND it can promote cancer.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2017  British J Can, Jan 2015

Dairy’s Magical Component

Just so show you how complex this topic can get, research shows that milk fat contains potential anticancer components including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of omega 6 fatty acid that may decrease the grown of human melanoma cancer cells.

J Nutr 1997 and J Am Coll Nutr, Apr 2000

CLA , found in cow’s milk products, at lower levels is able to disrupt the growth of melanoma cells (J Am Coll Nutr, Apr 2000) and population studies show CLA has a protective role on melanoma risk. (Nutrients, Sep 2019)  Now, CLAs are the only natural fatty acids accepted by the National Academy of Sciences of USA as exhibiting consistent antitumor properties at levels as low as 0.25 – 1.0 per cent of total fats. In addition to dairy, Food sources of CLA include beef, sunflower and safflower oil. Grass-fed beef usually contains more CLA than grain-fed beef. (J Nutr, Feb 2002) 

CLA Dietary Supplement Warning

You may be tempted to consume CLA supplements, but don’t. Large doses of supplemental CLA can cause increased accumulation of fat in your liver, which can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes. (J Lipid Res, Sep 2002) 

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