Friday, April 9, 2010

Full-fat Dairy for Cardiovascular Health??

[2013 update: a few colleagues and I have published a comprehensive review paper on the association between full-fat dairy consumption and obesity, metabolic health, and cardiovascular disease.  You can find it here.]

I just saw a paper in the AJCN titled "Dairy consumption and patterns of mortality of
Australian adults
". It's a prospective study with a 15-year follow-up period. Here's a quote from the abstract:
There was no consistent and significant association between total dairy intake and total or cause-specific mortality. However, compared with those with the lowest intake of full-fat dairy, participants with the highest intake (median intake 339 g/day) had reduced death due to CVD (HR: 0.31; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.12–0.79; P for trend = 0.04) after adjustment for calcium intake and other confounders. Intakes of low-fat dairy, specific dairy foods, calcium and vitamin D showed no consistent associations.
People who ate the most full-fat dairy had a 69% lower risk of cardiovascular death than those who ate the least. Otherwise stated, people who mostly avoided dairy or consumed low-fat dairy had more than three times the risk of dying of coronary heart disease or stroke than people who ate the most full-fat diary.  This result is an outlier, and also observational so difficult to interpret, but it certainly is difficult to reconcile with the idea that dairy fat is a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease.

Contrary to popular belief, full-fat dairy, including milk, butter and cheese, has never been convincingly linked to cardiovascular disease. What has been linked to cardiovascular disease is milk fat's replacement, margarine. In the Rotterdam study, high vitamin K2 intake was linked to a lower risk of fatal heart attack, aortic calcification and all-cause mortality. Most of the K2 came from full-fat cheese.

From a 2005 literature review on milk and cardiovascular disease in the EJCN:
In total, 10 studies were identified. Their results show a high degree of consistency in the reported risk for heart disease and stroke, all but one study suggesting a relative risk of less than one in subjects with the highest intakes of milk.

...the studies, taken together, suggest that milk drinking may be associated with a small but worthwhile reduction in heart disease and stroke risk.

...All the cohort studies in the present review had, however, been set up at times when reduced-fat milks were unavailable, or scarce.


Alan said...


I am going to tell those people that I will consume my full fat dairy to get my fat soluble vitamins and reduce my risk of heart disease.

I greatly enjoy reading your blog.

Kindke said...

My local farmers market supplies grass fed buffalo dairy and its quite interesting in contrast to normal cow dairy.

Buffalo milk has almost twice as much fat as normal cows milk. The taste of buffalo milk is very strong, cow's milk tastes 'sweet' in comparison.

Whats also interesting is buffalo milk is pure white, apparently because buffalo have a much higher conversion rate of beta carotine to retinol compared to normal cows.

I remember the first time I tried some young buffalo cheese (ate quite a few ounces of it ), the next few days I had an unexplainable increase in energy and stamina and strength.

I think some humans are far more adapted to dairy than the so called primalist experts think ( Cordain, Mark Sisson etc ).

Dairy is probably my fav food, thanks for posting this stephen :)

John said...

Unfortunately, it's a lot of work to find good dairy, at least for me.


I think many paleo dieters do things just for the sake of being more "paleo," even though there is disagreement about what they actually ate anyway. Obviously, it's a step in the right direction, but it's close-minded and ignorant to think any specific paleo group had perfect nutrition and/or lifestyle. There's always room for improvement, even if that means eating more recent foods...

Christopher Robbins said...

I'm sure you've heard of the Milk Cure?

prophets said...


i think this blog and work is a wonderful service to all. but it's important to look at all causes of mortality, and not just cardiovascular.

should we be so surprised that a highly igf-1 stimulating product like milk reduces cardiovascular risk? not really. does it protect against prostate cancer? no, in fact it probably incites it.

i understand there has been a misnomer about heart disease and milk, mostly driven by this cross cultural view of Japan having the lowest milk consumption in the world and the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease.

but pounding the table in favor of large dairy intake is "living for today" and "burning out quickly tomorrow". protective against cardio, yes. causative of cancer, very likely.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Prophets. I love my dairy fats - butter, cheese, and fermented dairy such as yoghurt, and I enjoy in small doses (motivated by taste and by the fact that the fat components at least are neutral & perhaps even beneficial to my health). Do I feel better not consuming the pastuerised white water that is mostly available? Absolutely. I'm sure the primal/paleo bloggers/researchers are fully aware that, from a CVD standpoint, there is little wrong with dairy fat. But many just do not do well on milk... and ultimately it is a relatively recent addition to the human diet, to which there is probably only a small amount of adaptation to.

I liken this to the arguments put forward for the replacement of dietary SFA with PUFA based on benefits to CV health. Stephan has done a great job in calling into question some of the data on PUFA being protective against CVD, but even if it is, it is still detrimental to many other systems within the body.

Great post & analysis (as always), but I wouldn't be using this to dismiss the concerns that the likes of Cordain, etc, hold for dairy.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...


Is there any evidence that dairy increases cancer risk? Also, there's a big difference between ultrapasteurized milk (with carrageenan+) and raw milk or buttermilk from pasture-fed animals.

Johan said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but there are no MCT in dairy, there might be MCFA but that's sort of different.

Colldén said...

This is also consistent with studies on dairy and prostate cancer risk. As far as I know, low fat dairy is associated with increased risk, while full fat dairy is not.

Could this have anything to do with full fat dairy resulting in greater absorption of fat soluble vitamins, and thus more effective calcium metabolism?

Ed said...

Note that Stephan likes butter, which has substantially less of the problematic protiens than milk. And my guess is that the protiens in aged ("artisinal") cheeses are modified, but I would love to see some data one way or the other.

I love Kerry Gold butter. I have been spiking my local pastured milk with pastured cream to increase the fat proportion. Mmmmm delicious.

Emily said...

this confirms other studies i have read regarding full fat milk being so much better in general then low-fat dairy. one swedish study i read found children were more likely to become obese if they drank low-fat milk.

the following isnt the original article but a discussion re: milk and cancer and basically, low-fat milk wAS associated with prostate cancer, not whole milk.

Ellen said...

I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned, but Stephan, aren't the lower fat versions of these foods like milk (say in skim milk)-- containing powdered eggs which is oxidized cholesterol. It's the oxidized cholesterol that supposedly causes heart disease.

So, maybe it's not so much full fat dairy (not causing heart disease) but rather the absence of oxidized cholesterol that is sustaining heart health.

Mike said...


Does the study mention if the dairy source (milk) was pasteurized or not? What are your thoughts on the 7-keto cholesterol content of pasteurized dairy?
I've recently found a fairly decent source for milk, but unpasteurized, raw milk is illegal in Canada.

Daniel said...

At high levels of dairy fat consumption (say, over 1000 calories per day from dairy), are you concerned about the retinol or natural trans fats found at higher levels in grass-fed dairy?

Mavis said...

My response is to recycle a comment I made on Mark's Daily Apple regarding full-fat vs. fat-free yogurt.

>>I wanted to share this with some folks who would appreciate it, and this seems like the place. While waiting in line at the grocery store last month, I flipped to an article on Prevention’s “healthiest food choices.” Their “healthiest choice” for milk was fat-free organic milk.

The reason? Organic milk has been shown to contain more heart-healthy fatty acids, like omega-3’s and CLA.

Do they think that they’re going to find those in fat-free milk?

Proof that a low-fat diet causes brain damage.<<

I saw the same self-contradictory advice about full-fat vs. fat-free (organic) dairy in a recent issue of Psychology Today.

There's a lot of cognitive dissonance going on these days.

Sarah Nickolet said...

If I could digest it, I would eat full fat dairy. My hubby and oldest daughter eat full fat, pastured dairy when they do eat it.

Unfortunately, I can't digest it now matter how fresh it is. It still causes HUGE gastric upset for me. Despite the fact that I don't test positive for a milk protein allergy AND Lactaid pills don't help.

Anonymous said...

"I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned, but Stephan, aren't the lower fat versions of these foods like milk (say in skim milk)-- containing powdered eggs which is oxidized cholesterol."

I think you meant powdered milk. The result would pretty much be the same though.

Hi, btw, long time no see...or write...or whatever.

Chris Kresser said...

Great find, Stephan. Feels like the tide is really changing. Seems like every day a study is published that confirms the wisdom of traditional, nutrient-dense diets and contradicts the lunacy of modern low-fat nonsense.

Ellen said...

Yeah, MadMUHHH powdered milk-- but powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol, which I imagine ultimately comes from eggs.

Ellen said...

@MadMUHHH-- yeah, long time no see.. will be in touch soon. :)

Unknown said...

Prophets, you got any proof of that? I mean, any whatsoever? Also, please distinguish between pasteurized and raw milk in your answer. Thanks.

Stephan, I'll tell them they're an ignorant noob who's gonna die in their 50s if they don't get schooled. What? Too harsh?

zach said...

I sure hope so! Pastured,full fat, unprocessed dairy accounts for about 2/3 of my calories. Mostly milk, yougurt, and butter. The rest is meat and vegetables. Eating this way, I believe, has given me an adamantine immune system

Riles said...

Isn't also possible that those who are consuming full-fat dairy products are also making other wholesome choices as far as food goes? Making it not necessarily the dairy fat causing the health improvements.

Mavis said...


I don't know about that. There are plenty of people lacking any health consciousness who also eat butter and ice cream.

Anonymous said...


Vitamin K2 consumption is associated with lower cancer risk. CLA consumption is associated with lower cancer risk. Omega-3 consumption is associated with lower cancer risk. This is all found in butter and whole milk.

Skim milk consumption correlates positively with prostate cancer. Whole milk consumption correlates negatively with prostate cancer. See

Kindke said...

One thing I will say about the whole Pasteurised vs un-Pasteurised argument is that I get a much bigger insulin response to Pasteurised dairy. ( As noted by the puffiness and bloatidness felt in the area around the sides of my belly above my hips after consumption. )

From what ive seen homogenization is far far worse than Pasteurised milk.

John said...


I think you're right. But, I don't know of any homogenized, unpasteurized milk, while I do see unhomogenized pasteurized. On the Weston A Price site, an author (forget who) writes about making yogurt from raw milk, pasteurized milk, and pasteurized homogenized milk. The result was a small decrease in quality with p. milk and very bad quality (threw down the sink) with the p. h. milk.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Kindke,

Grass fed buffalo milk, wow. I've always wanted to try the barley-yak butter-tea mix they eat in Nepal.

Hi Prophets and Jamie,

I acknowledge that many people do better without dairy. I don't think dairy is required to be healthy or avoid cardiovascular disease. What I'm addressing is the common advice to eat low-fat dairy rather than full-fat dairy.

Hi Johan,

You may be right, I'm not sure. But is there any difference once lipase cleaves all the fatty acids off the trigs in the gut?

Hi Ellen,

Many skim milks do contain powdered milk as a thickener. Oxidized cholesterol is definitely a problem in animal studies where they're fed large amounts, but I don't know if the amounts found in human food are relevant.

Hi Mike,

I assume most of it was pasteurized, as it was a recent study.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Daniel,

No, I'm not concerned.

Hi Riles,

Yes, that's entirely possible, as it is in all observational studies. However, I think it's unlikely in this case for two reasons. 1) most people think full-fat dairy is unhealthy, so if anything, the healthy user bias should be in favor of low-fat dairy. 2) the findings of a number of different studies have been consistent.

prophets said...


Thx for reply. I enjoy your blog and it has helped my diet tweaking with cron-o-meter. However, I personally remain skeptical on the value of milk. I get the feeling from a lot of the "paleo" blogs/sites that any food from an animal is "healthy", while anything containing a grain or legume is the devil's spawn. Obviously, you are not that one-sided.

Maybe you have a thought on this study.

Effect of consumption of whole milk and skim milk on blood lipid profiles in healthy men

Though small, it's a nice crossover study of skim & whole milk. I noticed the Apolipoprotein B/A1 deteriorated most under whole milk consumption (a possible marker of future CVD).

best regards


Unknown said...


Awesome post. I am a huge fan of dairy, so much that I sometimes think that I should refer to my diet as "a nomadic pastoralist diet" instead of Paleo.

I basically agree with everything Dr. Kurt Harris says about dairy. I'm sure you're familiar with his stance.

I drink organic, grass-fed whole milk that I buy in glass bottles from a local dairy. It is nothing like conventional supermarket milk; it is rich, sweet, and tastes so amazingly clean and fresh. The first time I ever tasted it, I suddenly understood why milk has had the reputation for making people strong and healthy. It just tastes... powerfully healthy. There's no other way to describe it.

I encourage everyone to look for a source of real milk in your area.

Anonymous said...

Myristic acid is a fat that comprises 12% of butterfat that contributes significantly to heart health in a number of ways.

Myristic acid, and to lesser extent palmitic acid (26% of butterfat) increase the synthesis of nitric oxide by stimulating endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels in response to increased insulin thereby improving metabolism of glucose. Nitric oxide has many other beneficial functions in health of the endothelium. (See pubmed 15970594)

More important is the fact that myristic acid has been found to greatly improve LDL particle size distribution by decreasing preponderance of small dense LDL particles (pattern B) and increasing the preponderance of large buoyant particles (pattern A) thereby decreasing the atherogenicity of LDL and indicating a lower level of oxidized LDL. (See pubmed 9583838, free full text)

Other animal fats have lower levels of myristic acid. Beef tallow has about 5% while poultry and pork have only 1%. While nutmeg and coconut oil have high levels of myristic acid, butterfat is by far the major source of myristic acid in the western diet.

Coronary angiography is considered to be the gold standard for determining coronary artery disease. LDL particle size has been found to be by far the best predictor of andiographically defined coronary artery disease in a recent study.

The second strongest indicator of coronary artery disease was the Log(TG/HDL-C). IN THOSE WITH POSTITIVE ANGIOGRAPHIC FINDINGS, TC AND LDL-C WERE ONLY MILDLY INCREASED. This is more proof that cholesterol levels are not significant indicators of CHD. The ratio of TG/HDL-C is a good indicator of CHD risk as is is a good proxy for particle size distribution.

The foregoing studies, taken together, show that butterfat significantly decreases heart disease risk due in part to the high myristic and palmitic acid content.

Jim Sutton said...

Jack C,

Useful info, thanks.
Positive reinforcement for coconut oil and butter intake.

Ned Kock said...

The extra saturated fat will have the effect of a super-statin, without the side effects.

It will lower trigs., increase HDL, and lower the percentage of small-dense LDL particles. Those LDL particles are the potentially atherogenic ones in the presence of other factors (e.g., chronic inflammation).

Apparently it will even reduce Lp(a) cholesterol (see post below), whose blood concentration is generally believed to be genetically set in stone.

What they did is what most researchers should do in studies involving grouping variables - compare the extremes.

Anonymous said...

Ed mentioned that the problematic proteins in milk were largely absent from butter, and guessed that the problematic proteins in aged cheese were modified.

The biggest problem with casein in milk seems to be the beta caso-morphin BCM7, the protein fragment (an opiate) present in the milk of A1 cows, a genetic variant that occurred several thousand years ago. Most milk produced in the U.S. is A1 milk which has the problem BCM7 except for that from Guernsey cows which are A2 cows. All other animals such as goats and camels produce A2 milk which does not have the problem opiate. This information comes from the book "Devil in the Milk" by Keith Woodford.

Studies discussed in the book suggest that the problem casein fragment is broken down when cheese is fermented, but no proof is given.

A pubmed search turned up a study, Pubmed ID 8675779, which found that a commercial strain of lactococcus used in culturing cheddar cheese breaks down BCM7under conditions common for commercial cheese making. It is reasonable to conclude that BCM7 is broken down in the fermentation process of all aged cheese.

Many who are "lactose intolerant" can drink goat milk, which is A2 milk, with no problem. Goat milk also has lactose, so intolerance of A1 milk was the problem, not lactose intolerance.

Dr. Corran McLachlan, one of the researchers on the A1 milk problem, theorized that certain methods of pasteurization resulted in increased levels of BCM7 from A1 beta-casein, thereby increasing intolerance of pasteurized milk.

Robert Andrew Brown said...

Thanks Jack C

You are a mine of useful information.

Jana said...

Great Post-We eat full fat dairy and it's great to see more evidence of the health benefits!

Dairy Woman Strong said...


As a dairy farmer, I would like to thank you for your post! It's great to see research which verifies that our products are delicious, wholesome, good tasting and good for you! I hope to continue reading your work!


Philbert said...


Are there brain risks with dairy? Before your blog saved me from the clutches of veganism, I followed the advice of J. Robert Hatherhill's "The BrainGate" (the title is his sexed-up term for the blood-brain barrier). The book has no citations and the author (despite being called in another book a professor and "leading toxicologist") has no web presence beyond places recommending his cancer diet book.

That caveat out of the way, he claims that milk increases brain uptake of cadmium, mercury, and lead; that the high fat content of dairy leads to an increased intake of environmental neurotoxins like PCB and dioxin; that milk causes a leaky gut; and that "lactose enables greater absorption of lead when compared with other dietary sugars." As I said, he has no citations, but has stats like "elevating the dietary fat of animals from 5 to 20 percent doubled the level of lead detected in the blood. Saturated butterfat showed the most dramatic increase in lead uptake, while polyunsaturated sunflower oils had a small effect on lead uptake."

He makes similar claims about meat (contains environmental contaminants, etc.) but also says it causes excess iron, which he says makes fats rancid and causes senility. He holds enough specious views that I don't trust him as a dietary authority (preaches lipid hypothesis, loves soy products) but I'm curious whether a diet high in animal fats has a troublesome neurotoxin load (or presents other hazards to the brain).

Keep up the excellent blog and please respond if you have time!

Robert Andrew Brown said...


I am presuming the references as to cows milk rather than breast milk.

I did a quick google.

The first paper suggests Cadmium intake by cattle is excreted in small amounts into milk but milk provides 50% of cadmium intake of children.

Sources - industrial pollution, sewage sludge, and phosphates.

A paper suggests that cadmium does have the potential to affect brain development.

Should we not be looking at getting rid of the sources of pollution rather than getting rid of the cows.

Eg put batteries containing cadmium in battery banks, look more deeply at the implication of some fertilisers etc.

Comparative Study of Cadmium Transfer in Ewe and Cow Milks During Rennet and Lactic Curds Preparation

Cadmium-109 and Methyl Mercury-203 Metabolism, Tissue Distribution, and Secretion into Milk of Cows

Dietary Intake of Arsenic, Cadmium, Mercury, and Lead by the Population of Catalonia, Spain

Gestational Cadmium Exposure and Brain Development: a Biochemical Study

Mavis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mavis said...


Some anecdotal experience:

My two-year-old daughters lived in a house with lead paint in their first 14 months. (75% of the houses around here have lead paint.) They breastfed exclusively for the first six months, but then started eating full-fat goat's milk yogurt, and, at the age of 10 month's or so, full-fat dairy from cow's.

Their lead test was normal (2mcg/dl). We moved to a lead-free home when they were 16 months, and they continued eating lots of full-fat dairy. They are now 26 months, and just had another normal lead test.

Their verbal skills are through the roof (more like three-year-olds than two) and people often remark on their focus and long attention spans, if I may brag.

Fat does increase absorption of a lot of things, including minerals like lead. That is true. (I didn't know that PUFAs caused less absorption that SFAs.) I would worry more about the toxins in the environment, though, than the fat itself. Kids need fat, especially saturated fat, for brain development. When we lived in the house with lead paint, I vacuumed maniacally and washed their hands constantly. The lead worries were why we moved.

Garlic and cilantro help remove lead from the body, by the way. The garlic effect was documented with chickens in high-lead environments in Egypt ( and rabbits in Turkey (

Philbert said...


Good links. Certainly keeping the cows is preferable, but the clean-up of toxins would be difficult; a major source of lead contamination is from leaded gasoline, which has spread it virtually everywhere.


Looks like your vigilance has paid off! Was the full fat dairy grass-fed? I suspect that grass-fed milk is less contaminated, since cereal grains keep popping up as a dietary source for heavy metals (and pesticides, etc.).

I had heard about the lead-removing capacity of garlic and cilantro. I've looked into other such plants in the past -- usually they have fruit pectin, methionine, or cysteine as the binding agent or whatever -- but the sources suggesting made no mention of their possible antinutrient properties. I suppose to a degree their ability to bind or mobilize lead could be an extension of those properties, only this time it's beneficial to the host.

Since eliminating meat and dairy brought about so many health problems in the first place, I suppose it's instead a question of otherwise limiting intake of contaminants and ameliorating that intake with certain plants, but that too seems a maddening balancing act.

Aaron said...

In the past I normally worried about the insulin response to dairy fats, but then I saw this study:

The only concern is that people on high fat/high saturated fat diets eat a lot more fat than what is used in the study.

The human body is pretty good at maintaining the correct balance of mono/saturated fats -- it really only gets out of whack with polys (somethings Stephan has blogged about in the past). What throws a wrench in the thinking here is the MCFAs in dairy fats (just like coconut oil). They can cause a raise in postprandial triglycerides that just doesn't seem to happen with consumption of a fat like olive oil.

The issue I have with dairy fats/dairy foods are that they are growth promoting foods in relation to monounsaturated fats (when consumed at caloric balance/excess) <----- something that people don't always point out. (when you are in a caloric deficit, it's hard for anything in your diet to be growth promoting, including saturated fats)

Also, when I consume an oil like EVOO, I'm giving myself a really good chance of consuming an oil that really hasn't been adulterated by heat (as butter and cooked animals fats could be)

Most people don't consume raw dairy (because of cost or availability) or eat their animal fat raw. This increases the adulterated fat factor <---- probably significant in disease risk over one's lifetime.

Lastly, I wanted to interject here how important our gut flora is. Large fat intake seems to decrease numbers (and alter the type present). Why consume the butyric acid in butter when we can consume plant material that our flora will turn into butric acid for us?

It's been my experience that no amount of yogurt -- even the high fat raw kind, is more beneficial to my digestive system than tons of fresh veggies and fruit.

As a side note, I feel a lot of the negative reactions people have to fiber is that they have reduced flora from antibiotic use and toxins in the environment. And 2: teh fact that large amounts of meat and fat intake seems to lessen flora counts.

If you don't have the flora to break down the fiber -- I don't believe this is a good situation

The idea of Peter at Hyperlipid that our flora is not here for our benefit doesn't resonate with me. But that is also why he thinks its ok to have a diet that is basically all fat. I'd love to know the balance of flora he has (and others on ultra high fat diets). Time will tell if it is ok/negative/ or benefical.

Anonymous said...


Regarding natural trans fats from dairy, which are mostly trans-vaccenic acid, VA is the only known precursor of CLA which is supposedly good stuff.

Also, a recent study found that VA reduces risk factors of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah Nickolet,

Have you tried goat milk? Virtually all commercially produced milk in the U.S. is A1 milk which, during digestion, releases casomorphins (BCM7), a protein fragment that has opioid (narcotic) properties and can cause allergic reactions and many other problems, particularly in those with poor gut flora. Goat milk is A2 milk and does not have such problems. Cow milk from Guernsey cows is also A2 milk and no problem.

The problems caused by A1 milk can be resolved by breeding cattle to eliminate the responsible gene so that only A2 milk is produced. New Zealand, which dominates the world milk industry, seems to be on the road to breeding out the A1 gene.

Pasteurization reportedly increase the casomorphins in milk, and many who have a problem with pasteurized milk can drink raw milk with no problem regardless of whether it is A1 or A2.

Best get goat milk that is from pasture fed animals and not ultra-pasteurized.

Robert Andrew Brown said...


I agree that we have to be pragmatic, and the lower effect of smoking in Japan where they were better nourished suggests we have a degree of redundancy.

However I think there is a need to informed.

I should have added above to put the pollution of milk into perspective that if we spread cadmium in sewage and fertiliser on the fields it will turn up in crops which is self evidently where the cows get it from.

Unlike the cows the crops do not filter it out, which is borne out by this study:

Exposure of cadmium from infant formulas and weaning foods.

"Mean cadmium levels were found to range from 1.10 to 23.5 micrograms/kg fresh weight concentrated formulas. Levels were related to the composition of the diets. Formulas based on cow's milk had the lowest concentrations. Soy formulas contained approximately six times more cadmium than cow's milk formulas, and diets with a cereal content had 4-21 times higher mean levels."

"Compared to breast-fed children, the exposure of dietary cadmium from weaning diets can be up to 12 times higher in children fed infant formula."

The implications for the food chain and crop cadmium content is thought provoking.

Dietary intake, levels in food and estimated intake of lead, cadmium, and mercury.

"Highest levels occurred in offal (mean 320 micrograms/kg) and shellfish (200 micrograms/kg) but, because of amounts consumed, reduction of concentrations in cereals, roots and tubers would be most effective."

To eat or not to eat is the question,whether tis better to suffer the slings and arrows of unthinking pollution, or get very thin (-:

Robert Andrew Brown said...

And another cheery paper

Does industrial composting when sludge is used to produce methane remove endocrine disrupters. ?

Pregnant ewes exposed to multiple endocrine disrupting pollutants through sewage sludge-fertilized pasture show an anti-estrogenic effect in their trabecular bone.

"It is concluded that ewes grazing pasture fertilized with sewage sludge exhibited an anti-estrogenic effect on their trabecular bone in the form of reduced mineral content and density, despite increased body weight. It is suggested that human exposure to low levels of multiple EDCs may have implications for bone structure and human health."

So we could always use it as animal food stuff

Activated sewage sludge, a potential animal foodstuff I. Proximate and mineral content: Seasonal variation

Mavis said...

Where is everybody finding all this pasture-fed dairy?

I live in rural Massachusetts. I buy local dairy, and I know the local cows eat grass, because I see them doing it, but only one dairy is 100% grass-fed, and you have to buy the milk at the farm, which is in a remote location, and the milk is only available April-Nov. Still, I do it.

All the organic milk is from away, and ultra-pasteurized.

As far as pastured goat's milk products? Around here, if a store sells goat's milk yogurt at all, they sell one brand, and it's neither labeled organic nor pastured. It's also wicked expensive.

Robert Andrew Brown said...

I have only seen the summary but this looks interesting. As usual found whilst looking for something else (-:

Effects of dairy compared with soy on oxidative and inflammatory stress in overweight and obese subjects

The dairy-supplemented diet resulted in significant suppression of oxidative stress (plasma malondialdehyde, 22%; 8-isoprostane-F2{alpha}, 12%; P < 0.0005) and lower inflammatory markers (tumor necrosis factor-{alpha}, 15%, P < 0.002; interleukin-6, 13%, P < 0.01; monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, 10%, P < 0.0006) and increased adiponectin (20%, P < 0.002), whereas the soy exerted no significant effect. These effects were evident by day 7 of treatment and increased in magnitude at the end of the 28-d treatment periods. There were no significant differences in response to treatment between overweight and obese subjects for any variable studied.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Robert,

I just looked up the study. Guess what their source of dairy was?

"The dairy smoothies were milk based, with nonfat dry milk as the protein source, and contained 350 mg calcium per smoothie. The placebo smoothies were soy based and contained 50 mg calcium per smoothie."


Kelly A. said...


I get low temp pasteurized, non homogenized, organic grassfed milk,cream, yogurt and sour cream by Farmer's All Natural Creamery in the midwest. It's at all the Whole Foods and health food stores here. Out west there's Straus dairy widely available. There are also a couple small farms at the bigger farmer's markets selling grassfed milk and cheese.

Grace 77x7 said...

Don't know if you saw this study
Diet found to cut risk of Alzheimer's
but I wanted to ask - is it safe to assume as I generally do that studies like this that claim sat fats are bad guys show these results because the people involved are most likely eating processed or adulterated or grainfed versions of them?

Anonymous said...


Is is near impossible to get decent milk from pasture fed animals in most of the country. The so called "organic" milk that is ultra-pasteurized is worse than "regular" pasteurized milk in my opinion.

In the absence of decent milk I rely on aged cheese and butter which is more easily shipped and stored. The problems associated with lactose and A-1 beta casein are virtually eliminated in aged cheese and butter.

Raw milk cheese that is aged 60 days or more can be legally shipped across state lines.One of my sources of aged raw milk cheese is Next Generation Dairy, a coop of small farms in Wisconsin. They process their cheese at 102 degrees F, the same temperature that the milk comes out of the cow, so enzymes are not destroyed. The cost of their cheese is modest but choices are limited to cheddar and Colby with various herbs such as garlic added. I usually buy ten pounds at a time in half pound packages. Aged cheese is rich in vitamin K2. It has also occurred to me that the studies by Weston Price 80 years ago found that butter from Wisconsin and nearby states was very high in vitamins A and K2 compared to other areas of the country.

I also buy aged cheese and butter from many of the farmers that advertise in the WAPF journal. I also have an excellent source of artisan cheese here in L.A. (lower Alabama), which is Sweet Home Farm in Elberta, Alabama. They make a big variety of delicious cheese from milk of their grass fed Guernsey cows. They don't ship, however, so I have to go get it, a 60 mile round trip.

Butter is no problem as it does not matter so much if it is pasteurized. Kerry Gold Irish butter is available in the grocery store and Organic Valley "Spring, summer" pasture butter is available at the local food store.

Tom Gossard said...

Ah, so Julia Child was right all along. Thank goodness I have never bought margarine, mainly because it doesn't taste good or melt properly for use with and on food.

Healthtec Software said...

A fat less healthy diet is always advised and creamy dairy products and cardiovascular has long shown negative impacts on the body.

Electronic Medical Records

Mavis said...

healthtec -

You make so much sense.

Unknown said...

A crappy study; but no association with obesity.

Prospective association between milk intake and adiposity in preschool-aged children

Fjoraro said...


There are some studies showing that CLA downregulates IGF-1 receptor levels in cancer cells and therefore inhibits the growth of the cells. There is also a suggestion that CLA could decrease IGF-I production in the liver and other tissues and thereby reduce serum levels of IGF.

An explanation of why consumption low-fat milk is positively correlated with cancer, while there is none or a negative correlation with consumption of whole milk, can be due to the IGF-1 stimulating effect, but any adverse effect from this is in whole milk counteracted by its CLA content. It's also a point that milk from grain-fed cows have less CLA and more omega 6 than milk from grass-fed cows.

I'm quite sure that good quality milk does not promote cancer, but is protective. The physicians that used the raw milk diet in treatment of various diseases, reported that cancer patients improved on the exclusive milk diet. There are also stories from Bernard Jensen and others that had cured themselves from cancer by drinking goat milk.

Milk is not the only thing that stimulates IGF-1 production, and this might not be all bad either. In one study, administration of rh IGF-1 was shown to improve the glycemic control and insulin action in some selected patients with severe insulin resistance.

Back in the days of the milk cure diet, Arthur Scott Donkin used raw skim milk in the treatment of diabetes. And we have the statement by Ray Peat that unsaturated fats are essential for cancer, and butter don't promote tumor growth, so I think no kind of milk cause cancer as long as the PUFA intake is low. People that get cancer from drinking low-fat milk, probably eat too much PUFA, since that is likely what they will end up doing when they restrict the consumption of saturated fat.

Consumption of low-fat dairy is also found to be linked to increased risk of infertility while there is a reduced risk for high fat dairy. A study also found that low fat milk had a higher association with acne than whole milk.

One reason it is not good to take away the fat from the milk, is that vitamin A is required for protein utilization. So by eating a lot of protein without eating enough vitamin A, the body depletes its vitamin A reserves. Vitamin A has for instance shown to act as inhibitor of prostate cancer. Hence many low-fat dairy products are made less healthy, because they are often fortified with extra protein to improve the consistency when the fat is removed. This might also stimulate IGF-1 production even more than what ordinary skimmed milk would.

graciegranny said...

Great site. Glad I found it. I have never used low fat dairy as I can't stand the chalky taste and texture. I feel vindicated.

Paco said...

@antispirit,kindke,ed,sarah,zach,bizj,phulbert,helen... Sustainability. does that word cross your minds?

Paul said...

@ Grassfed Buffalo dairy

i know 4 local Buffallo dairy farms (Germany) and all of them are superior to normal Cows Milk, but they are not 100 % grass fed. All Farmers add grains to be more economic. Yes, Buffalos are healthier and eat more Grass, but i'm very skeptic about the grass fed idea. You really need to aks those farmers and most will answer NO!
It's not enough to read on their Homepages, that their Cows live on green Land. Grass Fed is mostly wishful thinking by customers.

woof nanny said...

My favorite milk is raw milk. Thankfully it is available in California, though few people are aware of its flavor and health benefits. Sadly, the ones that do know often hesitate to buy it because it's about three times more expensive. I hope more people become aware of this complete food.

Anonymous said...

Can't remember who, but someone who damn well ought to know better showed surprise in a study that milk but not cheese or butter raised blood glucose.

Huh??? It's a pretty effective hypostop. The carbs are absent in butter and cheese obviously.

Perversely I prefer skim milk, purely for the flavour, but I only use it to whiten my coffee. I've taken to eating real butter and cheese in profusion, all the advantages without the disadvantage.

Holsteins are huge milk producing machines but so fragile they hardly have any resources left to maintain their own bodies. Some of our dairy farmers are returning to earlier varieties which may yield less but the milk quality is far higher and the input costs, particularly vet bills, are significantly lower. Using their output to produce quality cheese makes them comparatively profitable (or less loss-making).

Unknown said...

You point are genuie and was looking for the same

Anonymous said...

I agree with the notion that full-fat is healthier than non or low-fat. I've been doing research on this topic ever since I started drinking full-fat raw milk from my local farmer's market. There are many essential nutrients in raw milk that are destroyed during the process of pasteurization. This includes an enzyme that helps us digest the lactose in the milk, and an enzyme that accelerates the absorption of calcium. I go raw now, entirely. I've read that full-fat is healthier in that it controls your appetite, leaving you satisfied and fuller, longer.

Your body responds the same way with non or low-fat milk as it does with full-fat. When your tongue tastes the milk, it tells the stomach that it's about to get a dense amount of calories in the form of fat. So, it digests both the same. However, when your body tries to digest the low-fat milk, it becomes confused as to why it is not receiving the calories it was promised. It then responds with more hunger, craving the calories it hasn't received.

I believe this whole-heartedly, and my teacher once told me a story that sunk this fact in deeper. While he was visiting in Iceland, he was given fermented whale blubber. He said it tasted horrible, but it gave him energy for three days. He didn't eat anything during this three-day period, while hiking across the countryside. He told me that he had the most energy he's ever felt in his life. Whale blubber is ridiculously full of fat, and I wonder about how the fermentation affected the nutrient content.

Christer said...

What than about pasteurization which is proven do destroy nearly all vitamins, denaturing the proteins, demaging the minerals and so on. Homogenization destroys the milk further, also making the fat globules small which increases their polarity and surface area. The homogenized fat globules now encapsulating the enzyme xanthine oxidase, enabeling it to get threw the digestion in to the blood stream, there freeing the XO for absorption into the body, including the heart and artery tissues, where it may interact with and destroy plasmalogen. XO from dairy is not moleculary the same as the human XO, and it has nothing to do in the blood circulation, only making problems when it arrives there. Something to concider? Raw milk solves all problems, specialy if it comes from naturally fed cows, and even better if naturallt fermented. Dairy fat is very valuable, but we have to take in to consideration what the industry are doing to the raw material, and what problems it causes.

Snowcoyote said...

Found this study:

Conclusion: These prospective data suggest that high intakes of high-fat dairy foods and CLA may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

katy said...

Do fat soluble vitamins only come from animal sources and fish? Vitamin A, K, E are found in veggies. Do these absorb as well or different to fat sources from animals and fish? I'm trying to come up with a compelling argument as to why someone should not be vegan.

Anonymous said...

Any comments on what I have read about the intake of milk and dioxin being found in cows milk? Also opinions on which is healthier organic milk or grass fed milk? I live in California and was delighted to find grass fed organic milk at a local health food store. I researched on the computer and came up with the disturbing news that Dioxin is being found in milk. The dairy cattle were found to keep a high level of dioxin in the mammary glands. I have cardiovascular disease and have always drank a wonderful cold glass of milk daily. I do not use margarine, only butter. I quit drinking milk for awhile and cholesterol count was still high. I do not want to be on medication for high cholesterol and would prefer to control cholesterol problem with a change in diet. I began drinking milk again and my cholesterol count has dropped significantly. Enough that my cardiologist see's no reason to put me on cholesterol controlling drugs. It is a bit high but nothing he is overly concerned with. Any opinions out there in regards to Dioxin in cows milk would be greatly appreciated.