A top question from readers and in my office is about dairy and cancer. Does dairy cause cancer? Can I still eat dairy or drink milk when I’ve been diagnosed with cancer? And what about cheese and cancer or yogurt and cancer?
If you’ve been confused about dairy and cancer, I’m here to reassure you. It’s not as complicated as you might think!
When it comes to cancer research. It’s really clear that there are only a few things that have been shown, again and again, study after study, to cause an increased risk of cancer risk, and in some cases an increased risk of cancer coming back or dying from cancer.
The things that increase these risk factors are (and I promise, this ultimately answers your question about milk and cancer):
- High blood sugar levels
- High Levels of Saturated Fat in the Diet
- Eating Processed Meats
Dairy might also be linked to:
- Food Sensitivities
- Insulin resistance
Dairy and Proteins
One of the things that’s been looked at in research of dairy and cancer is the protein Casein. In both mouse and cell culture staude, the protein casein, has been shown to increase tumor growth.
Casein has also been reviewed in long term population studies. It’s been shown in population studies, that when casein intake is low, cancer incidence is also low. And when casein intake is high, cancer incidence was also high. This is highlighted in depth in the book “The China Study” written by T. Colin Campbell.
The problem with these longitudinal studies is that the casein intake was low in times of famine and in times of more fasting. So the question becomes…was cancer risk lower because of fasting and famine? Which then puts cell replication at a lower rate? Or was the cancer rate lower strictly because of the casein protein being low in the diet, and reduced dairy intake?
In population studies, it’s often challenging to make clear decisions on what the ONE contributing factor would be to cancer risk.
Hormones, Dairy, and Cancer
Another risk factor in terms of cancer growth that happens with drinking dairy, if hormone changes and exposure. In modern farming, dairy is made, utilizing the reverse bovine growth hormone. By injecting cows with growth hormone, you can increase the amount of milk an individual cow can make. This reverse bovine growth hormone (rBGH) has been directly linked to increasing insulin like growth factor (IGF). Insulin-like growth factor has been linked to increase tumor growth.
So does that mean dairy causes cancer? Does that mean dairy is the main culprit of tumor growth? And what does that mean for dairy in your diet?
What I walk away from the cancer research with is a couple of main points.
1.Avoid Reverse Bovine Growth Hormone.