Milk has long been promoted as a healthy, growth-promoting food. Certainly, in terms of physical size and stature, the ingestion of modernly processed milk and milk products is a strong stimulus to growth. But is bigger always better? Perhaps, but only if a long life is not one of your priorities.
In an interesting survey study on the effect of human size on longevity, researchers Samaras and Heigh found a consistent relationship. They discovered that longevity was associated with smaller stature or size, when not due to malnutrition, childhood disease, or prenatal disease.7 Their study reviewed many other longevity studies, involving many thousands of subjects. While such an effect is unlikely attributable to only one factor, the larger people typically are being exposed to larger amounts of bovine growth hormone, both from natural sources and from the many injections of synthetic hormones currently administered to milk-producing cows.
In fact, the one thing that the vast majority of large and tall people appear to have in common is the frequent drinking of milk as a beverage while growing up. The correlation is striking. Conduct your own informal survey. See how many people you can find that are 6 feet 2 inches or taller, with parents 5 feet 10 inches or smaller (to minimize direct genetic contribution to size), who were not regular milk drinkers. You'll be hard pressed to find more than 10 percent of such people who have not consistently consumed substantial amounts of milk most of their lives.
Of course, most people consider this growth effect to be tremendously desirable. Hardly anyone wants to be short and small rather than tall and imposing, and nothing makes small parents prouder than seeing their children grow large and strong. However, the growth-stimulating effect of milk is an abnormal, unhealthy stimulation of growth in humans, not a normal one. The toxicity of the huge amounts of calcium ingested by the regular ingestion of milk as a beverage was just addressed in the previous section on pasteurization. Chapter 8, which addresses the concept of proper supplementation, also helps to explain why excess calcium, whether from milk or supplements, will often be attended by a shorter life span. You are certainly not "doomed" if you are already a tall, large person with many years of milk drinking under your belt. However, it would be wise to remove milk from your diet now so that your body can begin to mobilize the widespread deposition of calcium typically seen after years of milk drinking.
Recently a professional football player who had received recognition as the outstanding college offensive lineman in the nation in the early 1990s made a very interesting observation. He played at a weight of about 290 pounds, and he was physically larger than most of his peers throughout the country at that time. He noted that he felt like the small guy by today's standards. Today, less than a decade later, many offensive linemen weigh over 300 pounds, and a substantial number weigh 330 pounds or even more. Although some of these large players are grossly obese, many of them are not. Instead, they are just well-proportioned giants. It's hard not to conclude that the unrelenting hormonal attack on our commercial milk production isn't turning our nation into one large laboratory experiment. Androgenic steroids are also making a contribution to this emerging class of giants, but these drugs have been available now for decades and have not been steadily escalating their presence among athletes to the same degree as the bovine growth hormone in our modern milk and milk products.
Dr. Melvin Page, in Your Body Is Your Best Doctor, astutely noted that growth doubling rates varied widely among different species of animals.8 These rates bear a direct relationship to both the amounts of growth hormone generated by these species as well as the degree of growth response to the growth hormone present. Dr. Page pointed out that a rabbit doubles its birth weight in 6 days, a dog in 9 days, a sheep in 14 days, a cow in 47 days, and a human infant in 187 days. By ingesting large amounts of cow's milk, our babies, children, and young adults are exposing themselves chronically to large amounts of a substance that allows the growing calf to double its size in less than one-third the time that a human infant should be doubling its weight. Ironically, many health care practitioners be lieve that people are larger now than they were decades ago because the overall quality of nutrition has improved. This entire book provides the evidence to show how completely ridiculous that concept is.
You might be asking why extra growth hormone is being given to cows these days. The simple answer is increased profitability. Cows that are not injected with bovine growth hormone produce much less milk. In the 1600s, before the dairy industry meddled in milk production, a privately owned dairy cow would produce no more than one quart of milk per day. By the mid-1800s, the same cow would still produce less than two quarts per day. However, by 1960 the yield had increased to more than nine quarts per day. And today some genetically and hormonally manipulated dairy cows produce up to fifty quarts of milk per day!
Furthermore, the growth hormone contained in the milk is not substantially affected by boiling, pasteurization, or cooking. Even though the nutritive value of milk is strongly affected by such measures, the growth hormone remains largely untouched and fully capable of exerting its growth-stimulating effects. Not surprisingly, then, the growth hormone is found in derivative milk products, such as cheese. Heavy cream and butter, however, are largely spared the presence of growth hormone, since they are animal fats that naturally separate out from the milk. The chemical properties of growth hormone favor its concentration in the milk and not in the fat.
In fact, it has only been fairly recent that this enormous stimulation of our milk cows with bovine growth hormone has been effected, largely due to the official blessing of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on November 5, 1993. Regardless of what the FDA's true motives may have been, the paper written by two of its employees, Judy Juskevich, Ph.D., and Greg Guyer, Ph.D., and published in Science,9 along with the testimony of multiple other FDA employees before Congress, resulted in the Monsanto Agricultural Company being granted approval for the full-scale production of rBST for use throughout the land. rBST is recombinant bovine somatotropin. BST is also known as BGH, or bovine growth hormone. Let's look at the first sentence of the abstract to the article of Juskevich and Guyer.
Scientists in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after reviewing the scientific literature and evaluating studies conducted by pharmaceutical companies, have concluded that the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rBST) in dairy cattle presents no increased health risk to consumers.
This comforting statement is later followed in the same abstract by the following assertion:
Recombinant bGH treatment produces an increase in the concentration of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in cow's milk.
Robert Cohen, in his book Milk: The Deadly Poison,10 effectively refutes eight of the major contentions in the review paper of Juskevich and Guyer, finding the opposite conclusion for all eight contentions to be appropriate. Cohen demonstrates convincingly that:
1. Bovine growth hormone IS biologically active in humans.
2. Bovine growth hormone is NOT routinely broken down in the stomach.
3. Bovine growth hormone DOES have definite activity when administered orally to rats.
4. Bovine growth hormone IS significantly increased in the milk of cows treated with rbGH (26 percent increase).
5. Bovine growth hormone is NOT significantly destroyed by pasteurization.
6. Bovine growth hormone DOES impact directly the nutritional quality of milk.
7. Bovine growth hormone DOES produce multiple other growth factors that survive the stomach acid and exert largely unresearched effects on the milk drinker.
8. Bovine growth hormone produces a growth factor (IGF-1) that IS orally active in laboratory rats.
Why go into all of this detail on the saga of how large amounts of growth hormone have ended up in virtually all of our commercially available milk and derivative milk products? The message of this book is not one that attempts to delve into the reasons why the government, the food industry, and the many involved researchers make the policy decisions, make the recommendations, and reach the experimental conclusions that they do. However, it can also be difficult to believe that the health of the population is not the overwhelming consideration in basic food research. The above information is presented to allow the motivated reader to research this issue even further; in the meantime, the information presented here can speak for itself.
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