Dear Health Magazine (and its Advisory Board),
On the eve of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), I was disturbed and saddened to see the latest Health October 2012 issue in which Health published a milk-promoting article ("Milk Just Got Better" pg. 67) just a few pages before a breast cancer special report ("Live Health" pg. 73).
I would like to ask Health magazine, one of the highest-circulating health magazines in the U.S. read by millions of women and which considers itself an "authority" on health, to please stop promoting cow's milk as "healthy," and to suggest to its readers a whole food plant based diet as one of the top ways to significantly reduce cancer risk.
Casein, the main protein in cow's milk, is the most significant cancer promoter ever discovered--it promotes all stages of cancer cell growth. Casein isn't limited to milk, it's in every dairy product--including fat-free and organic varieties from grass-fed cows, yogurt, Greek yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, and all cheeses.
Cow's milk is not designed for humans--it's designed for half-ton baby cows with multiple digestive tracts. When humans drink another animal's milk, it simply wreaks havoc on the body. In my opinion, it's not just unwise to promote dairy these days, it's almost borderline reckless, in light of the mounting research.
Meat and dairy organizations like to cite studies that find no link between diet and cancer, like the famously flawed Nurses' Health Study--where baseline meat and dairy consumption was high across the board--actually higher than the average American's meat and dairy consumption. All of the participants consumed large amounts of meat and dairy, giving little variation in cancer incidence. No one was consuming a zero or very low animal protein diet. Yet, Health magazine--an arbiter of health information--uses these types of studies to reassure women that dairy is safe.
Many women are becoming aware of the fact that dairy is an unhealthy source of calcium too, so that's never a good reason to drink milk. Animal proteins in milk create an acidic environment in our blood and tissues that our bodies try to compensate for by pulling calcium from our bones. It's well-known that populations with the highest milk consumption have the highest rates of hip fractures--a major indicator of osteoporosis. Scientists agree that calcium and protein is safest and best absorbed by the body in its plant-based form (broccoli, spinach, kale, grains, beans, etc).
Studies have shown that animal protein (dairy, eggs, and meats--even chicken) causes inflammation, acidity, and carcinogen activation in the human body--the perfect environment for cancer to thrive. Yet, in your October cancer coverage, there is no mention of dairy (or animal proteins) having any influence on cancer cells whatsoever. And sadly, 13 out of 15 of your "healthy" food recipes rely on meat, eggs, and dairy.
If there was ever a time to reconsider the issue of cow's milk in your health reporting, please let it be now. This year, half a million Americans will die of cancer--40,000 women will die from breast cancer. A quarter of a million women will be newly diagnosed. According to the American Cancer Society, women in the U.S. have about a 1 in 3 lifetime risk of developing cancer; for men it's 1 in 2. We have one of the highest cancer rates in the world, and we're also one of the most meat-and-dairy lovin' populations. The U.S. is one of the top dairy producers in the world.
Please honor our friends, family members, and loved ones who will be diagnosed with cancer in the next year, and start featuring a whole food plant-based diet in your cancer prevention coverage. Diet is the most effective, readily available way we have to potentially turn cancer cells "on and off."
As a leader in media, Health magazine has such great potential to make meaningful and immediate change in the cancer epidemic, especially for women. I'd love to see this happen, and I'd be your biggest supporter if you do.
Thank you so much,
stay-at-home mom in California
The China Study, a book on food & disease with 700+ research references by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, National Institute of Health scholar, professor emeritus of Cornell University with 70+ years of grant-funded research in nutritional biochemistry.
Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life, a book by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber
The Veganist, nutrition book by Kathy Freston
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, book by Julieanna Hever
Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World, book by John Robbins
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, book by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.
Forkes Over Knives, a stunning and fascinating documentary film on diet & disease
Health Magazine's Top Staffers:
CEO Time Inc. Publications: Laura Lang
Editorial Director, Time Inc. Publications: Martha Nelson
Editor-in-Chief, Time Inc. Publications: John Huey
Publisher: Kevin White
Editor-in-Chief: Ellen Kunes
Managing Editor: Marc Einsele
Executive Editor: Lisa Lombardi
Executive Deputy Editor: Jeannie Kim
Deputy Editor: Camille Chatterjee
Deputy Editor: Kimberly Goad
VP, Health.com: Renee Tulenko
Health Magazine's Advisory Board:
William E. Berger, MD
Sharon Richter, MS, RD, CDN
Steven N. Blair, PED
Lisa M. Donofrio, MD
James A. Duke, PhD
Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, MD
Linda Giudice, MD, Phd
David Heber, MD, PhD
David L. Katz, MD, MPH. FACPM, FACP
Richard B. Lipton, MD
Susan Love, MD
JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH
Bess H. Marcus, PhD