Harvard Scientists Urge You to Stop Drinking Milk

Image Credit: Flickr /  TheDeliciousLife

Image Credit: Flickr / TheDeliciousLife

By: Mike Barrett,
Natural Society.

Vegans may have had it right all along; while raw, organic milk offers numerous health benefits, a Harvard researcher and pediatrician argues that conventional milk and dairy products alike are a detriment to your health – thanks to added health-compromising sweeteners.

As David Ludwig mentioned in his research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, there have been countless pieces of research concluding the ill effects of sugar-sweetened beverages. The over-consumption of sugar has been tied to obesity, diabetes, inflammatory-related pain, and much more. And because of sugar’s negative effects on our health, even the United States Department of Agriculture, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other organizations are recommending against consuming calories from sugary drinks.

The one calorie-containing beverage they still heavily promote, however, is reduced-fat milk, where the organization recommends drinking 3 cups daily. This is where Ludwig questions the scientific rationale for such recommendations.

“This recommendation to drink three cups a day of milk – it’s perhaps the most prevailing advice given to the American public about diet in the last half century. As a result, Americans are consuming billions of gallons of milk a year, presumably under the assumption that their bones would crumble without them,” says David Ludwig.

As far as Ludwig is concerned, if the USDA is recommending to drink reduced-fat milk, it is also inadvertently encouraging the consumption of added sugars – a piece of advice that goes against all the research saying not to consume sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages. The idea of consuming low-fat milk or chocolate milk cancels out the whole reasoning for the recommendation in the first place since the fats are simply being replaced with dangerous sugars.

“The worst possible situation is reduced-fat chocolate milk: you take out the fat, it’s less tasty. So to get kids to drink 3 cups a day, you get this sugar-sweetened beverage,” Ludwig says. ”…we can get plenty of calcium from a whole range of foods. On a gram for gram basis, cooked kale has more calcium than milk. Sardines, nuts seeds beans, green leafy vegetables are all sources of calcium.”

The Case Against Low-Fat Dairy, and Other Dangers of Milk

Harvard researcher David Ludwig certainly has a point in analyzing and ultimately criticizing the USDA’s recommendations, but there is much more to the full-fat vs reduced-fat argument for milk and dairy products.

There are plenty of reasons to avoid certain fats such as trans-fats and refined polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils (like corn, soy, sunflower, and canola), but the evidence for moderate consumption of saturated fat, which is found in milk, coconut oil, and grass-fed land animals, is coming to the surface. While saturated fat was villainized for decades, a 2010 analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of [coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease].”

Further, there are numerous benefits to drinking full-fat dairy products. In it’s most pure state (raw, organic, and coming from grass-fed cows), full-fat dairy has been found in research to potentially promote heart health, control diabetes, aid in vitamin absorption, lower bowel cancer risk, and even aid in weight loss. But while pure dairy could promote your health, conventional dairy may prove damaging.

Before you consume more conventional dairy, please educate yourself as to what’s in your dairy. You’d be surprised that there could be 20+ painkillers, antibiotics, and much more lurking in your milk.

Additional Sources:


Today Health


This article first appeared on Natural Society.

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201 Responses to "Harvard Scientists Urge You to Stop Drinking Milk"

  1. Jason  July 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Cows even are known to drink their own milk as seen in this video:

  2. Travis Murdokunts  July 8, 2013 at 2:39 am

    What am I suppossed to pour on my cerial? Water?

  3. Gertrude  July 8, 2013 at 10:33 am

    As for the remark of the Rumanian lady. If your country is so functional and feeding its inhabitants well and healthy, paying far above slavewages, then why do many Rumanians now with the open borders, find their way into the Netherlands to skimm, steel smartphones en mass on musical festivals and form thieving bands to commit burglaries and stand begging outside many supermarkets selling a streetpaper they do not even get to keep the money earned with it. Feed your people and sort your problems out, before you start shaming others that they want to force upon you their rules. If by now you do not get, that we are all in this together, targeted by just the same small elite minority, then possibly your brains are calcified from drinking too much milk.

    • Stojanovic  September 28, 2013 at 8:07 am

      And where exactly is your argument? Lost in stereotypes maybe…What does good milk have to do with criminality in your country?

  4. DJ  July 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    @Gertrude This post is about food not about criminal activities in the netherlands , but i agree because i am from holland. The USA should think about their own problems instead pumping billions in warfare. We should all share this post!

    • Grendl  July 12, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      i agree, DJ… this is not about the problems between borders, these attitudes will continue to create obstacles to find world solutions. it is so true that united we stand, and divided we are sheep

  5. DominoDelly  July 13, 2013 at 2:16 am

    theyre saying that RAW cow milk is good for you but when its processed it loses its nutrients and is therefore detrimental to ones health

  6. Vivienne Cantem  July 13, 2013 at 4:53 am

    I was born in India & we drank milk that was fresh from the cow..boiled & used…I was 6 when we relocated to Oz..everything should be in moderation I believe..but I guess we dont always know what is being fed to these animals..they have also brought out A2 milk here which doesnt contain cassien ( an added protein)..that regular milk has its permeat & additive free..I guess maybe we should go back to basics..live in a farm lol your in control of your own produce..

  7. C  July 18, 2013 at 11:51 am

    to save human race, we might wanna go back to twiggs and roots yes, but maybe it’s inevitable that mankind is destroying itself anyway, on a number of fronts; pollution, using up energy, developing antibiotic resistant viruses and bacteria by using antibiotics in food industries, therefor destroying our natural food-resources with this and gentech etc etc. And maybe it’s for the best; to make room for another less greedy and less self destrcutive species. So keep drinking a lot of cow-tit-juice and eat trans-fat-drained food so it can all be over soon :)

  8. Denise  July 24, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I am American… totally agree that we live in a process world… but there people are going toward organic that can afford it… fight to have GMO’S labeled or gone for good… so no reason to be nasty…America the land of everybody….

  9. Nicole  July 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Why do so many people from other countries like to take cheap shots at Americans every chance they get? Most of those doing this have never visited here (or even met an American) yet they hate us? There are idiots/assholes in every single country…..there are also plenty of good people in every country…..stop hating entire countries just because you don’t like their government or something one or two idiots have said/done…..THAT is ignorance.

    • leigh  July 25, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      Hi Nicole.
      I’m from Cape Town, South Africa. You need to try to see things from another perspective. Its your value system the world dislikes. No other country in recent history has caused more global devastion than the USA, besides Adolf Hitler. Check your history over the last 50 years.Your various governments have bribed and spoilt you and made you dumb with a crap education and TV, whilst they used mafia tactics on the rest of the under developed world, purely for the profit needed to maintain the “American Dream”. To the absolute devastation of millions of common people through out the world, your various governments have put into power and supported, the most despicable psycopathic murderers this world has seen. Simply, so they where able to secure, at VERY resonable rates, any natural resources on offer. It is said that a country deserves the government it elect’s. The people of the USA have allowed thier country to be stolen by a few very, very greedy organizations. Your president, either has no power, or is a corrupt liar. If your leaders behave badly, what kind of an example do you think they are setting for all the other world leaders of questionable morals. My country is a good case in point!!! Being the original champions of human rights and “real” democrasy, aren’t you ashamed of the position you find yourselves in?. In my opion, its little wonder that the rest of the world see’s you as spoilt, greedy, fat, bullies. Open your eyes!!!


      PS. Before responding, please consider who might be spying on us, and what kind of list your name might appear on.

    • Ant. C.  September 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm


  10. aaron Fitzgerald  July 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Can anyone tell me the name of a documentary it was something like udderly ????????. It is an extremeely good doco on why we dont need milk and why we shouldnt be drinking it

  11. Al Hard  July 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    This refers to “sugar-sweetened beverages” it makes no distinction between HFCS and true sugar

  12. Zoltan Bogumil Szkafander  July 25, 2013 at 1:11 am

    I find this stream of opinions somewhat more civilised and open minded than the BBC4 talk on social engineering was the evening. The experts are usually just trying to sell their version of truth for us, without even listening what the others are saying. I dont drink milk since have read about what hormones etc being fed to the cows, but would say, there are degrees of the harm\benefit what comes with milk. If no added sugar,(USA) antibiotics\hormones (“West”) only milk is what you are consuming, then the acidity, what it causes in your body is the harmful effect.
    Good news, that if processed for cheese, it is ok, granted, that its more or less organic. Morning cereals (oat, wheat, raisins, nutmeg) with hot water works for me, it means no waste of milk- containers either. Just give 2-3 mins till it cools down. Grated apples are nice with cereals too, if you`ve got 5 more minutes.
    Love your food.

  13. wayne r corbin  July 25, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Milk can become addictive over time. I used to drink 3.25% (homo milk) 4-6 ltrs a day for over 45 yrs.. well after being told i’m diabetic and have high cholesterol i should start drinking 1%. well same price for homo milk i didn’t change. after 45 yrs of this i have now had 3 heart attacks and a triple bypass, Sugars were regular at 16-20 m/m, i have been treated for daily heartburn by another drug and i always had a bad gas problem after devouring my milk. did i quit No, I love a glass of ice cold milk and can even tell you where to buy the coldest milk in the province of BC. yes obese i am and it’s always been my fault. finally stopped 4-6 a day and now have a ltr or two(struggling) sugars are near normal and lost 20 lbs in this month. all i can says is farewell to heartburn, high sugars and obesity. 12 grams of sugar per glass of milk and all that fat was killing me slowly,maybe i’ll have a chance at a better life without the milk. i’ll be 65 this coming March.

  14. Anita McBean  July 25, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Before the argument of organic verses non organic,vegan verses non vegan or raw verses refined,know your facts.Let me say this,we all know the crap put in to refined foods,fast foods ect.So what about organic?There are shaded standards for organic foods.If it is 73% organic it is labeled organic even if the other percentage is deadly pestisides.If an organic farmer is at risk of losing a crop he is aloud to spray pestisides and still label his product organic.Organic foods and feed are grown from the waist products of our sewage plants.Read what organic furtilizers are.When it comes to raw foods,they are grown in our polluted air.Unpasturised milk can be deadly,it must be boiled to be safe.The same with water and fruit juices.4 children died from Starbucks natural unpasturised apple juice because the apples came into contact with infected deer feces.What I am saying is organic is not what you are led to believe.It is a way to to reuse the remainder of our chemically treated sewage because there’s nowhere else for it to go.Don’t believe me,google what is organic furtilizer.We can never achieve a perfect healthy food because toxins are now widespread throughout the planet.We can make choices to eat better but to what extent are we,as a busy society willing to go?Move to the wilderness of Alaska and farm indoors useing only what?What can we use that has zero contaminants?Your choices are yours to make but do not tell me anything is healthy.There is only healthier.Healthy no longer egists on this planet.

    • George  September 21, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      You make some interesting points. But what a pity that your education is so bad. Please learn to spell and how to write correctly before posting. How about spending some time reading books by people who have a wonderful grasp of English, who can spell and understand grammar and punctuation – instead of the crap written on FB.?

  15. Danielle  August 8, 2013 at 6:07 am

    I live in alaska and I personally live off the land, because I choose to. I hunt and gather my own food. I’m even going to try to grow my own veggies. It’s a great feeling knowing I don’t have to depend on the store. Lots of people up here raise their own goats and chickens as well. I don’t know why everyone has to argue about what type of things to eat or drink. You are your own person, you make choices of what you want to put in your body. Who gives a crap what everybody else is consuming. People just need to worry about themselves. End of argument.

    • Jason  August 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      My thoughts exactly. Thanks Danielle. My father said this yesterday: “I am going to die one day that is inevitable so therefore I must pick my poisons.” :-)

  16. lisa  August 8, 2013 at 9:31 am

    We think we are better of nowadays……wrong,everythings watered down,added with crap,fake….back to basics……..and just bear this in mind cow juice drinkers…….would you drink human milk if they started bottling and selling it?…no?….discusting?…..but youll drink from another species?

    • Jason  August 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      The ability to purchase human sourced colostrum may not be such an impossibility.

      Here’s a table of prices this company pays for collecting human colostrum to use in research and manufacturing: http://www.leebio.com/breast-milk—colostrum-human—1st-week-single-donor-P548.html

    • Jason  August 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      Oh wait, the company does exactly that, they ship human breast milk to customers. I think this is a wonderful thing for mothers who for reasons they are trying to find out, can not maintain a healthy milk supply but wish to impart the nutrients and antibodies found in human milk to their young. People with compromised immunity could benefit from the breast milk also and even ferment it to increase probiotic content. Our family does this with the goat milk our organicly cared for goats produce at our home.

  17. bob  August 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    What about the hormones and antibiotics injected into cows finding their way into milk?

  18. Mark Sentesy  August 17, 2013 at 4:20 am

    The headline should have said: do not drink sweetened milk products. The good of the milk is outweighed by the bad of the sugars. The title “Don’t drink milk” is extraordinarily misleading, as the 2nd last paragraph makes clear by saying: “there are numerous benefits to drinking full-fat dairy products.”
    The article is meandering in making its point – a great recipe for building up fear. And what is up with the IRRELEVANT final paragraph? I avoid antibiotics in dairy, but it is just fearmongering to add it as the author does to an article on a different topic, that gives no information about it.

  19. Todd  August 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Humans are the best in trials & error, results and failures. Just make sure along the way you don’t blink, and you are paying good attention to what we are doing & eating, This thus help our own self Surviving for the future. Milk or non Milk !!!!!!!! :::-)))))

  20. Vaalea D  September 18, 2013 at 3:28 am

    How about Estrogen!!

    I grew up drinking 3.5% raw milk. Farms are not sterile environments. Yuck.

  21. Phil  September 20, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Cows milk is good for calves but not for human autoimmune systems and processed milk is not even good for calves. Watch the documentary called Forks Over Knives. I’m the biggest skeptic on such shows but that one changed my life.

  22. Wicasta Lovelace  September 21, 2013 at 3:26 am

    It’s amazing the number of people who just can’t grasp the simple logic of what’s being said here. No one is saying the milk in and of itself is bad. They’re just saying that once you’ve processed it into 2%, 1% and low-fat, you’ve basically created a chemical cocktail that has little relation to the original source. Yeah, maybe the headline is misleading, but you’d think people’s limited attention spans would at least let them read the first couple of paragraphs before leaping off the deep end. ;-)

  23. mrooker  September 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Er, ah, vegans know that even raw, unpasteurized milk is not a health food. Milk is for babies. If you’re not a baby and that cow or goat or whatever is not your mama, her breastmilk is not for you. Please don’t say vegans are right and then talk as though we drink raw milk. These industries are fooling you, even the “grass-fed, organic” ones. My Myth or Science page might help http://www.ShamanicSpring.com/myths.htm

  24. Fred  October 4, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Thank you @mrooker. I was reading this comments and at some point I just had to say something. So I scrolled down to the reply box and… Hey!!! At last! Someone someone (you) said it!!!
    The Human Paradox…. Nature that doesn’t trust Nature because it doesn’t know/understand itself… bizarre… How far we came from ourselves (a very interesting Natural Phenomenon)… What is MILK? Where does it come from? When? Why? For whom? Etc…Such high concentration of nutrients under one roof?! In all its varieties that have now been expanded to a myriad of additives, subtractives, replacements, alternatives, and a plethora of attractive packaging…
    Myth is Money, Profit is Fiction ;)

  25. Kim Damien Eriksen  October 18, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Only in the US!

    In Europe we have had standards and rules for ages, that states that you CAN sell milk added artificial sweetners – but that you can not call it “milk” no more. Then it’s a milk-drink…

    So wake up and smell the coffee – now without an added milk(-drink)…


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