Saturday, 11 December 2010

Safe as milk.



I have, for a long time, been looking for an excuse to post a Captain Beefheart song.

The last post spoke of a 1 in 10 chance of smokers getting lung cancer. There is, in the UK, a 1 in 12 chance of a woman getting breast cancer. Smoking or not, makes no difference, no matter what the medics tell you. It's a different disease. In China the rate is 1 in 10,000.

Why? One thing I noticed during ten (work) days in China was that there was no milk. No cheese, no chocolate, no yoghourt, nothing made of milk at all. No coffee, they drink tea with no milk or sugar and once you get used to it, it's really very nice. I lost some weight there and was never ill. At the time I put it down to the style of eating. Here, we get a plate full of food and we are expected to finish it. The Chinese give you a small empty plate, everything is on a lazy-susan rotating disk and you take what you want. When you're full, you stop. Your plate never has more than a few small things on it. There's no pressure to eat it all, nobody berating you about Ethiopian children or waste. It's a good system.

Everything was fried. Everything. Hardly anyone was even chubby, never mind fat. Low breast cancer rates might be linked to that style of eating or, as the author of this article suggests, might be due to the absence of dairy products. (Thanks to John in the comments here)

I don't use much actual milk. Tea and coffee, but never in espresso. I don't like cereals or yoghourts although I like cheese. A lot. There is milk in all sorts of foods and lactose in even more. Humans can't digest it too well even though it's in human breast milk. We're not intended to. It's not there for us, it's there to feed lactobacilli in the gut. Those bacteria make the gut acidic and harder for most pathogens to get into. Babies get their energy from the fat in milk, not the lactose.

Lactose isn't carcinogenic. Don't get that idea. It can cause gut problems in some people but for most of us, the lactobacilli deal with it. No, the problems most have with milk is with milk protein allergies. Mechanisms of cancer? No idea. I'm no medic. These days, no researcher would dare suggest it wasn't smoking so don't expect any progress in the near future.

That article draws a convincing link between the routine consumption of dairy foods and breast cancer. There are other factors, such as genetics but as the author points out, Chinese people who move to the West soon reach Western levels of cancer incidence. Genetics can predispose, but not guarantee cancer. So it's something here that causes it and having experienced Chinese smoking levels, it's certainly not tobacco. If it was, they'd have more than us. I saw someone smoking while leaning on a hydrogen cylinder while I was there. There is no Chinese symbol for 'health and safety'.

So would we be told if there was a health risk from milk? We have a milk marketing board, so no. It has to be safe. It's profitable.

I don't have breasts, not even moobs, but it is nonetheless possible for men to get breast cancer. There is also a potential link with prostate cancer, and I have one of those. I'll be cutting back on dairy consumption in future.

Safe as milk? If that author is right, milk is just marginally safer than tobacco.

I'll take the risk for tobacco. Milk just isn't that important.

21 comments:

DaveA said...

Confirmed by this paper here, infact the health fascists might save more lives if they ban milk form pubs rather than smoking.

"The reported beverage habits of 569 lung cancer patients and 569 control patients admitted to Roswell Park Memorial Institute (RPMI) were studied, 355 male cases and 214 female cases being matched to controls within strata of age and residence. Smoking history and an index of vitamin A from vegetables had significant, dose-response associations with risk. Animal fat intake as measured by an index of animal fats from meats showed elevated risks which were not significant. Three vegetables rich in vitamin A and 3 meats contributing to the animal fat index were, individually, associated with lung cancer risk. Frequency of consumption of milk, coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages was studied in multiple logistic regression analyses which controlled for smoking history, intake of vitamin A from vegetables and education level. Subjects reporting consumption of whole milk 3 or more times daily had a 2-fold increase in lung cancer risk compared to those who reported never drinking whole milk (RR = 2.14). The same frequency of intake of reduced-fat milk was associated with a significant protective effect (RR = .54). Significant risk variations were observed for other beverages but, with the exception of frequencies of reported diet cola and decaffeinated coffee intake, dose-response patterns were not evident.

PMID: 2703270 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]





http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2703270

Mark Wadsworth said...

F-ck!

I don't eat cereal anyway, and am perfectly happy to make do with black coffee (altho' I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a black cappuccino?). Are we still allowed to say 'black'?

But I love cheese. I even love saying the word cheese.

But I'll do a test run and see if I can do a week without milk.

Anonymous said...

But then I did read somewhere (sorry, no link) that the Chinese suffer from higher rates of stomach cancer than we do in the west. Maybe, in the end, it's all swings and roundabouts. You've got to die of something.

Karen

Furor Teutonicus said...

I TOLD YOU!!!

About three weeks ago I wrote here about the amount of people that have consumed milk, or milk containing products withing the 24 hours before they snuff it.

Bloody DEADLY is milk!

Furor Teutonicus said...

Follow ups to...

Radio Free Britain said...

I like Mark will give this a test run, could do with shedding a few pounds before Chrimbo.

Cracking track bye the way, I just love them. V

Bucko said...

I'm with Mark,I bloody love cheese. And cigars. I'm doomed ;-)

Anonymous said...

i thought the cause of cancer in milk was the use of Bovine GROWTH HORMONE ETC

RantinRab said...

Shhhh! Don't tell anyone but milk is really babyfood. Honest!

Ed P said...

Scary dairy!
Give it up, you're not an infant.

Leg-iron said...

Your next bowl of muesli could be your last!

Just like cigarettes, one day it's bound to be true.

Clive F said...

I went on a three day Chinese speaking tour of Beijing once, with a gang of Hong Kong Chinese. We ate Chinese food the whole time and towards the end of the trip we were remarking how well our digestive systems were working. No sudden needs for the loo, no wind etc. etc.
That all changed when we stopped at the Beijing McDonalds. It was the cheapest MD in the world at that time, and a girl brought enough burgers and chips for the lot of us. Within half an hour the digestive systems were back to normal ropey UK performance and the atmosphere in the coach was, shall we say, thick.

John said...

Silly thing is I hardly ever, ever used milk until about two years ago when I started using it on cereal which I started eating for other reasons. Milk kind of nauseated me.
Now I'll have to put scotch on my all bran. Ah well, needs must . . .

Anonymous said...

I'm still regularly visiting your blog and continue to enjoy your postings, particularly the ones featuring your occupation.

Some random thoughts on your recent posting...

Apparently the Southern Chinese and Japanese have incidences of Nasal cancer at least 30 times higher than occur in the UK. The most common theories are that high nasal cancer rates may be related to a combination of one or more of the following :-

Genetics
Salted fish
Epstein-Barr virus (Glandular fever)

I suppose the dairy hypothesis might also work in reverse for this one.

I have worked with and know a lot of Cantonese speaking Chinese people here in Canada (Most originated from Hong Kong although some are also from mainland China). None of these people (many of whom are friends) can drink (or tolerate) milk, although some now drink lactose free milk. Chinese people in Canada often tend to have poor dental health which is also likely due to low levels of dietary calcium.

Somewhat less than 40% of people in the world retain the ability to digest lactose after childhood. The numbers are often given as close to 0% of Native Americans, 5% of Asians, 25% of African and Caribbean peoples, 50% of Mediterranean peoples and 90% of northern Europeans. Sweden has one of the world's highest percentages of lactase tolerant people. It would be interesting to look at a correlation here with breast cancer incidence although I am always concerned about screening rate differences between these countries and places like China.

Breast Cancer rates appear to have soared in recent times although death rates remain fairly constant. Here in Canada virtually every female gets screened to death for Breast Cancer, this was certainly not the case 10-20 years ago.

Many years ago, I never personally knew of a single woman who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, I know dozens who have been diagnosed and treated.

I wonder if anyone has looked at the correlation between Breast Cancer incidence and tit size. My own observations indicate that Chinese and Japanese women have very small or non-existant tits, a condition also found in Northern European males who share low rates of Breast Cancer). Strange as it seems, North-American Chinese have much bigger tits than their domestic cousins. They also seem to be taller and have more body
fat. According to my Hong Kong friend and former work colleague, natives of Hong Kong also move at much quicker speeds than their North American ethnic Chinese counterparts.

"Bias Alert" I have to own up that I love almost all dairy products
including milk and cheese.

Have a great Xmas and New year Leggy......

Expat Brit Living in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Part 2

(First post was too long and didn't fit, so here is the last bit).

I wonder if anyone has looked at the correlation between Breast Cancer incidence and tit size. My own observations indicate that Chinese and Japanese women have very small or non-existant tits, a condition also found in Northern European males who share low rates of Breast Cancer). Strange as it seems, North-American Chinese have much bigger tits than their domestic cousins. They also seem to be taller and have more body
fat. According to my Hong Kong friend and former work colleague, natives of Hong Kong also move at much quicker speeds than their North American ethnic Chinese counterparts.

"Bias Alert" I have to own up that I love almost all dairy products
including milk and cheese.

Expat Brit Living in Canada.

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

As I understand it, the reason many lactose-intolerant people can't drink milk is that the pasteurisation process kills lactase. Lactase is the enzyme which assists the body in digesting lactose.

The government banned the sale of raw milk, stipulating that it must be pasteurised.

So it's not milk per se which causes problems. It is regulation which causes problems. Ergo, the government is the problem.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the pasteurisation causes lactose intolerance itself.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Captain Beefheart. I like it. I did have the vinyl album once. Drop out boogie, etc. Off for a fag.

wv: boogies

Dave H. said...

Was that after they found out the milk was adulterated with melamine, to boost the apparent protein content?

Although they did shoot the government minister responsible for the scandal. China has a history of useful innovations.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

They are different and "vive la difference!"

I think we have only glimpsed a very small part the complexity of DNA and it's interactions with the environment.

bata-kusai indeed.....

Jack The Lad. said...

I went to China last year, just echoing the "lack of health and safety" comment: great attitude, if you want a hole dug the only question is "how deep?". I saw men working on 5 story high bamboo scaffolding, at night, no safety lines, lights, anything.Not saying this is a good thing, but it shows why they are taking all the industry! Also, the Chinese say we westerners smell of milk, its actually in our sweat and on our breath. I'm amazed they can detect it under the whisky and the fags.....

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