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.
Posted by Leg-iron at 04:04