Milking Naivete
James Dudlicek
(847) 205-5660 ext. 4009
There’s a new study that says milk is bad for kids,” my wife tells me on the phone.
“What?” I respond, not eager at that moment to stray from my work for the March issue deadline.
“They say kids don’t need milk,” my wife says. “They say calcium doesn’t build strong bones, and kids just need more exercise.”
“Yeah, OK. I’ll be home soon,” I say, figuring there will be an alert issued in the morning.
Of course, there waiting in my e-mail box the next morning was an alert from the IDFA about this very study. But as soon as I saw the source of the study, all became clear: the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
This is the same group that’s headed up by anti-meat and anti-dairy psychiatrist Neal Barnard. This suspiciously named organization, which rosters a bite-size fraction of the nation’s physicians among its membership, is a virtual subsidiary of PETA.
The committee is claiming that an analysis of 58 published studies reveals “scant” evidence that milk does a body good and provides no bedrock for federal dairy-intake guidelines. Exercise, sunshine and fresh produce — not milk — build strong bones.
I think, so what? Barnard and his folks would say anything to get people to stop eating anything that comes from animals. As shills for PETA, they should be easily discredited.
I dial my home phone number. “You didn’t tell me it was a Neal Barnard study,” I say to my wife.
“They didn’t say who did the study,” she responds, “just that it’s appearing in Pediatrics magazine.”
And that’s why, despite the paucity of responsible medicine on their side, Barnard and his ilk are dangerous. I realized that in nearly every TV and print media report I’ve seen that quotes Barnard, his PETA affiliation and personal biases go without mention. As a former newspaperman myself, it seems to me this would taint the integrity of any information coming from activists masquerading as medical experts.
Suffice it to say, it’s dairy that has responsible medicine on its side, including support for dairy calcium by the American Academy of Pediatrics — which, coincidentally, publishes Pediatrics magazine — as well as the CDC and the surgeon general. Dairy’s importance as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle for both children and adults is rock-solid. And, of course, dairy’s impact on weight management continues to be well documented, its other benefits — including prevention of colorectal cancers — perhaps not as much.
So don’t hesitate to speak out against Barnard and his fellow charlatans, and the truth will win out. Then, perhaps someday we’ll see Neal Barnard enjoying a tall glass of milk and some cookies, seated next to Michael Jacobson noshing on hot, buttered popcorn, both finally realizing that enjoying the finer things of life in moderation is better than condemning them outright with fear and deception.