Skim milk issues on fertility-A A +A
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
DEAR Dr. Fritz,
I am a nutritionist-dietitian who follows your column whenever I get a chance.
Your July 17 article on fertility was interesting. I would appreciate it if you could share your sources/references on the following:
1. The study that found "women who drink skim milk had much lower fertility than those who drink whole milk"
2. Process of "skimming fat from milk removes female hormones..."
Since the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D. – formerly American Dietetic Association) encourages the public to consume low fat versions of dairy, including milk (to those who can tolerate dairy) I would like to look into studies that counter A.N.D.'s stand re. milk/dairy. Milk (full, low or non-fat) is mainly - promoted as a complete food and a good source of protein, calcium and some vitamins/minerals. I am, therefore, curious and interested in any reference that may promote it as a source of either beneficial or harmful hormones.
Thanks for your inquiry about this issue. Here are the references that you were looking for. I hope this helps you with your concerns.
You can look up to this book, The Fertility Diet, by Jorge Chavarro, M.D., and Walter C. Willett, M.D. (McGraw Hill, 2008). The book is based on findings from the eight-year Nurses’ Health Study II, a research milestone in which 18,000 nurses who were struggling to become pregnant gave information on what they ate, their lifestyles, and personal and medical histories. These groups of nurses were chosen for their training and skill in providing precise information, and were asked to give out their information every two years.
In that study, Chavarro was surprised to find that women in the Nurses’ Health Study II who drank skim milk experienced lower fertility than those who drank whole milk. His co-author, Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, suggest the process of skimming away the fat from milk would also remove the milk’s female hormones, which would bind to the milkfat, leaving behind only male and sex-neutral hormones. This imbalance they thought may interfere with the delicate machinery of ovulation.
Let me tell you some bit of history. In 1977, the Senate committee in the United States published a low-fat manifesto entitled “Dietary Goals for the United States” that marked the beginning start of an industrial-food revolution which allowed manufacturers to promote margarine and corn syrup as health foods. As the theory is gaining its foothold, full-fat dairy products fell out of favor and even became despised of by many well-intended dietitians. So, low-fat dairy products didn’t just survive the trend they thrived.
Now, Americans buy about two-and-a-half times more skim milk each year “and about half as much whole milk” than they did in 1975. Whole milk has now become a relative rarity. As a matter of fact, coffee shops like Starbucks switched its standard milk from whole to two percent, in order to adopt a healthier profile basing on the low-fat doctrine.
The problem is - during the same period that the consumption of low-fat fare rose in the United States, their rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease also multiplied in bounds. So, it only suggests that fats from whole foods “even the saturated kind” are not the enemy we’ve been led to believe.
Remember that many of our problems with milk began when we started asking it to be “nature’s most perfect food,” expecting it to cure everything. This is way too much. There is no food in the world that can pretend to be all things to all people.
(For your questions, you may send them to Dear Dr. Fritz, c/o Sun.Star Davao, Granland Building, R. Castillo St., Davao City, or you e-mail them to email@example.com.)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 21, 2012.