Thursday, June 19, 2008

Please Forget Your Dairy

In a lazy article entitled "Don't Forget Your Dairy," Chris Sparling of That's Fit echoes a study "demonstrating" that women who eat more dairy have lower systolic blood pressure:
Harvard researchers found that women who consume little or no dairy as part of their daily diet are 11 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate at least two daily servings. So, if you're still hellbent on taking your coffee black, try to include a half cup of low-fat cottage cheese or a cup of yogurt to your diet at least twice a day.
Mr. Sperling neglected to include this minor qualifier from the original article:

What they didn't find was whether calcium in dairy is the key ingredient to lower blood pressure. The results were independent of how much calcium was consumed. They note in their report that other research has shown calcium supplementation has had little to no effect on blood pressure.

Instead, the researchers say potassium and magnesium may be partly responsible for their study results.

So, too, may be the diets of those who ate the least dairy. The study showed those participants ate more butter, hot dogs, burgers, and eggs, which might account in part for their overall higher blood pressure. [Emphasis mine]

So the study's real implication is that we should eat less animal products, not more. How that got twisted into "eat more dairy" is beyond my ken. I'd be curious to see if anyone ever completed a follow-up study that controlled for animal fat. How do these milk drinkers, for example, stock up against vegetarians and vegans?

The National Dairy Council was trumpeting the study back in 2006. Shocking, but true.

And yes, as a vegan, I will be forgetting my dairy.