An Unexpected Formula for Childhood Obesity

We know that breastfed infants may be protected against subsequent obesity for over 30 years, but why?

Giving infants formula based on cow’s milk presents an unusual situation. Cow’s milk is designed to put nearly two pounds a day onto a growing calf, 40 times the growth rate of human infants.

The perfect food for humans, finely tuned over millions of years, is human breast milk. Remarkably, among all mammalian species, the protein content of human milk is the lowest. The excessive protein content of cow’s milk-based formula may be what sets the child up for obesity later in life.

And then, instead of being weaned, we continue to drink milk. The question thus arises as to whether consumption of a growth-promoting substance from another species throughout childhood fundamentally alters processes of human growth and maturation. A study out of Indiana University, for example, found evidence that greater milk intake is associated with an increased risk of premature puberty; girls drinking a lot of milk started to get their periods earlier. Thus, cross-species milk consumption and ingestion into childhood may trigger unintended consequences.

In contrast to feeding artificial infant formula, only human milk allows appropriate metabolic programming and protects against diseases of civilization in later life. However, continued consumption of cow ́s milk and dairy products during adolescence and adulthood is an evolutionarily novel behavior that may have long-term adverse effects on human health.

Teens exposed to dairy proteins such as casein, skim milk, or whey, experienced a significant increase in BMI and waist circumference compared to controls, whereas not a single study funded by the dairy industry found a result unfavorable to milk.

The head of the Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and the chair of Harvard’s nutrition department wrote an editorial recently to the AMA’s Pediatrics journal questioning the role of cow’s milk in human nutrition. They stated the obvious: humans have no requirement for other animal’s milk, and in fact dairy may play a role in certain cancers due to the high levels of reproductive hormones in the U.S. milk supply.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of DeathMore Than an Apple a DayFrom Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Related
Is Milk Good for Our Bones?
The Effects of Cow’s Milk on Babies
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98 comments

Thomas M
Thomas M21 days ago

Thanks very much

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Thomas M
Thomas M21 days ago

Thanks very much

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jane R.
Jane R2 years ago

I don't drink milk. I do use some for cooking though.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Mona P.
Mona Pietsch2 years ago

thanks

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Angela K away
Angela K2 years ago

thanks

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Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

Check well before consumption

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Past Member
Past Member 2 years ago

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Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola2 years ago

thank you for posting

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