Veteran – IDFA- The BIG money maker


I decided to do a whole blog on just one of the comments left on the Dietary Guideline Committee’s website (see my last blog).  This comment/letter was left by The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).  This association represents a $110-billion a year industry.  It is composed of the Milk Industry, The National Cheese Institute and the International Ice Cream Association.

The IDFA gave six suggestions to the committee.  Their suggestions are in BLUE…and my comments (because I couldn’t help myself) are in RED You have to forgive the length of this blog- but it was actually quite fun to find the fault with the dairy industry and it is really quite funny reading some of their “logic” as to why milk is needed in the American diet:

1.  The IDFA states that the Guidelines Should Encourage Nutrient Dense Foods, Such as Dairy Products:  Nutrient dense foods are foods that provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, and relatively few calories.  Milk and other dairy foods are a major source of the following nutrients consumed by Americans: calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin B12, protein, potassium, zinc, magnesium and vitamin A.

Did you also know that milk and dairy products (in particular butter and cheese) are the major source of saturated fat consumed by Americans…and saturated fat has the most powerful causative relationship with heart disease and cancer? (Disease Proof Your Child, Dr. Joel Fuhrman)

I agree that eating large quantities of high-nutrient foods is essential to achieving optimal health.  But are dairy products a good choice when choosing nutrient dense foods?  I can say very confidently that dairy products are NOT the best choice- they are not even close to being the best choice.  Actually when comparing dairy products to green vegetables using Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s ( Nutrient-per-Calorie density score…The “greens” score is 1000 and skim milk is 36.  Vegetables win the award for the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.  Vegetables have the most powerful association with protection of heart disease and cancer.  Foods that are naturally rich in nutrients are also rich in FIBER and water and are naturally low in calories.  Foods associated with disease risk are generally fiber-deficient.  Dairy products do NOT contain any fiber.


 2.  The IDFA states that the “Food Groups to Encourage” Should Include Dairy Products, Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains:  The shortfall nutrients for adults are identified as calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and E.  Milk is a good source of calcium, potassium and Vitamin A.

At least they got 3 out of 4 groups right 🙂

Vitamin A intake leads to calcium loss in the urine and osteoporosis.  We make all the vitamin A we need from the carotenes found in fruits and vegetables.

When you eat a healthy whole food plant based diet (fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds) it is IMPOSSIBLE not to obtain sufficient calcium.  When our calories come mostly from oil, flour, and animal, instead of unrefined plant foods, it can appear that without dairy the diet would be too low in calcium.  But when we remove the bad stuff and replace them with the good whole food stuff…you get plenty of calcium.

Our body absorbs the calcium differently from different foods and absorbs calcium most efficiently from VEGETABLES.  Only about 32% of the calcium in milk is absorbed (most of the calcium is lost in the urine- see below for more details), while 53% of the calcium in broccoli is absorbed.

CALCIUM found in common foods
Raw Almonds (1/2 cup)    180 mg
Broccoli (1 cup)               180 mg
Orange (2)                     120 mg
Sesame seeds (1/4 cup)   350 mg
Spinach (1 cup)               244 mg

Milk (Whole) 1/2 cup       145 mg (but only 32% is absorbed)

(Disease Proof your Child, Dr. Joel Fuhrman)

On a personal note- after I am done breastfeeding my children, I make homemade nut milks that contain raw almonds and sesame seeds.  I also have them drink the “Easy Green Drink” recipe and I try to have them drink at least one of these daily.  I KNOW they are getting the calcium they need without the horrible mucus forming effects of cow’s milk.


3.  Dairy Consumption is Associated with Numerous Health Benefits:
The IDFA states that the association between dairy intake and healthy bones or prevention of osteoporosis is well known. 

EXCUSE ME?  This is what makes me the most upset.  Yes, part of having good bone health is getting enough calcium- but when you mix the calcium with animal protein- just like in cows milk- the calcium is not absorbed efficiently…most of it is actually lost in the urine.  And that is the cause of osteoporosis…people need to understand that osteoporosis is usually not a condition of inadequate calcium intake. Rather, it is a condition of overly rapid calcium loss. (The Cancer Survivor’s Guide, Neal D. Barnard)

Epidemiologic studies have linked osteoporosis not to low calcium intake but to various nutritional factors that cause excessive calcium loss in the urine.  I have stated this before, but it is worth repeating:

Osteoporosis tends to occur in countries where calcium intake is highest and most of it comes from protein-rich dairy products. 

When examining the epidemiological studies of China- it shows that people need less calcium than we think and we can get it through a plant based diet.  There is basically no osteoporosis in China, yet the average calcium intake is 544 mg per day.  The average U.S. calcium intake is 1,143 mg per day.  And most of the calcium is from dairy sources.  And of course, OSTEOPOROSIS IS A MAJOR DISEASE IN THE U.S. – COULD IT BE ANY MORE CLEAR THAT WE ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG…THAT MAYBE MILK DOES NOT PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS?

What factors contribute to this excessive urinary calcium excretion? (Eat To Live, Dr. Joel Fuhrman):


When you eat less ANIMAL PROTEIN and less SALT, You Do NOT lose as much calcium in the urine and therefore need less calcium.


4.  Independent Health Organizations Recommend at Least Three Servings of Dairy: 
The American Heart Association (AHA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Medical Association (NMA) all recommend three servings of dairy products per day.  (The AHA recommendation is for children four years and older)

I guess I don’t put much faith in these organizations.  Knowing that this IDFA represents $110 billion dollar industry- I know that they have the ability to find their way into these organizations (just like they have done in our government organizations- see my prior blog or read The China Study).  Do I have proof that the dairy industry is tied with these organizations?  No- so I guess I can’t say anymore about that.

Did you know that The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 1994 “strongly encouraged” that infants in families where diabetes is more common not be fed cow’s milk supplements for their first two years of life.  Do you know why they said this?  Because research shows a STRONG link between Type 1 Diabetes and the consumption of cow’s milk.  I don’t know about you, but just in case your children might be genetically susceptible to type 1 diabetes…wouldn’t you want to know that the AAP strongly discourages you from feeding them cow’s milk? 

When looking at the association of cow’s milk consumption and incidence of Type 1 Diabetes in different countries, there is an almost perfect correlation.  The greater the consumption of cow’s milk, the greater the prevalence of Type 1 diabetes.  In Finland, Type 1 diabetes is 36 times more common than in Japan.  Large amounts of cow’s milk products are consumed in Finland but very little is consumed in Japan. (The China Study, T. Colin Campbell)

Type 1 Diabetes

What most people don’t know, though, is that there is strong evidence that this disease is linked to diet, and, more specifically, to dairy products.  The ability of cow’s milk protein to initiate Type 1 diabetes is well documented.  (Read The China Study page 187 for information on how the initiation of this disease is started with cow’s milk).  The initiation process boils down to a truly remarkable statement: cow’s milk may cause one of the most devastating diseases that can befall a child. 

Did you know that children weaned too early and fed cow’s milk have, on average, a 50-60% higher risk of Type 1 diabetes? (The China Study)


5.  Lactose-free Dairy Products Are the Best Alternative for Lactose Intolerant Individuals:   The IDFA basically states that even if you are lactose intolerant…reduced lactose or lactose free DAIRY products are still your best option because of their nutrient density.  Examples of these reduced lactose dairy products are CHEESE and YOGURT. They state that cheese is an excellent way of providing the nutrition of dairy foods to people who may not regularly consume fluid milk products because of their lactose content.  The USDA’s has stated in regards to the School Lunch Program that “There is no need to offer a fortified milk substitute to a student whose medical or special dietary need is lactose intolerance.”

I was wondering if the schools could offer a milk substitute for the student’s who don’t want osteoporosis later on in life?  Or who don’t want cancer?  Or for the students who want to eat a FIBER rich disease proof diet?  Or how about at least offering a reduced lactose product without saturated fat and cholesterol?


6.  Discretionary Sugar and Fat Could Increase Consumption of Nutrient Dense Foods: 
The AAP suggests flavored milks (reduced fat or fat-free) with modest amounts of added sweeteners are “generally recommended” to help optimize the bone health and calcium intakes of children and adolescents.  Flavored milk is an effective strategy to help children get the calcium their growing bodies need.

I don’t even want to respond to this one…see all my comments above and you can laugh at this suggestion just like I did.
FYI- An 8 oz. bottle of Nesquik Chocolate Milk has 29 grams of sugar.  A Capri Sun has 18 grams of sugar and an 8 oz. bottle of apple juice has 26 grams.  Chocolate milk has just as much sugar as other drinks…but with added FAT.  About 1/3 of the calories come from fat and most of them are saturated fat. 


To post your own comment/suggestion for the Dietary Guidelines Committee…please go to:

Source: WFM Blog – 2

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