The Roundup - Edition 8

The Roundup


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Here is The Roundup, Edition 8, bringing you the best from around the web from the past two weeks!

Blast from the Past

A press release at the Wall Street Journal recently reported that three new studies have shown raw milk to be a low-risk food. These papers, along with dozens of others, were presented at the Canadian Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver. The presentation demonstrated how inappropriate evidence has been mistakenly used to support the “myth” that unpasteurized milk is a high-risk food. The scientific papers used quantitative microbial risk assessment (the gold-standard in food safety evidence) and demonstrated a low risk of illness from raw milk consumption for each of the following pathogens: Campylobacter, Shiga-toxin inducing E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. This low risk profile applied to healthy adults as well as members of more susceptible groups such as pregnant women, children and the elderly.

This report adds to the bulk of evidence suggesting that raw milk is a safe food, as I explained in my series, Raw Milk Reality. While many people believe that raw dairy is a healing superfood, others feel it is a dangerous and unnecessary risk to take. Normally, the government and the media dramatically overstate these risks, calling unpasteurized milk dangerous and unsafe for human consumption. However, as this report clearly shows, the fear over raw milk is largely unfounded. I strongly recommend checking out my series on raw milk if you’re still unconvinced about its relative safety.

Research Report

  • The American Medical Association adopted a policy that officially labels obesity as a disease “requiring a range of medical interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention.”
  • Another study using more advanced diagnostic methods finds that among vegetarians, up to 62% of pregnant women, 86% of children and 90% of elderly are B12 deficient. Not surprisingly, the highest rates of deficiency were observed among vegans and lifelong vegetarians.
  • New research demonstrates that pregnant mothers with diesel and/or mercury air pollution exposure are more likely to have autistic children.
  • Trends in cholesterol-lowering medication use show that the percentage of adults using cholesterol-lowering medication increased from 5% to 23% from the late 1980s through 2010, while the number of adults eating diets low in saturated fat increased from 25% to 41%. This is unfortunate given that statin drugs don’t extend lifespan in women, the elderly (>80 years of age), or men without pre-existing heart disease. See my recent “Diet-Heart Myth” series for more about cholesterol and heart disease.
  • Researchers found that short, moderately strenuous walks in the morning and after meals can improve 24-hour glycemic control in older and otherwise inactive adults.

Worth a Look

  • Robb Wolf takes on “Paleo Fantasy” – science says the Paleo diet is bunk, right? Think again.
  • Dr. Briffa discusses a study that found dessicated thyroid to be a viable alternative to synthetic thyroid meds. (Something patients/clinicians have known for years…)
  • Dr. Peter Attia presents his TED talk: “What if we’re wrong about diabetes?”
  • The FDA decides to regulate fecal transplants, then changes its mind. (Mostly good news, I think.)
  • Men’s Journal discusses how endurance athletes are finding success with paleo nutrition.

For the Foodies

  1. I’m sorry but I went straight to the food websites link. I just really love browsing through food blogsites. Will read the article now. Haha.

  2. I’ve looked for those three reports, even browsing the journal’s table of contents, and I can’t find them anywhere. The only raw milk article I found in the journal within the past few editions is a report of an outbreak of campylobacter. Does anyone have a link, or a citation?
    Raw milk might have health benefits, but I’m disappointed that this website could propagate such blatantly false information, and I’m afraid it’s following so many other health sites and beginning to fail at delivering quality and unbiased information. I hope I’m wrong!

    • Her presentation was available here: But it is unavailable now; I’ve contacted the BC CDC to inquire about why it was taken offline, but haven’t heard back. Here is a summary of her presentation:

      I’ve written an entire series on raw milk that is extensively referenced using data from the CDC and other public interest groups. I’d suggest reading that if you haven’t already.

      • Thank you! Glad to know I’m mistaken!
        The point that I’m interested in is the low risk. According to my understanding of the blog post, her points were:
        1) There have been no confirmed Listeria illnesses from raw milk. This is not a valid argument, because there are outbreaks of other bacteria associated with raw milk. Did she assess other bacterial species? Are there cases where illness can be reported but not confirmed?
        2) The relatively low number of infections– she says that more are due to leafy greens. This is to be expected, since many more people eat leafy greens than drink raw milk. I’d like to know what percent of milk samples have caused outbreaks.
        3) No deaths due to raw milk. From the CDC website: “1998 through 2011, 148 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC. These resulted in 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths.” Again, the low incidence of illness is to be expected given the population who usually consumes raw milk. I’d rather see the % illness per consumer. Did she give any info on this? I apologize if it’s in your previous posts– I’ll look at those again.

        • Those two deaths were actually from queso fresco or “bathtub cheese” which isn’t aged the minimum 60 days as required by law. Yes, that is as disgusting as it sounds.

          Listeria is commonly a problem with unsanity milking and processing equipment, not raw milk per se. I caught it once and grimly had cyclical voming for at least 12 hours until it finally came out. So make sure your raw milk producer is up to par for cleanliness and does frequent batch testing for pathogens and posts the results publically.

      • Hi Chris, I find it very disquieting that this article has been pulled from the UBCCDC website. Was it too controversial ? Politically incorrect to say anything in favour of raw milk ?
        I wonder if they’ve ever previously removed research from their website.

        Thanks for posting the summary. I do regret that I didn’t download the full presentation at the time
        though. Somebody must have it. I hope it will find it’s way onto the internet.

        Any links please anyone ?

  3. DM, you make many good points, but I wonder about David Wolfe’s contention, because traditional cultures (as documented by Weston Price, Sir Robert McCarrison and others) consuming raw dairy did not suffer from diabetes. Is he anti-dairy ?

    • Hi Edith, he is not anti-dairy from a nutritional perspective, although he does not consume dairy. I think part of the problem is that traditional cultures treated their cows a lot better and they were in cleaner healthier environments than raw dairy cows today. Although I think raw dairy farms are much more humane and clean than conventional dairy farms which are filthy and disgusting. He has worked with a brilliant diabetes expert, Dr. Gabriel Cousins, and believes there are viruses in dairy (raw or not) that attack the pancreas and result in type 1 diabetes.

      Here is some research to back this up: which shows that consumption of dairy results in a 3 fold increased risk in childhood type 1 diabetes.


      • Hi DM, I’ve just looked at your diabetes link. Unless I’m mistaken the article dicusses pasteurised milk, and if so would not be relevant. There must be a cohort by now of some hundreds of children drinking raw milk in the U.S.A. Maybe someone could study them to establish whether they’re showing an increased incidence of diabetes. I personally believe the raw milk to be protective.
        As you said :
        “Both pasteurization and homogenization are very destructive to cow dairy and cause it to become harmful to humans”.

        • You are right, the study is on pasteurized milk, however it is still likely relevant because the beneficial bacteria in straight raw milk that are protective against the harmful bacteria that pasteurization is supposed to kill are not enough by themselves to kill the viruses that attack the pancreas. Of course these beneficial bacteria are killed by pasteurization. This is how I have heard it explained: with butter and ghee the fatty acids kill the viruses and in cheese and fermented kefir the fatty acids plus the additional bacteria also kill the viruses. I am definitely not an expert on this, but wanted to pass along the information as something to be aware of.

          I agree, it would be great to see a study on this. I do believe Dr. Gabriel Cousins, whom I greatly respect, does believe this about milk, raw or pasteurized and I know David Wolfe does as well, whom I also greatly respect.

  4. Indeed raw cow dairy is loaded with nutrition. Both pasteurization and homogenization are very destructive to cow dairy and cause it to become harmful to humans especially homogenization and ultra pasteurization. However, David Wolfe points out that when consuming raw milk it is best to consume it as cheese, butter, ghee, or fermented kefir and not in the pure liquid form because it can contain viruses that cause type 1 diabetes and may in fact be a primary cause of type 1 childhood diabetes. Butter, ghee, cheese, and fermented kefir dont have the viruses because they cannot survive in these forms. It should also become more well known that vitamin D sufficiency during pregnancy and early childhood majorly prevents type 1 diabetes probably because of the immune support. Type 2 is of course almost 100% curable and preventable and very different than type 1.

    Note, the USA is the only nation on earth that performs raw dairy factory raids – all thanks to the inept, corrupt FDA. Not even China or North Korea do this. But we in the “land of the free” do and at gunpoint sometimes – RIDICULOUS.

    The FDA needs to go away or be majorly overhauled, they cannot be trusted to protect human health and in fact make many decisions and enforce many laws that severely harm human health. They make decisions that protect their sugar daddy’s – big pharma for example – not the american consumer. Same with the EPA, USDA, AMA, etc …

  5. “The Wall Street Journal recently reported…”

    That’s not correct. What you link to is a press release that is on the WSJ web site, it is not the result of the WSJ’s reporting department. This is explicitly disclaimed at the top of the page: “The Wall Street Journal news department was not involved in the creation of this content.”

    As a raw-milk consumer myself, I hope that these results are valid and correct; but I don’t think a press release from the Weston A. Price Foundation is going to convince many skeptics.

  6. I’ve done microbial testing of raw milk, and thanks, but no thanks, I’m not touching the stuff. Ours was full of E.coli and B.cereus.