At long last, I’m following up on my post about happy chickens to talk a little bit about dairy. When you have gynecological cancers, anything that has anything to do with hormones, becomes immediately suspect. But, like with most research having to do with causation or prevention, the results are inconclusive.
For men, the results are more conclusive. High calcium – more than 1,500 mg a day – is probably associated with prostate cancer. “Probably associated” is scientists’ speak for “the results are convincing, but we won’t say definitely.”
The results of some studies suggest that a high calcium intake may decrease the risk of one or more types of cancer, whereas other studies suggest that a high calcium intake may actually increase the risk of prostate cancer. – National Cancer Institute
For women, the research is less clear. A study done in Sweden, where dairy consumption and ovarian cancer rates are both very high, there was a link shown between rates doubling for ovarian cancer among the group that drank more than one glass of milk per day. The Harvard Nurses Health study confirmed those findings with their own which showed that women who drank 1 or more glasses of milk a day had a 69% increase in one particularly deadly form of ovarian cancer compared to those who drank almost no milk.
While these studies and others show a relationship between ovarian cancer and milk consumption, the evidence is not as compelling as it is for prostate cancer. However, clearly having USDA guidelines suggest three servings or more a day of dairy products seems worrisome; particularly when ovarian cancer is so deadly.
So what does one do? Well, for me, this is a tough one. Love my dairy. While I’d like to think I could forego it entirely, I know that in two days, I’d be dying for some cheese. Or a nice creamy Greek yogurt.
So this is what I’m going to do [at least as of this writing]. The studies were done on milk consumption. I no longer drink milk as a stand-alone beverage, and don’t use it in coffee, tea, etc. So I’m going to limit my dairy intake to Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and the occasional cheese snack. I will try to find hormone free versions of these products. That’s all I can do.