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Welcome to an exciting edition of Docsmo.com, where parents can get a free pediatric education on their schedule about the subjects that interest them. From the diapers to the diploma, if it involves children, we take it on here. Today I am honored to have as a returning guest, Dr. Sheila Kilbane, an integrative pediatrician with loads of education, knowledge and experience. Today, Dr. Kilbane and I are going to take on a longtime simmering controversy in pediatrics, that of the health value of cows milk. Yes, controversy…you heard me right. Not everyone agrees that consuming dairy products is healthy, especially many integrative pediatricians. Since we have one of the best in the world with us today, I thought we would get her thoughts on cows milk as it relates to the health of children. Welcome Dr. Sheila Kilbane. Are you ready to enlighten my listeners and me about the great cows milk controversy?
Dr. Kilbane, before we get into the nitty-gritty of the milk controversy, can you run though the anatomy of milk and get our listeners familiar with the terminology that surrounds milk, please? What exactly is milk made of?
SK: Milk broken down by components
- Casein Whey
- Vitamin D
- Saturated fat
(Explains above briefly)
Section 1- Points of Agreement?
DocSmo: Dr. Kilbane, maybe we should begin our discussion of cow’s milk with a list of things I think the pediatric medical establishment agree on. Feel free to comment on these points as I go through them, won’t you?
- Breast milk is the best nutrient for babies in the first year of life.
- Unmodified, unchanged cow’s milk–you know, the kind we buy in the store and put on cereal–given to an infant in the first year of life is a bad idea. Iron deficiency anemia, milk allergy, mineral content imbalances that can lead to seizures are all reasons why we shouldn’t give any unmodified milk to infants. Remember, infants are babies under a year of age.
- In older children, raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk can cause infections such as Listeria, TB, Campylobacter, E Coli, Salmonella, Brucella. Sounds bad, doesn’t it!
SK: Actually, the risks of drinking unpasteurized cow’s milk are very low. There have been very few cases of sickness.
(195 hospital trips, and 2 deaths between 1998-2009–CDC)
- Full fat foods are needed for 1-2 year olds, and that includes whole cow’s milk if milk is in the child’s diet.
SK: I don’t recommend dairy after an infant’s first birthday. Other fat sources …
- Leaner cow’s milk is preferred after 2 years of age. AAP recommends 2 servings of lean cow’s milk daily. That’s skim, or other low fat milks.
SK: Dairy is not the healthiest food source of calcium…
- There are many babies who are allergic to milk, especially in the first 6 months of life, probably in the 5% range. Cows milk allergy generally disappears by 2 years of age and is unusual in children over two years of age.
SK: sensitivity studies. Dramatic improvement off dairy. Examples
- Lactose intolerance is rare in babies
SK: Lacto free milk not appropriate for milk allergic children…
- Experts say Fortified Vitamin D milk is a good source of vitamin D in children.
SK: Too much milk for too little vitamin D
Section 2-Points of Controversy
OK, Dr. Kilbane, enough for the things we can agree on, now let’s get into the controversies:
- According to many experts, including the USDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics, cow’s milk is an essential nutrient for children, providing nutrients that are difficult to get elsewhere (those nutrients being essential fats, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D).
SK: Strongly disagree. Saturated fat, difficult to get calcium, phosphors too high. “Company that fats keep.”…
- Cow’s milk consumption promotes cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergy, and cancer
SK: rats with the casein studies…
- Cows milk consumption prevents osteoporosis in adults
SK: cite studies
- Organic milk is better than non organic.-
SK: organic or nonorganic…cows pregnant all the time. Hormones high- promote cancers…
Dr. Kilbane, you always make us think out of the box when you bring your wisdom. I now can see why the most famous pediatrician of the twentieth century, Dr. Benjamin Spock, felt that drinking cow’s milk in childhood was destructive to children. It seems like time may be proving him correct. As I started to do my research for this podcast, I was actually surprised at how little evidence there is to justify the strong message that children must drink milk. It seems that this recommendation is justified more out of tradition than science. I suspect that the truth about milk lies somewhere between the two extreme positions you hear when you read about this subject…some claiming that milk causes most of the degenerative diseases in the Western world versus others insisting that milk is an absolutely essential nutrient to normal growth. Which type and how much dairy is healthiest for children only time will tell. Hopefully, we are getting closer to that answer.
I want to thank Dr. Sheila Kilbane for joining us today and bringing her perspective to my listeners and me. She is one of my favorite guests. Make sure you take a few minutes to check out her website at http://www.sheilakilbane.com/ and listen to the other podcasts we have made together that are posted on http://www.docsmo.com. They are full of Kilbane wisdom. This is Dr. Paul Smolen, hoping today’s pedcast helped make your decision whether to feed your children cow’s milk as smooth as silk. Until next time.