The 2-Day Diet and Dairy Products

You might have been alarmed by recent headlines warning of the dangers of dairy products for breast cancer patients and wonder whether you should cut dairy out of your 2-Day Diet.

The newspapers reported that researchers had found high-fat dairy foods increased the risk of death in women diagnosed with breast cancer, claiming it was linked to higher levels of oestrogen in these foods. So should you bin the milk, cheese and yoghurts if you have breast cancer, or even if you don’t? The answer is a very definite ‘No’. For a start, the research is about high-fat dairy, not the low-fat dairy foods recommended in the 2-Day Diet. In fact the study found that women consuming low-fat dairy foods tended to have less breast cancer recurrence and a lower incidence of some other diseases than those who didn’t. So having low-fat dairy seems to be better than none at all.

Having carefully examined the research it’s clear that the headlines don’t tell the whole story! The research involved more than 1,800 breast cancer patients who told researchers whether they regularly ate high-fat or low-fat dairy foods. After following them for 6 years the researchers found that those who ate more than one American portion (the equivalent of 4 scoops of full-fat ice cream!) of high fat dairy every day were more likely to die from breast cancer and other causes than those who didn’t.

So far, so good, but what lots of the media coverage failed to point out was that the women who ate the high-fat dairy foods also tended to be less healthy – they were overweight, they drank more alcohol and were more likely to smoke.  And while the researchers tried to take this into account, we know it’s virtually impossible to remove all these factors.  So it’s perfectly possible that it was their unhealthy lifestyles, rather than the high-fat dairy foods, that were responsible. The idea that oestrogen in high-fat dairy foods is to blame is extremely unlikely – although levels are two or three times higher than in low fat dairy they are still minute in comparison to the amount your body produces –one pint of full-fat milk provides around 0.03% of the oestrogen produced by a woman’s body and only 0.1% of the oestrogen produced by a man’s.

So stick to your low-fat dairy – it will help protect your bones, keep your blood pressure down, reduce insulin resistance and, according to previous research, it may even protect against breast cancer.

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