Dairy Myth-busters Series: Milk Causes Acne
This is the first in a series of dairy myth-busting posts on The Dairy Dish.
Many dairy myths, although unsubstantiated or disproved, continue to surface from time to time. These dairy myths are touted as fact by the misinformed or by those hoping to mislead people into believing that dairy products are harmful.
Let’s begin with the age-old myth that recently reared its ugly head on TV as a part of a nationwide satellite book tour: The myth that milk causes acne.
The guest, a dermatologist and beauty book author, says:
Dairy products cause acne; People with acne should cut back on dairy products in their diet.
The science says:
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, research to date does not prove that diet or any particular food causes acne. A 2002 clinical review published in the British Medical Journal concluded that diet has never been shown to have much effect on acne.
Interrelated factors such as genetics and environment may play a role—more research is needed to determine possible causes.
It appears that in some cases, milk may aggravate acne, however, this view is controversial. In the September 2011 issue of Dermatology World, the official magazine of the American Academy of Dermatology/Association, William Danby, MD, division of dermatology at Dartmouth Medical School, is quoted as saying, “In patients who have no genetic background for acne, dairy plays no role whatsoever. It will not give them acne. But for those who have a propensity for acne and are susceptible to the effects of dairy, it can make their acne much worse.”
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that those concerned about acne consult a dermatologist for appropriate treatment.
Since dairy products do not cause acne in the majority of individuals, advice for everyone to drop dairy is not in the interest of public health. In fact, it’s potentially harmful.
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dairy foods (milk, cheese and yogurt) are the number one food source of 3 of the 4 nutrients often lacking in adults’ and children’s diets: calcium, potassium and vitamin D. The Dietary Guidelines also recognize the significant health benefits of dairy products, stating that adequate intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents, and is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and with lower blood pressure in adults.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans increase intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverage.
Got a dairy myth you’d like busted? Bring ‘em on!
Misperceptions Regarding Dairy Foods: A Review of the Evidence, Dairy Council Digest, Jan/Feb 2010