|Copyright: The Dairy Education Board|
Sunday, September 5, 1999
Many medical doctors and scientists have suggested a link between milk consumption and heart disease. The scientific literature is so filled with supportive references for that ideology that one wonders why it is not universally accepted. One doctor has just suggested a new milk factor. This new theory might very well earn its author a Nobel Prize in medicine.
I could not have imagined this missing link, so meticulously researched,
so brilliantly presented between heart disease and a substance in milk
that had not been previously considered. The following detective story
blossoms into the story of the century, and David Gordon's new book will
soon be hailed as one of the monumental achievements of the twentieth
David Gordon, Ph.D., considers himself a cardiovascular physiologist by profession and a medical historian by avocation. In his 81 years, Dr. Gordon has worked with some of the great names in medicine, particularly in the field of hypertension research.
He has written and edited numerous scientific papers and books. His most well known and respected work is one volume of a landmark series called "Benchmark Papers in Human Physiology." That book is titled, "Hypertension: The Renal Basis."
Dr. Gordon is now retired and lives with his wife in Livermore, California, a suburb of San Francisco. For the past ten years he has devoted his life energy to studying the correlation between milk drinking and coronary heart disease.
His new book arrived on Tuesday of this week and I read it that
evening. I re-read the book on Wednesday and am now on my third
reading. I sent Dr. Gordon a fax consisting of just one symbol, an
exclamation point. Today I spoke with the doctor and have never before
been so much in awe of a man and his work then I now am.
Dr. Gordon's 207 page book cites 428 scientific papers, published in the most respected of peer reviewed journals. His book includes thirteen charts and illustrations consisting of meticulously prepared data.
Most impressive of these charts are the ones on page 32 and 112. The
first chart correlates coronary heart disease mortality rates with the
consumption of milk in twenty-three countries. The second chart
correlates milk consumption versus serum cholesterol level in 15
countries. Each graph illustrates a convincing straight-line
correlation that provides an empirical relationship between milk and
Got milk? Got lactose? Lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose. Even people who are lactose intolerant experience a breakdown of lactose in the lower gastro-intestinal tract resulting from bacterial action.
Galactose is toxic to the human system.
Gordon carefully takes the reader through 50 studies in his fifth chapter: The Galactose Hypothesis: Natural Galactosemia.
In that chapter, we read reference after reference of how galactose causes cataracts in laboratory animals and in humans. Gordon erects the pyramid of each theory from the ground up, documenting the chemistry, then physiology of each event.
There is little debate as to the toxicity of galactose, and its etiology
in cataract formation. Gordon pieces together pieces of a puzzle that
point to galactose as being a key factor in coronary heart disease as
There is so much scientific evidence in this book linking milk consumption to heart disease, that any overall review would be a disservice. The book should be a textbook for medical students. It reads more like a scientific journal article. Every single page, without exception, contains documented facts.
I merely take a small piece of information from page two of each chapter
to illustrate the profound nature of this Gordon's work. To read the
entire book is to be overwhelmed.
"Twice as many men in Northern Europe died from coronary heart disease as those in Southern Europe, in spite of starting out with equivalent levels of the major risk factors." (Northern European countries consume the highest per capita rates of milk and dairy products.)
(Keys, Seven Countries: a Multivariate Analyses of Death and Coronary
Heart Disease. Harvard University Press, 1980)
"Significant atherosclerosis is rare in peoples whose diet over the life span is predominantly vegetarian and low in calories, total lipids, saturated lipids and cholesterol."
(Nutrition and Athersclerosis by Louis Katz. Lea & Febiger, Phil.,
"In 1981 Stephen Seely... obtained mortality data from the World Health Organization... and calculated correlation coefficents for various foods and food components... comparing quantity consumed with mortality rates from different countries... (Seely) found that milk and milk products gave the highest correlation coefficient, while sugar, animal proteins and animal fats came in second, third, and fourth, respectively."
(Seely, Diet and Coronary Disease, A Survey of Mortality Rates and Food
Consumption Statistics of 24 Countries, Medical Hypothesis 7:907-918,
"The idea that proteins in milk may somehow be damaging to coronaries…received a boost when Davies showed that more patients who had suffered a myocardial infarction had elevated levels of antibodies against milk proteins than was found in a comparable group of patients without coronary heart disease."
(Davies, Antibodies and Myocardial Infarction, The Lancet, ii: 205-207,
"The damage can be prevented if galactose restriction is instituted very early in life... another example of organ damage which has been well documented is ovarian damage... with galactosemia."
(Kaufman, Hypergonatdotrophic Hypogonadism in Female Patients with
Galactosemia, New England Journal of Medicine, 304:994-998, 1981)
"One of the early studies, reported by Day in 1936 showed that, in young rats fed a diet containing 60% carbohydrate, a comparison between glucose, galactose, sucrose, and starch revealed that rises in blood sugar were greatest with galactose feeding, next highest with lactose and blood sugar was only slightly elevated with sucrose. Starch and glucose diets yielded an approximately normal level of about 120 mg per 100 cc."
"An important additional fact, discovered by Day, was that after a short (one hour) consumption of the high galactose diet by rats, their blood sugar reached very high levels (e.g., 500 mg/dl) and then fell rapidly over time but was still above normal levels five hours after feeding."
(Day, Blood Sugar in Rats Rendered Cataractous by Dietary procedures.
The Journal of Nutrition, 12:395-404, 1936)
"There is only one paper which reports galactose levels in the blood of human beings after milk drinking! The only one! This study is concerned with a comparison between the effects of milk intake versus yogurt intake on galactose levels and not with the question which I have raised - that is how high do galactose levels go after milk drinking?"
"Milk consumption correlates positively with cholesterol levels in blood as well as coronary mortality. In comparisons between 17 countries, there is a good correlation between national cholesterol levels and mortality from ischaemic heart disease."
(Law, An Ecological Study of Serum Cholesterol and Ischaemic Heart
Disease between 1950 and 1990. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
"Although studies point out strong negative correlations between wine consumption and heart disease... six countries with the highest mortality show no correlation at all. Finland ranks highest of all in milk consumption, wine consumption and mortality from heart disease."
(Leger, Factors associated with cardiac mortality in developed countries
with particular reference to the consumption of wine. The Lancet,I,
"Shaper and Jones published a report comparing coronary heart disease and serum-cholesterol in native Africans living in Kampala, Uganda and migrant Asian Indians living in the same community. The first few sentences of that publication state:
'In the African population of Uganda coronary heart disease is almost non-existant. In the Asian community, on the other hand, coronary heart disease is a major problem.'"
(Sharper & Jones, Serum Cholesterol, Diet and Coronary Heart Disease,
The Lancet, I:534-537, 1959)
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