By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only


Glen Merzer, co-author of Howard Lyman's best seller, Mad
Cowboy wrote a letter to the Journal of the American Medical
Association (JAMA), and it was published!

I have analyzed and written about many flawed dairy studies,
often as a result of the dairy industry's pre-publication
(insider) hype. That was the case on April 25th when I first
wrote a column revealing a significant flaw in what I called
a phony study.

JAMA is supposed to be a peer-review journal. I wrote:
"Perhaps Elsie the Cow did the peer-reviewing?"

On page 2059 of the same issue in which the study appeared
(April 24th, 2002) issue, JAMA lists their key objectives,
two of which were:

"The Journal has a social responsibility to improve the
total human condition and to promote the integrity of

"To report American Medical Association policy, as
appropriate, while maintaining editorial independence,
objectivity, and responsibility."

The severely flawed study was partially funded by General
Mills, who owns Haagen Dazs, Yoplait Yogurt, Wheaties, and

The study was so flawed that it is laughable. When I read
the author's words on page 2082, I wanted to cry:

"We identified dairy products as any items reported during
the diet history interview that were either 100% dairy (eg,
milk) or included dairy as one of the main ingredients (eg,
dips made with sour cream). We did not include mixed

I spoke to the senior author of the JAMA study, Mark
Pereira. One of the things Dr. Pereira told me:

"Our research is incomplete, and we are not suggesting
changes in the dietary guidelines."

I was astounded.

When I spoke Pereira), I asked:

"You did not include pizza?"

He responded:


"Macaroni and cheese?"


"Milk and cereal?

"No. The grains would have compromised the glycemic index."

I told Pereira that, in 1970, the average American ate ten
pounds of cheese, and that last year, the average American
ate 31 pounds. It takes ten pounds of milk to produce one
pound of hard cheese.



"Chicken parmagiana?"


"Cakes, cream cheese on bagels, milkshakes, cream sauce,
cheese sauce, milk chocolate?"

He said "no" to all.

I asked my readers to become active. Write letters. Glen
Merzer accepted my challenge and soared right to the source.

His letter as published by JAMA:

"Dairy Products and Insulin Resistance

To the Editor: In their categorizations of dairy products,
Dr Pereira and colleagues excluded foods for which the
"contribution of dairy to the weight or caloric content of
the item was unclear or likely to be minimal."

Such "mixed dishes" included pizza and cheeseburgers. Thus,
for example, a study participant could have eaten 3 double-
cheese pizzas in a day, but his daily intake would not have
been counted as a dairy day if he did not drink milk.

Pereira et al also note that milk intake has decreased
significantly over the last 3 decades and imply that this is
related to increased rates of obesity and diabetes. They
ignore the vast increase in the consumption of cheese and
other dairy products during those 3 decades.

A more accurate study of the impact of dairy consumption
might compare incidence of insulin resistance syndrome
between 2 populations: those who consume dairy (in all its
forms) and those who consume none.

Glen Merzer, MA
Woodland Hills, Calif."

Bravo, Glen, and thank you, JAMA, for publishing Glen's
letter and setting the lobsided record just a little bit

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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