Skim Milk Causes Cancer

It seems those that switched from whole- to skim or low fat milk for health reasons have increased their cancer risk.

Skim Milk Causes CancerThe amount of calcium and vitamin D in the diet appears to have little or no impact on the risk of prostate cancer, but the consumption of low-fat or nonfat milk may increase the risk of the malignancy, according to the results of two studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Dietary calcium and dairy products have been thought to increase the risk of prostate cancer by affecting vitamin D metabolism. Data from several prospective studies have supported an association, but many other studies have failed to establish a link.


In an overall analysis of food groups, the consumption of dairy products and milk were not associated with prostate cancer risk, the authors found. Further analysis, however, suggested that low-fat or nonfat milk did increase the risk of localized tumors or non-aggressive tumors, while whole milk decreased this risk.

The rationale for the linkage is not given in the report. Indeed, unless there’s something in the extraction process that alters the chemical makeup of the milk, it’s hard to imagine why removing milkfat would increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Of course, risks don’t occur in a vacuum. Presumably, switching to whole milk would increase one’s risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, and other health problems. The comparative odds would therefore be instructive in this situation.

FILED UNDER: Health, Science & Technology, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I am not sure what is worse: that these things get reported as “science”, that the press reports them, or that bloggers comment on them.

    To be fair, I almost took the bait myself, having switched to skim myself a few years ago, but let’s look at the press release:

    “Further analysis, however, **suggested** that low-fat or nonfat milk did increase the risk of localized tumors..”

    Ah, “suggested”, that hallmark of science.

    The article continues:

    “Our findings do not provide strong support for the hypothesis…studies, with adequate numbers of advanced and fatal prostate cancers, may shed further light on this question”

    In other words, “We’re not sure, but maybe another study will prove it?”

  2. James Joyner says:


    I agree that the reporting on these studies can be dubious. In this case, though, what you’re seeing is mostly bad writing: There are two, somewhat related, studies in the same journal plus a third, older, study being referenced in the report.

  3. FireWolf says:

    “Our findings do not provide strong support for the hypothesis that calcium and dairy foods increase the risk of prostate cancer. The results from other large…studies, with adequate numbers of advanced and fatal prostate cancers, may shed further light on this question,” Park’s team concludes.

    I agree with you DM, these reports and the people who report them are asinine.

    Simply put, scientists can talk all they want about what is good or bad for you but in the end other scientists refute these claims and shoot back with their own.

    It’s one of the types of stories you’d just as soon never hear about because 2 or 3 years from now they’ll change their minds again.

    If you want to tell me something useful, why don’t you work on plants that have valid medicinal purposes so I can help kill the drug monopoly.