milk increases risk of breast cancer

Still think milk is nature’s perfect food? It’s not if you don’t want breast cancer.

This important new contribution to the diet and breast cancer story is a very large study of 52,795 women from North America. The study looked at milk, soy milk and breast cancer. None of the women had breast cancer at the start of the study; 1,057 of them did at the end of the study. What difference did drinking milk or soy milk make?

The women were followed for 7.9 years. Drinking soy milk did not increase the risk of breast cancer. But drinking milk did. The women who drank more milk had a significant 50% higher risk of breast cancer than women who drank the least. Even smaller amounts of milk were hazardous, and the more the women drank, the worse it got. ¼ to 1/3 cup of milk a day was already associated with a 30% increased risk of breast cancer. At a cup a day, the increase in risk had climbed to 50%. For women who followed the U.S. dietary guideline and drank three cups a day, the risk soared to 70%-80%.

When median amounts of dairy in general or milk specifically were replaced with soy, the risk of breast cancer plummeted by a significant 32%. This result strongly suggests an advantage to replacing dairy with soy, according to the study’s authors.

It didn’t make a difference whether the breast cancer was pre- or post-menopausal or whether the breast cancer was estrogen positive or negative or progesterone positive. It also didn’t make any difference whether the milk was reduced fat or full fat.


International Journal of Epidemiology 2020;doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa007


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For more on preventing and treating breast cancer naturally, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia.

For more on soy, see Linda's newest book, The All-New Vegetarian Passport: a comprehensive health book and cookbook all in one.

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 is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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