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Avoid Colorectal Cancer: Drink Your Milk!



A study of 45,306 men between the ages of 45 and 79 and without a history of cancer were followed for seven years by researchers in Sweden (Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:667-73). The study assessed their level of dairy product intake and correlated the subjects’ intake to the incidence of colorectal cancers of various types: colorectum, colon, proximal colon, distal colon, and rectum. (Previous studies had not differentiated between cancer locations.)

After adjusting for levels of dairy product intake and for various types of dairy products, including milk, cultured milk products (i.e., buttermilk or yoghurt), cheeses and sour creams, researchers found that those subjects who drank the most milk had the lowest incidence of all types of colorectal cancers. When the researchers adjusted for total calcium intake, the results remained nearly the same, suggesting that calcium intake alone, independent of dairy intake, may have protective effects.

Still, more research needs to be done to differentiate between the effects of calcium alone rather than in dairy products, which contain other acids, fats, and proteins that have been shown to have similar cancer-protective effects in laboratory animals.

What this means for you

Calcium is good for you and milk and low-fat dairy products are a good source of calcium. Drink your milk!

First posted: April 28, 2006