New study: Dairy milk could increase the risk of breast cancer

A new study suggests drink dairy milk may be at greater risk of breast cancer in women.

Source: International Journal of Epidemiology

According to the study, the risk depends on the amount of dairy milk consumed. Consuming as little as ¼ to ⅓ cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 percent. By drinking up to one cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50 percent, and for those drinking two to three cups per day, the risk increased further to 70 percent to 80 percent.

52,795 North American women, initially free of cancer, joined the study. Their dietary intakes were observed for nearly eight years. In the study, a person’s family history, physical activity, alcohol consumption, medication use and reproductive and gynecological history were also taken into consideration.

By the end of the study, there were 1,057 women diagnosed with breast cancer. Full fat and reduced fat milks produced similar results. Researchers also looked at soy milk, but no association with an increased breast cancer risk was found. 

The associations between breast cancer and dairy milk could be the result of the sex hormone content of dairy milk, as cows are lactating and about 75 percent of the dairy herd is pregnant.

The Canadian food guide was updated in 2019 and dairy intake was de-emphasized relative to the prior version. When it comes to drinks, the Canadian food guide recommends making water your beverage of choice.The results of this study prove that more research needs to be done. Especially because milk is still widely regarded as an important part of a balanced diet.


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