How the Dairy Industry Designs Misleading Studies

How the Dairy Industry Designs Misleading Studies

September 14, 2019 100 By Ewald Bahringer


“How the Dairy Industry
Designs Misleading Studies” Observational studies like these,
suggesting dairy might not be so bad, can be confounded by extraneous
factors, such as the fact that people who eat more cheese tend to be
of higher socioeconomic class. Fine, but what about
this interventional study? A randomized, crossover trial which
compared a high-fat cheese diet, to a high-fat meat diet,
to a low-fat diet. A high cheese diet: CHEESE,
which is loaded with saturated fat, a high meat diet: MEAT, which
is loaded with saturated fat, versus CARB, a low-fat diet, and people ended up with
the same cholesterol levels. Let’s see how they did it. Half the study was paid for
in part by the dairy industry, and the other half paid for by
dairy, dairy, dairy, and dairy. If you’re the dairy industry, and
you’re trying to design a study to show that a high cheese diet
doesn’t raise cholesterol, how would you go
about doing that? Anyone remember this video?
It’s one of my favorites. The beef industry was in the
same pickle as the cheese industry. Beef has saturated fat,
which raises cholesterol, which raises the risk of
dying from our #1 killer. What’s an industry to do? So they designed a study where they
added beef, and cholesterols went down. How is that possible?
Here’s the two diets. They added beef and the
cholesterols went down. They did this by cutting out so much
dairy, pork, poultry, fish, and eggs that their overall saturated
fat intake was cut in half. They cut saturated fat levels in half
and the cholesterol levels went down. Well, duh. They could
have swapped in Twinkies and said snack cakes lower your
cholesterol, or frosting or anything. OK, so now that you know the
trick, let’s go back to this study. The way to get the same
cholesterol levels is to make sure all three diets have the
same amount of saturated fat. Now how are you going to do that? How are you going to get
a high-fat cheese diet and a high-fat meat diet to
have the same saturated fat as a diet with neither,
unless… Wait, don’t tell me. Wait, they added coconut oil
or something to the other diet? They added so much coconut oil and
cookies to the so-called low-fat diet that they all had the same
amount of saturated fat. And voila! That’s how you make
a cheese or meat-rich diet that doesn’t raise cholesterol. That reminds me of the desperation evident in this study
that compared the effects of dairy cheddar cheese to a nondairy
cheddar cheese called Daiya. Milk consumption has
plummeted in recent years as people have discovered
plant-based alternatives like soymilk and almond milk, and now there’s plant-based
cheese alternatives? What’s the National Dairy Council to do? How are you going to design a study
that shows it’s healthier to eat cheese, design a study where cheese causes less
inflammation than the vegan alternative? They got their work
cut out for them. Daiya is no health
food by any stretch, but definitely three times less
saturated fat than cow cheese. So, I give up. How could you possibly show
more inflammation from Daiya? Well, there is one fat that may cause
more inflammation that milk fat: palm oil. In fact, it may raise
cholesterol levels as much as trans-fat laden
partially hydrogenated oil. Yeah, but what, are you telling me
they like slipped the Daiya group some extra palm oil on the side? Yes, can you believe it? They compared cheese
to Daiya plus palm oil, so much extra palm oil that the
vegan alternative meal ended up having the same amount of
saturated fat as the cheese meal. That’s like proving tofu is worse
than beef by doing a study where they compared a beef burger
to a tofu patty stuffed with lard. Oh, wait, the meat industry
already did that, but at least they had the decency to concede that replacement of meat
by tofu in the habitual diet would probably not usually be
accompanied by the addition of lard.