Rap mogul Russell Simmons has a thing against milk. He believes it’s contributing to the nation’s obesity problem. But some health advocates would beg to differ and have new research to back up their view.
Simmons made his views known in the debate over New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign to ban large soft-drink sizes.
The mogul recently wrote a letter to to NYC health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, recommending a ban on sales of super-sized dairy products. Simmons, 54, says dairy products are unhealthy and artery-clogging and contribute to the epidemic of childhood obesity.
“As native New Yorker, I applaud your initiative to combat obesity in our city by proposing a 16-ounce size limit on sugary drinks. Limiting soda is a good step, but to achieve real results, people need to eliminate dairy products, too. Drinking milk and other dairy products can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
Simmons cited a 2005 study by a Harvard Medical School researcher that showed children who drank more than three 8-ounce servings of cow’s milk per day were 35 percent more likely to become overweight than kids who drank only one or two servings (or a maximum of 16 ounces) per day.
But Studies show that whole milk has other important advantages. It contains vitamins A, D, E and K, which are fat soluble, meaning your body absorbs them more efficiently when taken with fat. When you remove the fat in milk your body absorbs less of these key vitamins.
Vitamins A, D, E and K have been shown to keep teeth and bones healthy, and boost immunity. A study from Cardiff University in the UK found whole milk can help keep your metabolism fired up and your risk of heart disease down.
“It’s also worth remembering that full-fat milk isn’t even that high in fat,” James Duigan, author of nutrition book, “Clean & Lean,” and personal trainer to such stars as Elle Macpherson, told London’s Daily Mail. “It only contains around four per cent of fat.”
In fact, Duigan and others believe some fat in your diet is good for your health because it helps your body absorb nutrients. But he agrees that sugar is an enemy.
“Our consumption of sugar has risen dramatically because as well as the obvious culprits, it’s also found in many everyday foods including yoghurts, pasta sauces and even bread,” he says. “Fat really fills you up. Whereas you can keep eating sugar and never feel properly full, so it’s easy to overeat.”
The war on sugar-laden soda also moved to the West Coast, as Los Angeles City Council member Mitchell Englander urged the L.A. Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee to ban the sale of soda from city parks and library vending machines, citing the alarming trends in childhood obesity and diabetes.