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Diabetes More Common In Milk-Drinking Countries

Finland consumes more cow’s milk than any other country and Finnish people have the highest incidence of diabetes in the world-40 cases per 100,000 people. This is about six times higher than the frequency of diabetes in France. The French drink much less milk and have only 7.5 people with diabetes per 100,000 among the Caucasian population.

A study published in the August 1995 Diabetes Care, and supported in part by the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, showed that Finnish children with newly onset diabetes had high levels of bovine serum albumin (BSA) antibodies. BSA is a protein found in cow’s milk.

According to the report, “Studies of infant nutrition have associated diabetes risk with short (versus longer) periods of breast feeding. Diabetes risk declines with longer duration of exclusive breast feeding. Early exposure to cow’s milk-based infant formula was identified as a major independent risk factor.”

The study showed that patients with diabetes had elevated anti-BSA levels in 74.4% of cases, compared with 5.5% of (non-diabetic) control children.

The report concludes, “This is the third blinded study that demonstrates a clear association between childhood onset diabetes and elevated anti-BSA antibodies.”

According to Beth Beller, RD, CDE, “Many pediatricians now recommend not starting cow’s milk till a child is one year of age, especially when there is a family history of type I diabetes.”

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