There has been a lot of confusing information in the web recently about milk and cancer. Can milk cause cancer?
The answer to this question is not simple. But a leading scientist, who has been fighting breast cancer since 1987, says “breast cancer is linked to dairy products, and the evidence is overwhelming.”
After doctors told her that she had only months to live, Jane Plant, was devastated. She and her husband, Peter, both scientists, had both worked in China on environmental issues, and knew that Chinese women had historically very low rates of breast cancer. One epidemiological study showed the disease affected one in 100,000 Chinese women, compared with one in 12 in the West.
Her husband recalled that on field expeditions his Chinese colleagues provided him with powdered milk because they did not drink it themselves. “He pointed out at that time they did not have a dairy industry. It was a revelation.”
Feeling she had nothing to lose, Prof Plant switched to a dairy-free, Asian-style diet virtually overnight, while also undergoing chemotherapy. Having already cut down on animal protein such as meat, fish and eggs, she now cut out all milk products, including the live organic yogurt she had religiously eaten for several years.
Within six weeks the lump in her neck had disappeared; within a year, she was in remission and remained cancer-free for the next 18 years. Convinced that her diet had helped, she devised the Plant program – a dairy-free diet, relying largely on plant proteins such as soy – similar, she says, to the traditional diet in rural China.
All of which may sound too good to be true, but Plant, 69, is no crackpot. Professor of geochemistry at Imperial College London, where she specialises in environmental carcinogens, she is highly regarded in her field, having been awarded a CBE in 1997 for her services to earth science; and her approach to cancer is supported by some eminent scientists. Her latest book, co-written with Mustafa Djamgoz, professor of cancer biology at Imperial, has a foreword from Prof Sir Graeme Catto, president of the College of Medicine, who describes its findings as “illuminating… even, at times, shocking” but all backed up by scientific research.
THE ‘BEAT CANCER’ DIET
Beat Cancer advises anyone with cancer or at high risk of the disease to cut out all dairy products, organic or not, from cows, sheep, goats and all other animals.
• Dairy milk with almond, coconut, rice or soya milk
• Hard cheese with tofu or bean curd for sauces, soft cheese with hummus
• Dairy yoghurt with soya or coconut yoghurt
• Crème fraiche, fromage frais and cream with coconut or soya cream
• Butter and margarines containing dairy with soya spreads, hummus, peanut or other nut or seed butter
• Dairy ice cream with soya, coconut ice cream or other dairy-free types; milk chocolate with dark chocolate
Other advice includes replacing refined and processed oils with extra-virgin olive oil; refined and man-made sugars with raw cane sugar; refined white bread, pasta and rice with unrefined wholegrain products; and cutting out preservatives and artificial flavourings and colourings.
Consumption of meat, fish and eggs should also be limited. Instead, eat unrefined carbohydrates, beans, nuts, vegetables and fruit. Salt is best replaced by herbs, and coffee by homemade juices, tap water and herbal tea.