Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Plant milks better for environment and health

Plant milks better for environment and health than cow milk: science

Evidence Based Eating New Zealand has taken issue with recent news media comments by Fonterra’s chief technologist, Dr Jeremy Hill, over the value of cow’s milk in human health and its impact on the environment.

In a joint statement issued on behalf of EBE’s panel of three GPs, Dr Luke Wilson (Wellington) says several points in an article published on Stuff last Friday need to be addressed.

“Firstly, it was not explained that the research referred to was published in 2010,” Dr Wilson said.

“Three Swedish and one American researcher published an article in a not often cited journal evaluating the ‘environmental impact’ of eight different drinks, also taking into account the nutrition provided.”

Fonterra’s chief technology officer cited this research as “a collaborative study by United States and Swedish universities” that examined cow's milk and other beverages for their ‘environmental impact.

Stuff published its article, ‘Plant milks worse for environment than cow milk: Fonterra’ based largely on this research but also made no mention that the researchers were all employed by the Swedish dairy industry.

He says the researchers created a formula combining a measure of nutritional density based on Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, with estimates of just the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each drink.

Although the greenhouse gas emissions associated with cow’s milk were scored as 99, compared with 30 for soy drink, when the authors took their measure of nutrient density into account, cow’s milk scored 0.54 compared to 0.25 for soy drink.

“The equation used in this study has however been criticised as biased (all three of the Swedish researchers were employed by the Swedish Dairy Association) and the finding questioned by other scientists in the field,” Dr Wilson says.

Land, water, and fertiliser use, impact on soil and natural habitats, and, in the case of animal farming, effluent production, are all ways in which food production can impact the environment besides greenhouse gas emissions.

Processed plant milks produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, no effluent, and overall are better for the environment than cow’s milk in every single aspect mentioned above.

It is true that processed plant milk alternatives contain fewer nutrients than cow’s milk although they may be fortified.

“But”, Dr Wilson says, “it is important to understand that the ‘nutrition’ provided by cow’s milk is unnecessary and likely to be harmful.”

None of the nutrients contained in cow’s milk are unique, they are all found in whole plant foods with the exception of vitamin B12, which is found in other animal products or can be supplemented.

The protein found in cow’s milk increases IGF-1 levels, which increases cancer risk, he says.

Researchers have investigated links between cow’s milk and a variety of illnesses including acne, type 1 diabetes, breast and prostate cancer.

Intolerance to a sugar (lactose) found in cow’s milk, is common worldwide with prevalence estimated at up to 75%.

Lactose intolerance is particularly high in individuals of Māori, Pacific, or East Asian descent.

Dairy allergies are common in childhood and these children may experience eczema, sinus congestion, stomach problems, heartburn, anaemia, and recurrent ear infections.

“While processed plant foods (e.g. milk alternatives) may contain fewer nutrients than cow’s milk, they still have a lower environmental impact, are less likely to cause direct harm to health, and are nutritionally acceptable as part of a balanced diet,” Dr Wilson said.

Footnote: This statement is issued by EBE NZ on behalf of Drs, Luke Wilson, Martyn Williamson, Alexandra, and Mark Craig, Auckland.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Passports And IDs Left Online: Privacy Breach On Tuia 250 Aplications

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage yesterday revealed it had mistakenly exposed the sensitive details of about 300 mostly young people online...

Technology commentator Paul Spain said while most of the information was gone from the internet, the question was who had accessed it while it was online.

"This could be a problem for them for months if not years to come because others are now able to impersonate them and they could do all sorts of things when they [can] pretend to be someone else." More>>


Cutting Tape, Rasing Super Age, Cutting Business Payment Times...: National's Economic Discussion Doc

National has today released its fourth Discussion Document, which focusses on the economy and outlines a range of policies that will help rebuild business confidence, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says. More>>


NZ First Statement: Passing Of Pita Paraone

“On behalf of New Zealand First let me express our condolences to Pita’s wife, Elva, his three children and wider whānau,” said Mr Peters. “Northland and the people of New Zealand have lost a man who cared deeply for his people and country, and worked endlessly to make New Zealand a better country for us all.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: Why NZ Shouldn’t Try To Curry Favour With Trump

Dutifully, Denmark had lined up militarily alongside the US in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Syria and during the Iraq War. This means nothing. In a heartbeat, the current US President will trash any ally, and on the flimsiest of pretexts. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>


Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>


Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>


Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>


Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>





InfoPages News Channels