Thursday, January 19, 2012

Milk producer slapped on the wrist for making 'unscientific' health claims

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19 January 2012

UK Edition

Dear Reader,

It certainly won't be the lawsuit that brings down the dairy industry — there will be no films made about the "end days" of milk or news stories about the supermarket shelves being cleared of anything dairy.

Dean Foods, the makers of Horizon organic products, in the US, has recently been taken to court because of a health claim made on their packaging that was not supported by science and was therefore considered misleading.

So what's the claim? The claim that milk is the best source of calcium and vitamin D? The claim that it's good for your bones? The claim that it "does a body good"?

Nope. It's "DHA Omega-3 supports brain health." Which, you know, is true. But the lawsuit takes issue with the fact that this claim is made on a product that contains DHA omega-3 derived from mutated and fermented algae instead of from fish oil.

Okay, I get it — the benefits of DHA omega-3 have been determined through studies of fish oil, not algae. And fish oil is not in this product.

But come on! If you're going to take a milk producer to court, there are much bigger fish (which actually have nothing at all to do with fish) to fry.

How about those claims that milk is your best source of vitamin D and calcium?

Nope. This claim is not true. The food industry started adding vitamin D years ago as a cheap method of protecting against deficiency. And if you're a regular e-Tips reader, you know that just hasn't worked. In fact, vitamin D deficiency has skyrocketed.

Instead, put that vitamin-D "fortified" milk back on the shelf and go outside in the sun for 15 minutes. There's your best source right there. Certain wavelengths of sunlight (found in ultraviolet B, or UVB, rays) act on a cholesterol derivative in human skin, starting a chain of reactions, which ultimately produce vitamin D.

But hardly anyone gets enough sun these days, and that's where supplements come in. Dr. Wright recommends 4,000 IU ("International Units") daily for adults and teenagers, 1,000 IU for infants and small children, and 2,000 IU for everyone in between.

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Wishing you the best of health,

Andrew Miller
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Nutrition and Healing

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"Dean Foods sued for Horizon milk's health claims," Chicago Tribune (

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