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Book Review: “Don’t Drink Your Milk!“ by Frank A. Oski

Another doctor recognized problems caused by milk and provided short descriptions for 32 of the many studies he had analyzed.

Book Illustration "Do not Drink Your MILK" by Prof. Dr. med. Frank Aram Oski (MD), USA© CC-by-sa 2.0, Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Foundation Diet and Health Switzerland


I have to admit that I find the book "Milk Better Not!", by Maria Rollinger more comprehensive and better suited for Europe. A link to my review of this book can be found here. Nevertheless, this book by Prof. Dr. Frank Aram Oski (1932-1996) informs you about other important aspects on this subject. As a pediatrician and hematologist, he headed the Pediatrics Department of the State University of New York and later at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

With all of his works and experiences, Dr. Oski became THE voice regarding diseases, nutrition and hygiene of children in the U.S.

But that wasn’t all, he was also an expert on the diet of adults. He published this book shortly before his untimely death from prostate cancer. His insight regarding milk came too late for him but his research is amazingly extensive.

He calls it “frightening facts about the world's most overrated nutrient.” I have therefore also linked the listed scientific works with the summary (abstract) as much possible at the end of this review.

1. Summary

This book explains why cow's milk is unhealthy and why many people may not know why. Any milk from another species is not healthy. The author, however, does not mention the important issue of the numerous "growthhormones" contained in cow's milk.

Although milk is originally a natural product, it is more harmful than you think. Milk produced by domesticated mammals has a totally different composition than human breast milk.

Iron deficiency in children with high milk consumption was an indication of problems with cow's milk. At that time cow's milk was still used as a supplementary food.

Comparison of minerals in human milk to cow's milk (mg/dl)

Prof. Dr. Ooski M.D., who was quite a prominent scientist, first explains why milk and dairy products have become our staple diet. He gives examples of the influence of the dairy industry and dairy lobby, and points out what kind of “big business” it is, and makes mention of the massively influenced policy agenda. He provides facts and figures. A more critical attitude towards milk came about slowly because diseases that were caused by milk consumption were eventually discovered:

Lactose intolerance
Milk allergies
Cardiovascular disease
Breast and prostate cancer
The consequences for babies who either don’t receive breast milk at all or aren’t breastfed long enough

Face of an infant with infant acne, right posture normal and with osteoporosis.© CC-by-sa 2.0, Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Foundation Diet and Health Switzerland

In the chapter “Beware of the Cow,” the author addresses a strong correlation made between diseases and milk consumption. But scientists, who advocate milk, doubt such correlations for understandable reasons. Since Prof. Dr. Oski M.D. is careful in his wording, he writes only about “very disturbing theories.”

Multiple sclerosis, leukemia, juvenile idiopathic arthritis

A strong correlation between milk and anti-social behavior and crime can be observed in adolescents. Such young people drink up to ten times more milk than other teens. The scientists suspect a type of protein poisoning or too little nuts (for the brain). Dr. Oski also briefly shows how milk destroys teeth when used as a sleep aid to put kids to bed.

Next, the author takes up specifics about milk advertising that even the industry-friendly Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had to call false, misleading and deceptive.

Some of these blatant lies were, “Everyone needs milk” and “Milk drinkers make better lovers.”

The FTC even had to intervene against their own clientele and today it is only “Milk has something for everyone” because bad ingredients are perfectly okay.

He further covers how the media lives off of this industry while being under constant observation (Argus).

Tension-Fatigue Syndrome

The dairy industry slowly begins to see that cow's milk is not the ideal product they’ve made it out to be. Plant-based milk imitations would be much healthier as they are found almost everywhere today.

Breast milk is very important for brain development and overall development of an infant. Therefore, mothers should not consume any dairy products during lactation. Early consumption of cow's milk increases the risk of diabetes.

Because you may experience serious problems later, you should abstain from all foods containing cow's milk products.

He explains the different types of milk with advantages and disadvantages including “filled milk” and milk imitations. He provides numerous examples of production methods and details on the composition of milk. He also goes into what is currently prevalent and shows ratios to previous drinking habits.

"Milk better not" - book review

Parts of the book content can be found at Google Books. An interesting comparison of the statements made by scientists that are advocates of the dairy industry and independent scientists, who come to very different conclusions because of the resulting illnesses and ailments, can be found at You have the choice...

About the author

The differences in approach are distinctly visible when you compare the various books that criticize milk. Some may advocate against milk for ethical reasons, in other words animal welfare or environmental concerns regarding the destruction of forests for the growing of corn, grain and soy for the cows. Or “Milking the Public,” which shows the close ties with the major policy-makers and the public health system. However, “cheap” “me-too-books” exist as well, which merely regurgitate familiar material and classify as immitation products.

Photo of the book title "GOT MILKED?".© CC-by-sa 2.0, Alissa Hamilton
Cover of "MILK The Deadly Poison" by Robert Cohen.© CC-by-sa 2.0, Robert Cohen
Book title from "Milking the Public", Political Scandals of the Dairy Lobby from LBJ to Jimmy Carter© CC-by-sa 2.0, Michael McMenamin, Walter McNamara
Book title of "Milk is not the same as milk!" by Judith Mudrak-Wasem.© CC-by-sa 2.0, Judith Mudrak-Wasem
Book title of "Milk Allergy", An Underestimated Danger by Dr. med. Renata Collier.© CC-by-sa 2.0, Dr. med. Renata Collier

2. Book Review

Dr. Frank A. Oski begins by describing how his daughter came home from school one time in tears because she had responded to the following three questions with "No", but “Yes” was considered correct for the third question:

  1. Do you think that a rabbit can make a mitten?
  2. Can a fish hop like a rabbit?
  3. Should all boys and girls drink milk?

It’s kind of obvious from these questions what industry has a hand in it and how subtly it affects people.

To refuse milk is practically considered un-American

2.1."Milk Is a Natural," p. 7

The advertisement suggests “Did you have your milk?,” “Milk is natural,” “Milk is the perfect food,” “Everyone needs milk” or even "Milk drinkers make better lovers!”. See also below.

Picture by Jan Vermeer (1632-1676) "Maid with milk jug" ca. 1660. Holland was in bloom.© Public Domain, 9AHrwZ3Av6Zhjg, Wikipedia
The oil painting The Milkmaid, ca. 1660 by Jan Vermeer (Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam) proves the existence of milk in rich families in the economic heyday of Holland in the 17th century.

One seventh of expenditures on food are for dairy products. This is the first rank by food category. Americans consume on average 187 kg (375 pounds) of milk products a year per person. 18 million cows in the United States provide “big business.”

Politically, one in seven congressmen in the U.S. receives money from the dairy industry to support their elections. Politicians then shape the laws, for example, high purchase prices and purchase guarantees.

Finally, more and more doctors question if cow’s milk really is that healthy.

Concerns about cow's milk

Mammals drink their mother's milk until they reach triple their birth weight. A human child reaches that after about a year.

Man is not sufficiently aware that the various mammals such as goats, elephants, cows, camels, yaks, wolves or walruses produce milk of a very different composition.

2.2. Paying Premium for a Quart of Intestinal Gas!, p. 11

Lactose is a disaccharide comprising D-galactose and D-glucose. Lactose is found only in milk. All mammals except seals, sea lions and walruses produce milk with lactose as a sugar component. The ratio of lactose: breast milk 7g /100g, cow's milk 4.8g /100g.

We cannot absorb lactose. Therefore, the body of an infant produces the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. If this enzyme is lacking or there is too little of it, then the lactose enters the colon where bacteria break it down. This produces a lot of gas.

In most people, the production of lactase decreases slowly after lactation and stops around the age of four years. Only some ethnic groups, such as most northern Europeans were given the ability to properly digest milk and dairy products to a certain extent later as well through a mutation. These people have also spread to other continents.

The majority of the world’s population is lactose intolerant and suffers from the consumption of milk and dairy products.

Lactose intolerance

Rough rates of lactose intolerance in different regions of the world.© CC-by-sa 3.0, Rainer Renz, Wikipedia

2.3. Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk, p. 21

Dr. Oski illustrates a case where a child suffers from diarrhea, gets pale and obviously has an iron deficiency anemia since the age of 6 months. Only a large medical center finds out after two years that the child has a rare absolute cow's milk protein intolerance. Only once cookies, custard and ready-made meals (convenience food) were taken off this child’s diet, the problems finally disappeared.

Milk allergy

In the US, 15 to 20% of children under the age of two suffer from iron deficiency, approximately half of which are due to intolerance of milk protein. Blood loss in the intestine is not concentrated to one location and is so small that it is not visible in the stool, a stool-examination would need to be done to detect it.

Milk also has too little iron, but that is not the primary problem. By consuming large quantities of milk the iron deficiency may disappear, but you will also suffer from the ill effects.

Iron deficiency

Dr. JW Gerrard and his team in Saskatoon, Canada, monitored 787 babies. The team observed each baby from birth. The mother was given no advice on milk or substitute products, so as not to affect her.

The team recorded from when the babies were given milk replacement including the composition of that milk substitute.

The criterion for milk allergy was the occurrence of (1) nasal congestion, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, bronchitis (chest infections) or (2) efflorescence (skin rash or changes to the skin in different areas) or (3) vomiting or diarrhea, if there was no other explanation for the symptoms.

The sooner cow's milk was used, the more milk allergy occurred
"Breastfeed is best fed"

In 1964 Dr. Baggett learned from Dr. William Deamer from San Francisco, that even the so-called growing pains (musculoskeletal pain) could be prevented by abstaining from milk and dairy products.

The link between "growthhormones" in cow’s milk and growing pains

2.4. Can Fat Be Fatal?, p. 33

The American Heart Association (AHA) highly recommends limiting the consumption of milk and dairy products at any age and with good reason. One million Americans die each year of cardiovascular disease. This is about half of the causes of death in the United States. 15 to 20 % die from it before the normal retirement age.

Most of these deaths could be avoided by elimination or strong reduction of milk and dairy products

Dr. Oski explains the processes that lead to atherosclerosis, step by step and shows the effects. Most affected are ultimately the brain, the kidneys, the legs and the heart. Best known are the effects of myocardial infarction (heart attack, AMI) and stroke, both originating from artherosclerosis.

Artherosclerosis can begin as early as two or three years of age

Prof. Dr. Frank A. OSKI M.D. provides more examples of how up to 29 % of the death rate from heart attack was preventable by dietary changes.

He believed that children with a parent or grandparent who suffered a heart attack before the age 50 should be tested already at the age of one year and observed.

Congenital disorders of lipid transport, which cause great susceptibility to coronary heart disease, exist.

Eating Less May Be The Key to Living Beyond 100 Years

2.5. Alternatives—Two Sides To The Story, p. 43

Alternatives to milk and dairy products are different depending on age. The author humorously states that in infants, it should be the left and right breast of a healthy mother.

From about the mid-1960s, milk substitutes have been worked on and now have the composition of breast milk. One should choose formulas that do not contain cow's milk ingredients.

Breast milk and the importance of antibodies

Especially in emerging markets and developing countries, food manufacturers try to convince mothers that bottle milk is better than breast milk while the opposite is true.

Collage: Left infant drinks at mother's breast, right infant drinks from bottle.© CC-by-sa 2.0, Collage Catalina Sparleanu, PhD, Foundation Diet Health Switzerland

In Chile for example, the percentage of breastfed children dropped from 95% to 6% within 20 years. And yet children able to receive breast milk for at least a year have better defenses against infections for the rest of their lives. As with the other mammals, the infant will have increased to about three times their birth weight at that point.

Baby Formula Abroad: Exporting Infant Malnutrition

The World Health Organization (WHO, World Health Organization) issued a ban on the advertising of breast milk substitutes and recommended breastfeeding with breast milk in 1981. In 1971 only 25 % of mothers breastfed their babies in the United States, but in the mid-1990s, the proportion rose to 58 %.

In 1971, 68 % of children in the United States received cow's milk products at the age of six months, but by 1981 it decreased at least to 17 %. This was achieved as a combined effort by the American Academy of Pediatrics (1), American Pediatric Society (2), Pediatric Research Society (3) and Pediatric Ambulatory Association (4). It went so far that even the National Dairy Council openly admitted that cow's milk is not suitable for children under six months. More figures are provided in Chapter 11.

Dr. Oski closes the chapter by saying:

The infant should never receive cow's milk in unmodified form. After the first year of life, the child requires no milk of any type. The child, like us adults, can thrive without cow's milk ever crossing his lips.(p. 52)

2.6. The Calcium Scare, p. 53

The dairy industry has successfully implanted the idea that we need a high amount of calcium for healthy and strong bones and teeth and that this is best covered with milk and dairy products. In fact, milk contains a lot of calcium, about as much as certain vegetables. But the body can use only a small portion of the milk calcium if any at all as opposed to vegetables.

A cup of boiled cabbage (brassica) or turnip or 120 g flour, supply more than 250 mg of calcium. Beans, broccoli, almonds or fish are other good sources of calcium.

In the book "NO MILK", Dr. Daniel A. Twogood writes on page 72:

Drinking milk for calcium makes about as much sense as smoking for weight control.

Factors that influence whether the calcium gets absorbed

2.7. Do You Really Want a Résumé of the Cow's Lunch?, p. 57

In this chapter, the author discusses the quality of milk. He mentioned a publication in the Consumers Union of January 1974 entitled "Milk: Why Is the Quality So Low?" This resulted from an intensive study conducted in five US states.

The taste of milk depends very much on what the cows ate before milking. In addition to that there is often a kind of cooked flavor due to careless processing with the different heating processes.

Heating with the temperature to high or duration too long causes this flavor. The taste can vary up to being soapy.

Milk always has an amount of undesirable bacteria

The hormone progesterone causes another problem. It comes from pregnant cows. Dr. Jerome Fisher Kearney (M.D., Sc.D. Med.) points out that today’s milk (at least in the U.S.) comes from up to 80 % of cows that are pregnant and writes the following,

About 80 percent of cows that are giving milk are pregnant and are throwing off hormones continuously. (p. 61)

Progesterone in milk can cause acne (acne vulgaris) in adults, which disappears after some time when milk is eliminated. Dr. Fisher realized that children with acne usually drank milk excessively. He showed that the acne disappeared or at least greatly improved after the children or teens stopped milk consumption on his advice. However, most dermatologists (dermatology) do not take this fact into consideration.

Acne vulgaris and seborrheic dermatitis

2.8. “Beware of the Cow,” p. 65

Dr. Oski first summarizes the important points:

Diarrhea and cramps, gastrointestinal bleeding, iron deficiency anemia, skin rashes, arteriosklerosis, and acne – these are disorders that have been linked to the drinking of whole cow's milk. So have recurrent ear infections and bronchitis. Can there be more? Yes. Leukemia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and simple dental decay have also been proposed as candidates.

The author emphasizes that the problems described so far are well supported and accepted and he only discusses disturbing theories below.

Beware of the Cow

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has a different geographical distribution, and there are various theories about that, but only the two scientists Dr. Bernard Agranoff and David Goldberg of the University of Michigan looked into nutritional reasons in 1974.

They studied 26'000 deaths due to MS in the United States. They found that the states of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee had only half the amount of incidence. They examined several factors such as education, financial situation, number of doctors, hospitals, and beds, but in the end they found a clear connection with milk consumption.

Multiple sclerosis and milk consumption
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and milk consumption
Anti-social behavior and milk consumption
The destruction of teeth and milk consumption

2.9. “Milk has Something for Everybody,” p. 73

Milk marketing suggests: Milk Drinkers Make Better Lovers or Everybody Needs Milk or Milk: Drink It for All It's Worth or There Is a New You Coming Every Day – Drink Milk and Milk – The Perfect Food.

Yet when in April 1974 a headline of The New York Times read, Federal Trade Commission Finds Milk Advertising Campaign Deceptive, the public doesn’t read it or doesn’t believe it, writes Dr. Oski.

Certain milk campaigns are false, misleading and deceptive

The mystique of whole, homogenized, pasteurized, bottled milk (the most germ-laden, allergenic, and expensive of available formulas) is enormously powerful. Families will resume giving it despite their own experience or the doctor's warning of allergy, respiratory disease, or anemia. Mammon always intrudes: the director of a local television program was not allowed to mention milk anemia on his program because the dairy companies were big advertisers. (p. 77)

2.10. Milk and Tension-Fatigue Syndrome, p. 79

The pediatrician Dr. William G. Crook, Pediatric Clinics of North America published an article in February 1975 entitled "Food Allergy – the Great Masquerader". In it, he explains that food allergies (and drugs or medication) besides causing the classic symptoms such as skin rashes, respiratory disease or gastrointestinal problems, can also cause personality changes, fatigue and attention disorders as they occurred in his study of 4'000 children. Dr. Crook referred mainly to milk, corn and sugar from sugar cane as potential causes.

Food allergies and hay fever, bed wetting, stuffy nose, insomnia, anxiety and hyperactivity

It takes one to three weeks until the symptoms disappear if it is a food allergy. Reintroduction of the particular food should also show the symptoms again. Only then can you determine with certainty that it is a food allergy. Dr. Crook and Dr. Oski recommend first examining as the first possible cause.

2.11. “What to Do instead?” p. 83

Dr. Oski quotes Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr. with the following words: A pair substantial mammary glands has the advantage over the two hemispheres of the most learned professor's brain in the art of compounding a nutritious fluid for infants.

But what should be done, asks Dr. Oski, when a woman cannot give her baby her own breast milk or does not want to? Or what can be given to children or adults instead of milk?

The author believes that baby formula that does not have cow's milk or milk of another species added to it today is a relatively good alternative though wet nurse’s milk (foster mother’s milk) would be the best alternative. But even baby formula, which contains cow’s milk proteins (particularly hypoallergenic baby formula), works well for the first twelve months.

The risk for an allergy is greatly diminished with these products. He mentions three brands: Similac, Enfamil and SMA.

Sensitive children can be given products in which the milk protein is already separated into amino acids. Good products also contain the necessary amount of iron as opposed to cow's milk. The amount of vitamins is also generally correct. Most child nutrition specialists see it as an error that infants are given skim milk because fat is very important in infancy.

Procedure for feeding infants

After that, the author addresses adult humans. He shows what Americans drink on average based on statistics from 1975. It was 56.7 gallons of water followed by 39.6 gallons of soft drinks, 27.8 gallons of coffee, 24.8 gallons of beer, 21.6 gallons of milk, 7.4 gallons of tea, 6.1 gallons of fruit juices, 2.0 gallons of spirits (liquor) and 1.7 gallons of wine.

He believed that more water should be consumed as well as fruit juices.

Grade A pasteurized milk, skim milk, powdered milk and condensed milk

Dr. Oski also discusses yogurt and points out that it should be made if possible from skim milk. By lactic fermentation, almost all lactose has been broken down into the simple sugars glucose and galactose by bacteria. Thus yogurt is edible by lactose intolerant people.

Redaction comment

However, Maria Rollinger, "Milk Better Not!" (Book Review) has a different view in her book because the present processing has nothing to do with traditional yogurt or kefir production. Dr. Oski probably does not know these production processes, but this was Ms. Rollinger’s profession.

Milk processing in Oberlech, Vorarlberg, Austria 1959. The company delivers milk to hotels.© Public Domain, Duncanogi, Wikipedia

The author also addresses an imitation milk containing mostly sodium caseinate (p. 89) and vegetable fat (vegetable oil), as well as dextrose or corn syrup, artificial flavors, and emulsifiers. Sodium caseinate can be digested differently than the calcium casein of milk, which clumps. Coffee creams are often milk imitations.

Imitation milk

A cheese producer (cheese maker) from Wyoming, Roy Brog, spent 20 years and numerous experiments to develop a drink made from whey, with the right taste and above all without milk fat, as well as 40 % less lactose, thereby producing fewer allergies than milk.

Mammalian milk comprises two types of protein: whey and curds. Whey contains lactoferrin (lactotransferrin), alpha-lactoglobulin, beta-lactoglobulin, albumin, lysozyme (muramidase), and immunoglobulins (antibodies, e.g. immunoglobulin G). With enzymatic or acidizing processes the curd portion can be removed. If one removes the casein from skim milk, whey remains. See whey protein.

Human milk consists 80 % of whey and 20 % of curds or casein. In cow's milk, it is exactly the opposite i.e. 20 % whey and 80 % casein!

Moreover, the proteins are also different. But with this whey drink, you can at least avoid numerous unwanted saturated fats.

IN 1971, about 68 % of children aged five to six months either drank cow's milk or evaporated cow's milk. By 1981, this figure fell to 17 %.

Dr. Oski’s final words read:

Cow's milk has no valid claim as the perfect food. As nutrition, it produces allergies in infants, diarrhea and cramps in older children and adults, and may be a factor in the development of heart attacks and strokes.

Perhaps when the public is educated as to the hazards of milk only calves will be left to drink the real thing. Only the calves should drink the real thing.

Research Appendix, p. 95

On the following pages, Prof. Dr. FRANK ARAM OSKI M.D. introduces 32 scientific papers he used, describing each on about one page. He used the PaperChase Records of the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston for this purpose and mentioned that MEDLINE is indexed and abstracted by the National Institutes of Health, US National Library of Medicine.

Redaction comment

Because of a merger that happened in 1996 with the New England Deaconess Hospital, the Beth Israel Hospital is now called the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).

Scientific Works

References and Reading Suggestions, p. 118


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