March 12, 2008

nothing like milk?

a new ad series in mexico vividly exclaims: "children who don't drink milk are more fragile!"

holy crap! if you care about your child, you'd better run to the store and get many, many litres of milk! i know the ad is an exaggeration (and it's pretty funny to watch), but is the message really true? is there really "nada como la leche"?

approximately 2/3 of the world's population doesn't drink milk and guess what? they are not crumbling into dusty heaps of broken, weak bones. in fact, osteoporosis isn't as big a problem in asia as it is in north america and they don't even have milk on their recommended daily food guide. gasp! according to the harvard school of public health's info page on calcium and milk:

"For individuals who are unable to digest - or who dislike - dairy products and for those who simply prefer not to consume large amounts of such foods, other options are available. Calcium can also be found in dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale and collard greens, and in dried beans and legumes."

nothing like collards? there's no money in that! the diary industry has decided that mexicans aren't drinking "enough" milk, so the push is on. there's at least one problem with this (from the harvard site):

"Many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Certain groups are much more likely to have lactose intolerance. For example, 90 percent of Asians, 70 percent of blacks and Native Americans, and 50 percent of Hispanics are lactose-intolerant, compared to only about 15 percent of people of Northern European descent."

maybe your children will blow up and explode into pieces after drinking a lot of milk:

okay, by now you know what's going to happen, but it's still gasp and laugh inducing:

i'll give the last word to walter willett, chair of the department of nutrition, at a workshop on milk, hormones, and human health at the harvard club of boston:

"We know that calcium is an essential nutrient, and we have to get it someplace. But it doesn't have to be dairy. We know that kids do grow up in other parts of the world without consuming dairy products, and they have healthy bones.''

i'm just sayin'.


seahorse said...

Nicely researched. I think the danger here is putting too much emphasis on one food source, or food group, which is not what a good dietitian or nutritionist will tell you. Eating a balanced diet, from all five food groups....yadeyadeya, we've all heard it before but it is basically true. You can't 'superfood' milk, or eggs for that matter. Over in the UK a recent resurrection of ads for eggs featuring Tony Hancock was banned as the authorities here recognised that focusing on one food group as in "Go to work on an egg" was not a good thing. The ads themselves were a triumph in terms of breaking every rule in advertising. Grumpy, witty, quirky and fundamentally flawed. Genius. But in these enlightened times, not necessarily sound advice. Link below

donimo said...

do you mean that neither happiness nor vitality is egg-shaped??? i checked out the ads and i see how suggesting that a kid eat four eggs before school might be a problem! funny ads though, they must have been a hit.

the dairy industry has been prevented from using slogans like "milk does a body good" and i think they have moved away from it being promoted as a "superfood"; however, they do still promote it as an essential food, and that's where i see the problem. dairy products aren't part of any essential food group in many countries and people and their bones are doing fine. the dairy lobby has worked very hard to make people--including pediatricians in a country where at least 1/2 of its population can't even digest milk--think that dairy products are the only way to ensure children and adults get adequate calcium. they make milk the "superior" calcium food and that just isn't true.

michelle said...

Great post! The videos are too much. After the initial shock, I laughed and shook my head. They are very startling but also very funny. I really liked the information you included in this post.

I looked up the leche board in Mexico and they are really pushing to up the milk intake there so that it is closer to the American levels (which are very high). With that many people lactose intolerant in Mexico, it's really not a good scenario. Capitalism and health don't really go hand in hand, do they?

Katrin said...

Ok that was shocking with sound effects (why I generally watch things BEFORE I turn the volume on! This time I already had the volume on. Not a good move)

Crazy, crazy, crazy

donimo said...

I don't know what they broke for the sound effects on these videos, but it really does add to the overall shock factor. They pack a lot into the few seconds that the fragile child has on screen!