Alisa Fleming, Dairy Free Made Easy – In a letter made public on Friday the Federal Trade Commission asserted that U.S. dairy producers must discontinue all advertising and marketing activities, which involve weight loss claims. As reported by Reuters, the milk-weight loss connection is not supported by enough scientific evidence. More conclusive research must be completed before such dairy campaigns may resume.
The Physicians for Responsible Medicine filed a petition with the FTC back in April 2005 due to the misleading nature of the initial 3-A-Day campaign. In mid-2006, milk processors pushed further, eliciting high profile celebrities for their Great American Weigh Loss Challenge and Body by Milk promotion, the latter targeted specifically at teens. As action is taken on the FTC demands, we expect to see these elaborately funded operations come to a close.
Though it was a long fought battle, many predicted that the PCRM would emerge victorious. The initial study upon which these multi-million dollar campaigns were based was relatively small, and funded in part by the National Dairy Council. It consisted of little more than 30 people, only 11 of which were in the high dairy group. The participants were also instructed to follow a reduced calorie diet, which many feel was the actually key to their weight loss success.
As cited here on Go Dairy Free, numerous other research programs have actually shown an inverse relationship, linking milk and dairy consumption to weight gain. In fact, an expansive Harvard Medical School study following 12,829 United States children, showed that those who consumed more than three servings of milk per day were approximately 35% more likely to become overweight than the children who drank just 1 or 2 glasses of milk per day.
The PCRM may have won this battle, but we don’t expect the Dairy Council to wave the white flag just yet. Though they have agreed to call it quits with the weight loss claims, they are attempting to stay in the game by “shifting the message.” Even with this large blow to their credibility, milk producers may make a plea for consumer attention by changing their taglines from “weight loss” to “weight maintenance.”