Almond, oat, coconut, etc. There are so many options to choose from when selecting milk, which is great if you are lactose intolerant or have special dietary needs. For those of you who aren’t lactose intolerant, and can indulge in regular cow’s milk, here’s a reason for you to consider laying off the dairy: men who drink lots of milk may be more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who don’t, new research finds.
How milk may increase your odds of prostate cancer
How exactly does milk affect your odds of developing prostate cancer? When compared to men who consumed just 1 or 2 teaspoons of milk every day, men who drank about 1¾ cups of milk daily were about 27% more likely to develop prostate cancer, a new study showed.
What’s more, they had about a 60% increased risk for developing prostate cancer compared with men who steered clear of dairy altogether.
The new study wasn’t designed to say how, or even if, milk consumption ups the risk for prostate cancer, but researchers have their theories.
“Insulin-like growth factor-1 is known to be a risk factor for prostate and breast cancer, and it turns out that dairy consumption raises the level of this hormone,” says study author Dr. Gary Fraser. He is a professor of preventive medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and School of Public Health in California.
Prostate cancer needs hormones to grow, and there are other hormones found in cow’s milk, too, he adds. Fraser and colleagues previously published similar findings linking dairy to breast cancer.
“This issue needs a little more clarity before we conclude that there is a causal link, but there could be, and if you had a bad family history of prostate cancer, I would be inclined to go on a plant-based diet now,” Fraser suggests.
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Plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk include soy, oat, almond, cashew and other non-dairy milks. If you drink any of these tasty alternatives, you’re in luck. These non-dairy calcium sources did not increase prostate cancer risk in the new study.
For the study, the researchers asked more than 28,700 men about their diets. A handful of men were also asked to recall all the food and drinks that they consumed in the previous 24 hours.
None of the men had prostate cancer when the study began, but 1,254 men developed prostate cancer after about eight years of follow-up. Researchers created a statistical model to control for other factors that could affect the results, including family history of prostate cancer, race or age.
Milk consumption increased the risk for