Drinking milk has always been associated with good health and parents world over, have urged children to drink milk to grow up healthy. However, a recent study in New Zealand has raised doubts about this well established fact(or is it still?). A study involving 20 countries published in the New Zealand Medical Journal found a significant link between drinking milk containing the A-1 beta case in protein and the national rate of heart disease and insulin dependent diabetes. Researchers found that heart disease was more prevalent in countries whose cows produced milk, dominantly containing the A-1 protein, as compared to those countries where milk produced contained the alternative A-2 protein. They also found significant correlation between the A-1 milk consumption and childhood diabetes that requires treatment with insulin.
Researchers indicated that Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, where cow's milk has virtually no A-1 protein, had the third lowest rate of heart disease, behind Japan (which drinks little milk) and France, where the cows also have less A-1. However, they were quick to add that their two-year study did not prove that A-1 protein, which is dominant in the milk New Zealanders drink every day, actually caused heart disease or diabetes, but showed further research was needed. Bob Boyd, New Zealand' Food Safety Authority's (NZFSA's) Principal Public Health Advisor said that though the study was an important contribution to further research, people concerned about heart disease would do better to get more exercise, quit smoking and cut down saturated fats in their diet than give up milk!