Filed Under: Big Fat Lies Food Police

Got Hysteria? PCRM Declares Milk a Junk Food

The “Physicians Committee” for “Responsible Medicine” (PCRM) is neither a physicians group, nor responsible, nor interested in medicine. (They do seem to be a committee.) So while PCRM claims to be a group of good-hearted doctors concerned about nutrition, it’s actually an animal rights front group whose M.O. is to scare everyone toward vegetarianism. Like a sci-fi movie where disguised aliens accidentally drop a clue as to their identities, PCRM also occasionally hints at its radicalism. The most recent example comes in a fearmongering op-ed about Halloween written by PCRM nutritionist Kathryn Strong. See if you can spot her “tell”: 

As a dietitian, I suggest that parents make Halloween candy rules to avoid sugar highs and stomach aches. But even more important, I encourage all Americans to support comprehensive child nutrition reform to improve the National School Lunch Program and other child nutrition programs. Congress will soon consider legislation to reauthorize the school lunch program, and this vote comes not a moment too soon.

Nearly 40 percent of calories consumed by children are from junk food, according to a new study analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Half of these calories come from just six foods: pizza, ice cream, whole milk, cookies and cake, soda, and sugary fruit drinks.

Wait—milk? Milk is a "junk food"?

There has been substantial debate among serious nutritionists as to the relative benefits of whole milk. But even the mega-nannies at the Center for Science in the Public Interest stop short of calling it a junk food. (They do suggest that schools switch from whole milk to 1%.) The only other organization of any size condemning milk is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), whose parent group (the PETA Foundation) was led by PCRM founding president Neal Barnard until a few years ago. For a good chuckle, just try comparing PCRM and PETA's employee rosters and money trails.

PCRM has a long history of milking anti-dairy hysteria (pun very much intended). In 1992, the American Medical Association blasted PCRM for its anti-milk hissy fits, accusing the group of starting a “milk panic.” PCRM founder Neal Barnard has called cheese “dairy crack…the purest form of the [milk] drug.” PCRM has also tried to sue milk companies in Washington, DC, demanding (are you sitting down?) “monetary awards for the pain and suffering” that lactose intolerant Americans have experienced from consuming milk.

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture dismisses PCRM's brain-curdling propaganda, and recommends three cups of milk per day. Of course, the truth is that milk—whole or otherwise—is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and calcium. No serious medical group would suggest otherwise, unless they were more concerned with “saving” cows than promoting human health. Come to think of it, that’s probably PCRM's real beef in the first place. 

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