Lawsuits Challenge Dairy Weight Loss Claims
Vegetarian Group Says Dairy Industry Ads Touting Weigh Loss Are Misleading
WebMD News Archive
Charges of False Advertising continued...
Approximately 20 studies have looked at the effect of increasing dairy
intake on body weight. Two published studies found that obese adults consuming
three servings of dairy products per day -- as part of a calorie-reduced diet
-- lost significantly more weight than those who consumed no dairy.
But the PCRM says 14 other studies found that dairy consumption had
virtually no effect on body weight. According to the PCRM, the overwhelming
evidence contradicts industry claims that milk aids weight loss.
The group filed a complaint about the ads with the Federal Trade Commission
in April, but the agency has yet to take action.
"We recognize the dairy industry has a right to advertise their
products. They should do so without making false health claims," says Mindy
Kursban, executive director and general counsel for the PCRM.
A second lawsuit brought by 48-year-old Catherine Holmes and backed by the
PCRM seeks $236 to pay back money Holmes says she spent on dairy products
hoping to lose weight.
"Not only did I not lose weight, I gained weight. Not a lot, a few
pounds. This is not a tragedy, I'll lose the weight," Holmes said at a news
conference. "I just want the truth to come out."
New federal dietary guidelines published
in January increased the recommended dairy intake from two servings per day to
three. But the recommendation was based on health benefits of calcium and other
nutrients and not on weight loss.
"At this time there is insufficient evidence on which to base a more
definitive statement regarding the intake of milk products and management of
body weight," the report states.
Christine Gerbstadt, MD, a dietitian and anesthesiologist at Altoona
Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania, says that she strongly recommends
three servings of dairy products per day for children until they reach puberty
and for many adults. But the recommendation has nothing to do with promoting
"That is a tough leap of faith. I would go with the 14 studies that show
no strong effect," says Gerbstadt, a spokeswoman for the National Dietetic