Interesting read at Vox. Excerpts below, but go there and read the whole thing.
Several years ago, Alissa Hamilton investigated America's love affair with orange juice in her book Squeezed. She uncovered all sorts of misconceptions about the breakfast staple's virtuousness (most of the health claims about orange juice and vitamin C are inflated) and its origins (most OJ actually comes from Brazil, not Florida).
Now Hamilton has trained her sight on another much-loved beverage: milk. In Got Milked? she argues that milk is not the healthy bone-builder governments and the dairy industry have led us to believe.
Milk is the only food that makes up an entire food group. If you look at it logically, it doesn’t deserve that special status any more than pumpkin seeds deserve that just because they’re high in magnesium — which is an essential nutrient Americans are low in.
Even the dairy industry recognizes that milk is not essential to health. They can’t counter that fact. Their comeback is that milk and milk products are the most convenient form of calcium. But that argument doesn’t hold anymore.
Why are we so gullible about unfounded health claims?
It’s not all that surprising, because that’s all we’ve heard. We’ve only heard from the dairy industry and government agencies that are built to support agricultural commodities like dairy. So you have the USDA creating the dietary guidelines — but it’s also there to support agriculture. There’s a conflict there.
We accept health messages from the dairy industry. But they’re a food business like any other, like Coca-Cola. In general, we don’t think Coke is out to better the world. We know they’re a company and the bottom line is what they’re after. But we don’t think about that when we read dairy industry advertising.