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No Dairy = No Phlegm?

According to one common nutrition myth often parroted by professional singers, milk consumption results in an excess production of mucus.

However, a numbers of studies across the world (many done by independent researchers not associated with dairy councils) have shown there is no truth behind that statement.

The studies, including a major one in 1990 published in the American Review of Respiratory Disorders Journal, concluded that it wasn’t dairy itself that increased the production of phlegm, but rather that the fat in whole dairy products thickens already existing mucus.

That same year, the South Australian journal Appetite published the results of a double-blind study in which subjects drank either milk or a soy-based drink, which shed more light on this common belief.

Although subjects reported feeling thicker mucus after drinking both liquids, none of them had actually produced more phlegm. Rather, what they were describing was the creamy texture in both drinks that can linger in the palate for a few moments.

I can attest from personal experience that dairy alternatives always have that effect on me.

Some people go as far as saying that going dairy-free is a way to avoid asthma. Again, clinical studies have shown respiratory airways are not negatively affected by dairy consumption.

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5 Comments

  1. Anden76 said on June 14th, 2007

    I like your site. Can we exchange link ?

  2. Anonymous said on March 14th, 2009

    You can point to all the studies you want… I get excessive phlegm after drinking milk, eating yogurt, or eating a lot of cheese. This doesn’t happen under any other circumstances. And I know a lot of people that concur. I trust this anecdotal experience more than any abstract studies that could have been funded with agribusiness dollars.

  3. Andy Bellatti said on March 14th, 2009

    Except that there are plenty of studies about this topic that have not been funded by agrobusiness dollars.

    It’s quite presumptuous to cast off “all studies” — especially when it appears you haven’t read a single one.

    Additionally, if you re-read the post more carefully, you will see the conclusion of all studies is that lactose thickens PRE-EXISTING mucus. If you have a lot of mucus buildup, it makes sense that after consuming a lot of lactose you would feel it more.

  4. Andy Bellatti said on March 14th, 2009

    Except that there are plenty of studies about this topic that have not been funded by agrobusiness dollars.

    It’s quite presumptuous to cast off “all studies” — especially when it appears you haven’t read a single one.

    Additionally, if you re-read the post more carefully, you will see the conclusion of all studies is that lactose thickens PRE-EXISTING mucus. If you have a lot of mucus buildup, it makes sense that after consuming a lot of lactose you would feel it more.

  5. Andy Bellatti said on March 14th, 2009

    Except that there are plenty of studies about this topic that have not been funded by agrobusiness dollars.

    It’s quite presumptuous to cast off “all studies” — especially when it appears you haven’t read a single one.

    Additionally, if you re-read the post more carefully, you will see the conclusion of all studies is that lactose thickens PRE-EXISTING mucus. If you have a lot of mucus buildup, it makes sense that after consuming a lot of lactose you would feel it more.

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