Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: Milk Does a Body Bad
Actor and WWE wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will ask millions of football fans “got milk?” in a commercial airing during next month’s Super Bowl. But PCRM’s nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., has a question for the milk marketers behind the ad: “Got truth”? It is unlikely that The Rock knows that milk can actually harm children, so she wrote to him. Here’s the letter she sent to The Rock letting him know about the dairy industry’s junk science and asking him to let his fans know that milk does a body bad.
Jan. 23, 2013
Dear Mr. Johnson:
You probably have no way of knowing this, but milk promotions can be surprisingly harmful for children. First of all, scientific studies have made it clear that dairy products do not actually promote bone health. Moreover, dairy products are the leading contributor of saturated (“bad”) fat—which contributes to childhood obesity and increases the risk of a variety of problems. The latest Super Bowl commercial wrongly promotes the Milk Processor Education Program’s message that children need milk.
You are not the only celebrity who has been whitewashed. The industry group which represents America's milk processors and runs the milk mustache “got milk?” campaign has a list of celebrities that reads like the IMDb database: everyone from Taylor Swift to Hugh Jackman.
But we’ve been fighting these campaigns—and winning. In 2001, A U.S. Department of Agriculture panel backed PCRM’s complaint that the dairy product industry’s “milk mustache” and “got milk?” campaigns have no scientific basis for suggesting that milk consumption improves sports performance. The panel also recommended that ads promoting whole milk should indicate it increases the risk of prostate cancer and heart disease.
Then in 2005, PCRM petitioned the FTC to put a stop to a false and misleading multimillion-dollar dairy product industry campaign that suggested milk causes weight loss. In response, the national dairy product advertising campaigns overseen by the USDA stopped claiming that dairy products cause weight loss. The same year, a review in Pediatrics showed there is little scientific evidence to support the claim milk drinking helps children grow strong bones.
Last year, a Harvard University report in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine showed that active children who consumed the largest quantities of milk had more bone fractures than those who consumed less. In other words, milk doesn’t actually build strong bones. PCRM petitioned the USDA to remove milk as a required food from the school lunch program, because it does not promote bone health and is the biggest source of saturated fat in the American diet.
Children (and their parents) who follow your other movies and TV shows respect and even idolize you. Don’t let them down. Now that you know the rundown on milk, I urge you to publicly give milk two thumbs down.
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.
Director of Nutrition Education
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine