Physicians Urge Elizabeth Hurley to Disavow False Dairy Diet Claims
Actress Should Not Lend Her Famous Physique to Misleading ‘Got Milk?’ Advertising Campaign
WASHINGTON—In a letter sent today to Elizabeth Hurley, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) called on the British actress and model to stop participating in an advertising campaign that falsely implies that consuming dairy products facilitates weight loss.
In a “Got Milk?” ad from the Milk Processors Education Program, Hurley sports a milk moustache while posing in a bikini on a makeshift beach. The ad text says that nutrients in milk “make for one irresistible body”—a claim that is not supported by scientific evidence, according to PCRM doctors and dietitians.
“If Ms. Hurley drinks as much milk as the dairy industry advises, she may soon have trouble fitting into her bikini,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., a PCRM staff dietitian. “The scientific evidence against the ‘dairy diet’ theory is overwhelming. Not only does dairy consumption not lead to weight loss, but dairy has been linked to health problems ranging from lactose intolerance to increased risk of some types of cancer.”
Scientific studies clearly show that adding dairy products to one’s diet does not result in weight loss. If anything, consuming milk is more likely to result in weight gain. The only studies showing weight loss with dairy were conducted by a single experimenter paid by the dairy industry.
Two recent studies, one at the University of Vermont and the other at Purdue University, found no significant difference in weight loss between people consuming a high-dairy diet and those consuming a low-dairy diet. In the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, a study of dairy consumption among 12,000 children concluded that the more milk children drank, the more weight they gained. The study’s lead author called the dairy industry’s claims “misleading.”
Most recently, a study in the March issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who increased their intake of total dairy actually gained more weight over a 12-year period; researchers also found that low-fat dairy intake had no association with significant weight change.
Last year, PCRM filed two lawsuits to stop the multimillion-dollar advertising campaign claiming that milk facilitates weight loss. PCRM has also asked the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration to put an end to such claims.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.