Milk, Silent Killer

A timely concurrence of news articles allows me to contrast how the media portrays scientific studies with their content.  On one side we have Vox reporting the evils of milk and the other we have the debunking of the same article on Suppversity.  I like Vox, but this was science coverage no better than your average media outlet.

First of all, it misrepresents the findings.  Higher mortality rates for men that consumed more milk was not a statistically significant result.  More importantly it doesn’t discuss any of the methodological problems with the study, foremost is that it is remembered consumption of milk and that it assumes that their dietary habits 20 years ago explains their cause of death.  Similarly, it doesn’t control for other factors like type of milk or calorie consumption (milk intake also positively correlated with energy intake).

What we have here is an ambiguous scientific study being interpreted through the foggy lens of the news media.  By the time normal people hear about this, it would probably be in their best interest to discount it.  Unfortunately, I am sure a few hypochondriacs will suddenly stop consuming dairy products.  Just remember, there are numerous studies purporting health benefits to milk too, even if bone health is not necessarily one of them.

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