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From Sydney, Australia:

Recent reports are showing a link between the onset of diabetes and overconsumption of protein (in meat) and cow's milk. As a diabetic (diagnosed at 6, 21 now) how valid are these claims, and should I steer clear of dairy and red meat?


As someone who already has Type 1 Diabetes, you need have no particular apprehension about eating normal amounts of meat or cow's milk unless you already have significant kidney damage or some unrelated problem like lactose intolerance.

The cow's milk story nonetheless is an interesting one on which there is still a lot of argument. It started because twin studies showed that there are environmental as well as genetic factors that influence the onset of Type 1 Diabetes. One of these was thought to cow's milk because there seemed to be a geographical relationship between cow's milk consumption and the frequency of Type 1 Diabetes in the population. A year or so ago there were a number of reports that disputed this; but more recently it has been shown that there may be a relationship between Type 1 diabetes and the consumption of milk from strains of cows, usually some Friesan varieties, that have a protein called A1 beta casein in their milk. This particular protein seems to be partly resistant to complete digestion in the human intestine leaving a peptide called beta-caso-morphine which has immunomodulatory properties at least in experimental animals. The issue is being extensively studied by the dairy industry; but the final answer is still not established.


Original posting 17 Aug 97


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