New developments in dairy foods, identifying health benefits from "functional foods" have a counterpart in claims of adverse health effects from milk components. A prime example is the present highly publicised claim of adverse effects of "A1 milk". Although there is some evidence that the consumption of beta-casein A1 may have an effect on the development of insulin dependent diabetes, other studies in this area have produced results that are inconsistent with such a claim. Some studies indicate that the removal of beta-casein A1 from the diet would have no influence on the incidence of insulin dependent diabetes. Epidemiological evidence for a relationship between the consumption of milk (and of beta-casein A1) with heart disease appears to have been a serendipitous correlation that occurred in the past perhaps due to a common underlying factor) but now no longer holds. Elimination of beta-casein A1 from the diet will have no effect on the mortality rate due to heart disease. Evidence to support claims that the consumption of the A1 variant of the milk protein beta-casein is a causative factor in heart disease and insulin dependent diabetes is therefore not sufficient to promote a change in consumer milk consumption away from dairy products containing beta-casein A1.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 62, Palmerston North, 111-114, 2002
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