By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Early Sexual Maturity

Early Sexual Maturity and Milk Hormones

I recently went through a box of photos, and found my own
fifth grade photograph which triggered a surprise. Most of
the boys in my class looked sharp in their Cub Scout
uniforms, and our crew cuts depicted the symbolic hairstyle
of the early 60's. Photos of my eleven-year-old friends
resemble today's young boys. Little has changed, and
generations of boys have been made of frogs and snails and
puppy dog tails. Today's little girls, though, are
shockingly different. Eleven-year old girls from my day were
flat-chested. There is no denying the photographic evidence.
A scan of today's pre-teen schoolyard cannot disguise the
number of large-busted sexually mature girls. A recent
series of phone calls to my friends confirmed that my own
experience was not unusual. Today's girls are very
different. In my own fifth grade photo, there was Gail with
pigtails, and Ellen with her irresistible smile, hands
neatly folded on her desk. One little girl after another
exhibited none of the budding signs of early sexual
development that baffle today's sociologists and

Today, little girls are made up of more than just sugar,
spice, and everything nice. These girls of the twenty-first
century are maturing earlier than last generation's
children, and something is very different about their
womanly physical attributes and behavior. Could there be a
food link to this mystery? 

In 1970, according to the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA), the dairy industry produced 2.2 billion
pounds of cheese. The population of the United States was
203 million, which translates to an average of 10.8 pounds
of cheese per person. By 1990, America's population had
grown to 248 million, and Americans were eating more cheese,
6 billion pounds worth. That's an average of 24 pounds per
person. In 1994, the average American consumed 27.7 pounds
of cheese. As we pass from one millennium into another,
America's per-capita cheese consumption has broken the 30-
pound per person level. America's rate of cheese consumption
is skyrocketing. Since ten pounds of milk are required to
produce just one pound of cheese, three hundred pounds of
milk are used to manufacture that thirty pounds of cheese.
The USDA publishes yearly food consumption data. In 1999,
the average American consumed a combined 5 ounces per day of
meat and chicken, and 29.2 ounces of milk and dairy
products. That's 666 pounds per year per American of dairy
products, making this group the largest component of
America's diet. Concentrated milk in the form of increased
cheese consumption means that concentrated hormones are
being consumed. 

Every sip of cow's milk contains 59 different bioactive
hormones, according to endocrinologist Clark Grosvenor in
the Journal of Endocrine Reviews in 1992. Milk has always
been a hormonal delivery system, providing nursing infants
with nature's perfect food for the young of each species.
Thousands of studies published in respected peer-reviewed
scientific journals report that lactoferrins,
immunoglobulins, and hormones in human breast milk provide
enormous benefit for nursing humans. In other words,
hormones in milk work to exert powerful effects. Each
species of mammal has a different formula. Cow's milk
contains hormones, and nursing on cow's milk will deliver
these hormones to the human body. 

As a little girl becomes a big girl, then a mature woman,
she will naturally produce in her lifetime the equivalent of
only one tablespoon of estrogen. Hormones work on a
nanomolecular lever, which means that it takes only a
billionth of a gram to produce a powerful biological effect.
Should little girls be encouraged to pop estrogen,
progesterone, and prolactin pills each day? If they drink
cow's milk, that is just what they are doing. If they eat
cheese and ice cream, they ingest concentrated forms of
these hormones. 

Is early sexual maturity a bad thing, healthwise? Dr.
Catherine Berkey, of Brigham Women's Hospital, Boston,
Massachusetts, examined data from 65,000 participants in the
Harvard Nurses' Health Study. Her findings were published in
the journal Cancer in 1999. Of the participants, 806
developed breast cancer before menopause and 1,485 developed
breast cancer after menopause. Dr. Berkey's comment:
"Earlier menarche and taller adult height were predictive of
elevated breast carcinoma risk. Our work provided evidence
that breast [cancer] risk is influenced by preadulthood
factors, and thus prevention efforts that begin in childhood
and adolescence may someday be useful." 

Is it possible to do a controlled scientific study testing
this theory? Such a study was actually performed on an
entire nation. There is one country where milk consumption
was unknown before 1946. In Japan, in every year since 1946,
20,000 persons from 6,100 households have been interviewed
and their diets carefully analyzed along with their weights
and heights and other factors such as cancer rates and age
of puberty (the last measured by the onset of menstruation
in young girls). The results of the study were published in
Preventive Medicine by Kagawa in 1978. 

Japan had been devastated by losing a war and was occupied
by American troops. Americanization included dietary
changes. Milk and dairy products were becoming a significant
part of the Japanese diet. According to this study, the per-
capita yearly dietary intake of dairy products in 1950 was
only 5.5 pounds. Twenty- five years later, the average
Japanese ate 117.4 pounds of milk and dairy products. 

In 1950, the average twelve-year old Japanese girl was 4'6"
tall and weighed 71 pounds. By 1975, the average Japanese
girl, after changing her diet to include milk and dairy
products containing 59 different bioactive hormones, had
grown an average of 4 1/2 inches and gained 19 pounds. In
1950, the average Japanese girl had her first menstrual
cycle at the age of 15.2 years. Twenty five years later,
after a daily intake of estrogen and progesterone from milk,
the average Japanese girl was ovulating at the age of 12.2
years, three years younger. Never before had such a dramatic
dietary change been seen in such a unique population study. 

Little girls do not take birth control pills (those hormones
are produced from horse urine). Little girls do not inject
steroids, and do not require estrogen replacement therapy.
Little girls are born with bodies that are genetically pre-
programmed to transform them into women. By drinking cow's
milk, little girls become big girls long before Mother
Nature intended.

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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