Jump to content

Truth or Myth: dairy increases mucus?

Posted
by RNsRWe RNsRWe, ASN, RN (Member)

I heard all my life that if you have a cold, you should avoid dairy products because they increase mucus production. That if you're already 'phlegmmy' you shouldn't have any dairy.

And then an acquaintance tells me that that's all horse-poo, that the latest research indicates all that is either a myth or old wives' tale, or whatever. I only listened because he's quite the track and field athlete, and seems he'd know if dairy did increase the secretions; he swears by all dairy products and doesn't avoid them when sick and never had an issue with extra mucus production.

Anyone know for sure, not just what they believe because they were told this? What's a reliable source to find out if it's FACT, or CR*P? Would love to know!

Chaya, ASN, RN

Specializes in Rehab, Med Surg, Home Care. Has 15 years experience.

Dunno about any official research but in Middle School DD's chorus director used to instruct the kids not to have milk before a concert.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

My mother always told me this. Recently one of our doctors told me the same. Not sure if it's true.

I know that milk products taste yucky when I have a cold. I think it makes mucous, that's my personal opinion.

This is a myth that refuses to die. The myth can be dated back to at least the middle ages. Many double blind studies have been perfomed and all have indicated that milk does not cause increased mucus production.

czyja, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Progressive Care.

Anyone know for sure, not just what they believe because they were told this? What's a reliable source to find out if it's FACT, or CR*P? Would love to know!

This one is a CR*P.

Wuthrich et al report in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that "milk consumption does not lead to mucus production of occurrrence of asthma."

http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/full/24/suppl_6/547S

There may be many reason why a person might wish to avoid milk - high calories, lactose intolerance. But mucus production it bunk. Sadly this myth continues to be propagated by many alternative medicine practitioners.

Becca608

Specializes in med-surg.

Seems to me that we were taught last year that dairy products do not cause phlegm to form, but can make present phlegm thicken. Here is a supporting link:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/phlegm/AN01455

Others advise against this practice:

http://www.itmonline.org/arts/dairy.htm

This is a chicken-egg argument with dime thrown in (food allergies). I think it will be debated for a long time. Personal experience has taught me that dairy does not cause phlegm, but it does make it worse. And sour cream makes it the absolute worst. If I have no phlegm from asthma or GERD, dairy does not bother me.

Just my :twocents:

perfectbluebuildings, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I agree with the previous poster... it doesn't increase mucous production but does make mucous thicker. I have experienced this myself when I have a cold, as well as, with many patients at work with RSV who do better in the worst stages of it taking Pedialyte instead of their formula.

So, although it does NOT increase mucus production, the warning away from the dairy products might be warranted in that it thickens secretions. Which, to the average person, is equivalent (we know it's not the same, but you get the layman's general idea).

If someone's already congested and snotty, chances are they aren't going to want to have thicker secretions (even if there's not more of it). I'd like to look into it further, and will read the link about the thickening "00000" posted, but can't just this minute.

If anyone else has anything factual to add, it'd be appreciated. I know the personal anecdotes, would really just like to have that definitive, evidence-based stuff to throw out at my patients when needed. Thanks!

czyja, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Progressive Care.

So, although it does NOT increase mucus production, the warning away from the dairy products might be warranted in that it thickens secretions...

If anyone else has anything factual to add, it'd be appreciated...would really just like to have that definitive, evidence-based stuff to throw out at my patients when needed. Thanks!

The paper I cited above suggests that mucus is not increased nor is it thickened. They did, however, find that dairy can make mucus whiter in color. Because the mucus is more visible pt's think there is more and/or thicker. This makes sense.

I hate to move off topic (well not really:nuke:) but the misinformation spread by some (and I repeat some, not all) alternative practitioners contravenes logic. Food is largely broken down to a molecular level by digestion. So if the fats, proteins, and sugars contained in milk are broken down how could they affect the body differently than a steak? To my knowledge the only thing "different" about milk is that it has lactose.

Another one I come across a lot her in Cali is the from the colonic irrigation advocates. They suggest that meat somehow gets "stuck" in the colon, remaining there for "years." Colonoscopy has long shown this to be false, yet the myth persists. And folks spend a lot of money lavaging their gut - silly IMHO. There are many sound reasons for not eating meat - having it stick in your colon is not one of them.

I looked this one up. I googled "milk vs mucus, milk and mucus".

Milk is thicker than water thereby giving mucus a thicker sensation but does not make mucus thicker.

the paper i cited above suggests that mucus is not increased nor is it thickened. they did, however, find that dairy can make mucus whiter in color. because the mucus is more visible pt's think there is more and/or thicker. this makes sense.

i hate to move off topic (well not really:nuke:) but the misinformation spread by some (and i repeat some, not all) alternative practitioners contravenes logic. food is largely broken down to a molecular level by digestion. so if the fats, proteins, and sugars contained in milk are broken down how could they affect the body differently than a steak? to my knowledge the only thing "different" about milk is that it has lactose.

another one i come across a lot her in cali is the from the colonic irrigation advocates. they suggest that meat somehow gets "stuck" in the colon, remaining there for "years." colonoscopy has long shown this to be false, yet the myth persists. and folks spend a lot of money lavaging their gut - silly imho. there are many sound reasons for not eating meat - having it stick in your colon is not one of them.

thank you - i vote "myth" too.

and i also think colonics are useless . . . .

steph

czyja, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Progressive Care.

And I also think colonics are useless . . . .

steph

Aha! A kindred soul on the net...

Aha! A kindred soul on the net...

I'm pretty anti-superstitions/myths/old wives' tales . . . . . call me skeptical.

:coollook:

steph

i really don't know but i knew a couple who had a cystic fibrosic child and they would not give her milk on doctors orders

but doctors pass on urban legend too

man presented with sprained wrist doc advised cold packs

'are you sure' questioned the man, 'my grandmother always used heat'

the doctor got angry and said' well, my grandmother always used ice'

czyja, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Progressive Care.

but doctors pass on urban legend too

man presented with sprained wrist doc advised cold packs

'are you sure' questioned the man, 'my grandmother always used heat'

the doctor got angry and said' well, my grandmother always used ice'

LOL

Indeed. I think there are some out there that still tell their pts that vitamin C prevents colds.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 28 years experience.

I don't think it's a myth for everyone. Dairy causes allergic reactions in some people and mucous is increased. I've known a few people who've had chronic stuffy noses and had their sinuses clear up when they went on a vegan diet. I think that as some of us are lactose intolerant and some aren't, some of us get mucousy with dairy and some of us don't.

That dairy is an allergen shouldn't come as a shock. It comes from the breast of a cow to feed baby cows. Humans weren't meant to eat it, although the dairy industry with their billion dollar advertising and the government have brainwashed into thinking it's a "food group" necessary for human life.:chair::sofahider:smiley_ab

santhony44, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in FNP, Peds, Epilepsy, Mgt., Occ. Ed.

The "milk myth" I always heard growing up was that you couldn't drink milk with fish. I haven't heard it in years and have no idea where it came from. I don't know what milk and fish together were supposed to have done to you.

I don't think it's a myth for everyone. Dairy causes allergic reactions in some people and mucous is increased. I've known a few people who've had chronic stuffy noses and had their sinuses clear up when they went on a vegan diet. I think that as some of us are lactose intolerant and some aren't, some of us get mucousy with dairy and some of us don't.

That dairy is an allergen shouldn't come as a shock. It comes from the breast of a cow to feed baby cows. Humans weren't meant to eat it, although the dairy industry with their billion dollar advertising and the government have brainwashed into thinking it's a "food group" necessary for human life.:chair::sofahider:smiley_ab

Tweety . . . . ice cold milk (1 %) and a fistful of warm, homemade Tollhouse cookies. . . . . how can you diss that?? :D:D

My daughter has gone vegan - took her awhile but she loves soy milk now although not all brands.

We drink about 1 1/2 gallons of milk a day here (dh and two sons and me occasionally).

As to the mucus . . . . I still hold to the "myth" idea.

steph

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.