A new study suggests consistently drinking even moderate amounts of dairy milk may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer among women.
Researchers at Loma Linda University Health studied the dairy intake of 53,000 American women and found higher intakes of dairy milk were associated with a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
The study shows an association between milk consumption and breast cancer but not causation.
Consuming as little as a third of a cup of dairy milk was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer by 30 percent.
For women who drink two to three cups per day, the study reported the associated risk rose to more than 70 percent.
There seems to be no significant difference in comparing full fat to non-fat milk, according to the study.
However, the study does not take into account other risk factors for breast cancer, including environment, ethnicity, family history and genetic testing. The study was also done via questionnaire and analysis through a database rather than through independent testing.
Additionally, the national rate of breast cancer in the U.S. is 13 percent, or about one in eight women. The rate of breast cancer incidence in the study was lower than the national average.
The average age of participants in this study was 57 years old. Generally, more women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their 40s and 50s, therefore those women had a higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the World Cancer Research Fund.
The results are part of a long-term health study exploring the links between lifestyle, diet and disease.
Current HHS and USDA guidelines recommend three cups of milk per day.