A clear plastic cup filled with milk. Imprinted on the side of the cup is the slogan, “I (Heart) Milk.”
Does milk really help fight PMS? (Photo Credit: CC BY/Peter Dutton/Flickr)

Premenstrual syndrome is uncomfortable, and what has also proven uncomfortable for many people is an ad campaign from the California Milk Processor Board, reports Yahoo! News. The organization’s controversial milk PMS ad campaign claims that milk “helps men deal with PMS.”

Drown the PMS in milk

The California Milk Processor Board’s PMS-related ad campaign implies when women drink milk, it helps fight off the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Thus, men should buy it for them, the ad suggests. Billboards, a website (EverythingIDoIsWrong.org), radio ads and more depict “blame-casting wives and girlfriends” and the man who supposedly can save them with the magic of a gallon of milk.

One telling ad headline that accompanies the man with the milk, who has a knowing grin on his face, reads “We can both blame myself.”

Farce or fact-challenged misfire?

While many people are up in arms over the “sexist” or otherwise inaccurate milk PMS ads, others see them as satirizing both men and women equally.

Steve James, the executive director of the California Milk Processor Board, maintains his organization’s innocence:

“It was certainly not meant to be offensive,” he told the AP. “None of the humor is aimed at women. The humor is aimed at how clueless men are in dealing with emotional situations.”

The board has pointed to a 1999 study by from the Journal of American College of Nutrition that suggests there is real PMS-mollifying power in cow’s milk. However, as Dr. Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr of UC Davis states, the connection is dubious at best.

More milk controversy

This isn’t the first time claims in milk advertising have generated controversy. In the past, the milk industry has claimed that nutrients in milk are “important in weight loss,” even though this finding was based upon an inconclusive study. USA Today reports that in 2009, the Milk Board encouraged schools to serve sugary, flavored milk to encourage kids to drink it, despite the fact that there are clear links between sugar and childhood obesity.

A significant amount of existing research suggests that large amounts of cow’s milk in a young girl’s diet introduce substances that unnaturally affect growth through excessive amounts of estrogen, progesterone and prolactin. Futhermore, numerous consumer health advocacy groups have protested milk that contains rbST (Bovine somatotropin) because of research suggesting in can aggravate allergic reactions, cause abnormal intestinal growth and even become carcinogenic. Many grocery chains have stopped carrying milk that contains rbST.

Ask the Street Doctors: Do men experience PMS?


CBS Los Angeles: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/07/12/got-pms-new-california-milk-campaign-targets-men/

Everything I Do is Wrong: http://everythingidoiswrong.org/#/

Health 101: http://www.health101.org/art_Milk_and_Girls.htm

Journal of American College of Nutrition: http://www.gotmilk.com/pdf/calcium_jour_of_nutrition_s.pdf

Premenstrual syndrome Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_syndrome

TED case studies: http://www1.american.edu/ted/bst.htm

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2009-11-09-choc-milk_N.htm

Yahoo! News: http://yhoo.it/nMFg5n

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