Hip Hop Mogul Russell Simmons Wants Milk to Be Banned in NYC

by , 07/01/12
filed under: Food,Health

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Mayor Bloomberg isn’t the only mogul who wants to ban certain kinds of drinks in NYC – now hip hop business baron Russell Simmons is proposing that the mayor’s plan to ban sugary drinks like soda from New York eateries include milk as well. Simmons recently wrote to Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, on PETA’s behalf, recommending that cow’s milk also be removed from restaurants and delis, citing its high cholesterol, sugar and fat content.

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“As a native New Yorker, I applaud your initiative to combat obesity in our city by proposing a 16-ounce size limit on sugary drinks,” writes Simmons in the letter. “Limiting soda is a good step, but to achieve real results, people need to eliminate dairy products, too. Drinking milk and other dairy products can lead to weight gain and other health problems.”

He went on to say, “A 2005 nationwide study led by a Harvard Medical School researcher showed that children who drank more than three 8-ounce servings of cow’s milk per day were 35 percent more likely to become overweight than kids who drank only one or two servings (or a maximum of 16 ounces) per day.”

As a vegan (read our interview with him about vegan fashion and food here), Simmons does not drink milk himself or eat any animal products. His letter also calls to attention the fact that while there is public awareness that soda and other sugary drinks are “bad” for us, milk is oftentimes still seen as a “good” or healthful beverage that builds bone and provides calcium. To that point, Simmons writes, “The study also found that replacing soda with cow’s milk, which is loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol, provided no weight-loss benefit — none,” which may come as a surprise to many of us.

While it seems unlikely that the city will consider banning the beverage that they’ve been happily handing out to schoolkids for decades, perhaps Simmons’ viewpoint will be an eyeopener about the lesser publicized health effects of drinking large amounts of cow’s milk.

Via OneGreen Planet via Peta

Photos remixed from the work of David Shankbone via Wikipedia



  1. dmfarley July 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm
    Speaking from the Netherlands where milk is still their "soda" it's so common for all meals, AND they're quite a bit thinner and healthier than most Americans... I call buuuuuuuuuuullshit.
  2. Maria Songcuya July 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm
    i drink milk (low-fat, lactose-free) because of a congenital heart problem. my doctor said that 8-16 oz of milk a day will help maintain the strength of my heart. so, whoever you are Russel Simmons, don't try to kill me.
  3. redpowervan July 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm
    I agree with elle2005 Conveniently Russell leaves out that milk provides complete protein, and vitamin D in good amounts. As to its fat content, I've seen many studies that say calories from fat and protein help us feel more satiated and longer than those from sugar\carbs. Dietary guidelines tell us that it's ok to have 30% or so of our daily fat intake be from saturated fats. I have to wonder if the children in the study were drinking whole milk, or chocolate milk, or low fat\skim. As for the cholesterol some people have to watch it but most people's bodies regulate cholesterol quite well. Follow your doctor's advice if you're having problems with cholesterol levels. It just so happens that foods that have cholesterol can have higher amounts of saturated fats, which as I said should be limited in a healthy diet. There's no reason to eliminate a food that provides so many nutrients so cheaply, but like any healthy food, milk's strengths and weaknesses easily fit into a part of what can be a healthy well rounded diet.
  4. elle2005 June 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm
    While I greatly admire Russell Simmons, I think his celebrity has moved him too far afield from the common person. In particular, the impoverished, NYCHA dwelling population that idolizes him and his companies are those who benefit most from having milk available. Take away milk and what is left instead? Sugary "juice" drinks like Hawaiian Punch? I have worked with these populations in the community and Russell's simplistic all or none vegan attitude does not help anyone who truly is at risk of obesity.