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.
“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.