You’ve already heard of the the “latte loophole” exempting drinks with 50 percent dairy or soy milk from the proposed New York City soda regulation limiting the size of soft drinks to 16 ounces. Unsurprisingly, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) would like to limit it to a “soy latte loophole.” PETA has called on a celebrity supporter—who is, shockingly, fully clothed—to rehash their arguments bashing milk, hoping that the New York City health department will add it to the banned list.
Russell Simmons, a record producer and PETA backer, sent this in his letter to the City:
[R]eplacing soda with cow’s milk […] provided no weight-loss benefit–none. In light of this information, my friends at PETA and I urge you to include cow’s milk and other dairy-based drinks in your proposed beverage regulations.
Unfortunately for the animal rights activists, there’s evidence that dairy consumption, far from making people fat, may even protect against obesity. A recent study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that “Increasing fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy may help achieve weight loss and maintenance.” Indeed, if there’s any similarity between the effects of soda with dairy milk on obesity, it’s because neither makes a person fat when consumed in moderation.
If this sounds like a tired and re-hashed animal-rights ploy, it’s probably because it is. Less than two years ago, PETA’s fellow travelers at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) put out a statement calling milk “junk food.”
We’ve seen worse. PCRM tried to get lactose intolerance warnings on all milk sold in Washington, D.C, and PCRM boss Neal Barnard called cheese “dairy crack […] the purest form of the [milk] drug.” And PETA’s and PCRM’s admonishments that milk causes bone loss have been thoroughly debunked.
New Yorkers who choose to drink large dairy-based drinks should rest easy and ignore PETA and Simmons, for the “latte loophole” lives (for now, at least). But it would be wise for them to join the chorus against their government to give their soda-preferring fellow citizens that same freedom of choice.