14 July 2011

New campaign claims milk reduces PMS symptoms

It's hard to determine what is more horrifying: the fact that the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) has launched a campaign poking fun at pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) at the expense of women everywhere, or that it touts the medicinal benefits of milk when it comes to the symptoms of PMS.

The "Everything I Do is Wrong" campaign depicts men in tricky situations that were apparently caused by the abhorrent women in their lives who are suffering from the symptoms of PMS. With an accompanying website and a social media campaign (and billboards, radio and print ads in California), the campaign shows the terrified men next to taglines like "I’m sorry I listened to what you said and not what you meant" and “I apologize for not reading between the RIGHT lines.”

And the cherry on top? The campaign slogan seems to be, "Milk can reduce the symptoms of PMS.”

According to Steve James, executive director of the  CMPB, the ad campaign is meant to “immediately disarm the situation” surrounding PMS and its effects on women and the people around them. He said it's “almost like a public service, providing tools and abilities to talk about” PMS.

Really? Because it sounds like another way to sell more milk, especially when you take into account the fact that their claim hasn't really been proven.

Connie Bohon, an ob-gyn in private practice in Washington, D.C., said that research hasn’t established a clear and obvious link between the consumption of milk and PMS symptoms.

A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1998 found that women who consumed 1,500 milligrams of calcium through supplements experienced a near 50 percent reduction in symptoms like negative affect, water retention, food cravings and pain. That effect took several menstrual cycles to be apparent, and that study was also sponsored by SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare -- the makers of calcium-rich TUMS.

Another study found a reduction in the risk of having the symptoms of PMS in women who drank or ate milk and calcium-rich foods, which isn't even the same as a reduction in the actual symptoms themselves.

Basically, Bohon said that “there are some beliefs that calcium can improve PMS symptoms, I don’t know that it’s universally accepted."

“That line [linking milk to PMS symptom reduction] may or may not please some people in the parsing of it,” James said. “But in the gist of it, we feel we are on solid ground.”

Well, that sounds like they really did their research.

Stephanie DeBalko | @_stephanied_
Stephanie is a freelance writer who loves shelter dogs and Vegenaise. She recently came to the conclusion that the written word could be an amazing ally for all animals, and is choosing to use her nerdy love of grammar and punctuation for the greater good of animal welfare. She can also be found at Homespun by Stephanie.

Photo credits: http://everythingidoiswrong.org/#/