National Dairy Council

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The National Dairy Council (NDC) is a peak U.S. dairy industry lobby group. According to its website, the NDC is "dedicated to educating the public on the health benefits of consuming milk and milk products throughout a person’s lifespan." [1]

NDC retracts diet claims

In the spring of 2007, the NDC retracted its claims of weight loss attributed to dairy consumption. The ad campaign featured slogans like, “Milk your diet. Lose weight!” and suggested that three servings of dairy products could contribute to weight loss. Another campaign called “Body by Milk”, was aimed at teenagers. It featured Alex Rodriguez, third baseman for the New York Yankees, and Carrie Underwood, an “American Idol” winner. According to a May 3 letter from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the NDC agreed to retract the ads and marketing materials:

“until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss.” [2]

In April of 2005, PCRM petitioned the FTC to stop the campaign, calling it "false and misleading." In May of 2005, they asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent packaged dairy products to from claiming links between weight loss and dairy consumption. In June of 2005, PCRM sued various food companies and the NDC. The ad campaign based its claims of health and weight loss on studies conducted at the University of Tennessee by Michael Zemel, PhD. Dr. Zemel had received $1.68 million dollars in grants since 1998 from the NDC. His studies purportedly showed that people on low-calorie diets not only lose weight if they consume dairy products, but lose weight more rapidly. He attributed this to "dietary calcium". [3]

Thousands were duped into believing that dairy products could make them lose weight by a slick ad campaign that cost the dairy industry over $200 million dollars. In response to the 2005 petition filed by PCRM with the FTC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and two national dairy organizations agreed to halt the ad campaign. This included the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board’s “Milk your diet. Lose weight!” and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board’s “3-a-Day. Burn More Fat, Lose Weight” promotions. Weight loss claims were based on three studies by Dr. Zemel, a researcher funded by the NDC and yogurt manufacturers. According to critics, Dr. Zemel’s studies were small, poorly controlled, reported with only minimal details and yielded inconsistent results. [4]

See also meat & dairy industry, sections 4 & 5 & section 6 on animal products & health issues.


National Dairy Council
10255 West Higgins Road
Suite 900
Rosemont, IL 60018

Phone: (312) 240-2880


Web address:

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. About, National Dairy Council, accessed January 2011
  2. Kim Severson Dairy Council to End Ad Campaign That Linked Drinking Milk With Weight Loss, New York Times, May 2007
  3. Alan Pell Crawford Alert: can you really lose weight by drinking milk? BNET, Business Network, Vegetarian Times, Sept 2005
  4. USDA, Dairy Industry End Dairy-Weight Loss Advertisements, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, News & Media Center, June 2007