What Happens When Scientists Ask Whether Milk Makes Mucus

Illustration for article titled What Happens When Scientists Ask Whether Milk Makes Mucus

Occasionally, when you are idly clicking around the web, you strike gold. Sometimes it's a kitten video. Sometimes it's a study about whether or not milk fills you with mucus.


I love everything about this study. Supposedly it is meant to see how dairy products affect the production of mucus, but actually it is one of science's gifts to the world, like the discovery of gravitational waves, or the polio vaccine.

First of all, I adore the fact that the study states that 60 volunteers were "challenged" with a rhinovirus. I haven't run across this particular terminology before, but it's awfully endearing when science goes euphemistic. It sounds so much better saying, "we are going to challenge you," than saying, "We got this from somebody else's nose. Let us rub it in your face!"

Secondly, there's the wonderful simplicity with which they decided to measure mucus production. Just keep the volunteers supplied with tissues and weigh the tissues after use. The study assures us that the tissues were "sealed immediately after use," so we know that scientists, after jamming infected q-tips into people's mouths or whatever, gave them approved, air-tight snot-rag containers to take home.

Just as a bonus, I got an eye-opening look at people's diets. The study specifies that the people consumed between one and eleven glasses of milk per day. Who even has time for eleven glasses of milk per day? I can't think of anything I do eleven times a day.

And, finally, I like that, according to the study, there was no increase in production of "nasal secretions" when people drank milk. Although the sick people produced up to 30.4 grams of nasal secretions a day, milk didn't seem to factor into it. So next time I get sick, I can enjoy a nice glass of hot chocolate. Or, maybe, eleven of them.

[Via Relationship between milk intake and mucus production.]



I absolutely produce more mucus when I drink milk. Also when I have something acidic. I think this study was flawed, in that the extra mucus drains down the throat. I don't blow it out my nose.