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Myth Busting Series Part II

This week our myth busting series continues…

True or false?

Dairy products increase mucus production and as a result, have a negative impact on your voice. You should avoid dairy when singing.

The answer is…FALSE!

A study by Pinnock et al. in 1990 looked into the belief that milk produces mucus. The researchers had the subjects fill out a questionnaire about their beliefs about whether or not milk or dairy products cause mucus. Then they had subjects consume an average of around 3 glasses of milk per day for 10 days and measured their nasal secretions each day. In the end, consumption of milk and dairy products did not result in an increase in congestion in the upper respiratory tract (nose, mouth, throat, and voice box) or lower respiratory tract (trachea, bronchial tubes and lungs) or any significant increase in secretions. Interestingly, the subjects that believed “milk makes mucus” were more likely to report a sensation of having more mucus, even though the measurement of their secretions didn’t support this. The authors stated:


“We conclude that no statistically significant overall association can be detected between milk and dairy product intake and symptoms of mucus production in healthy adults”. 


Thiara and Goldman (2012) reviewed numerous studies on the subject and drew similar conclusions. In several of the studies, people who believed dairy consumption was linked to increasing mucus production reported an increase in sensation of mucus–needing to clear their throat, feeling a sensation of a coating in their mouth, or feeling like their saliva was thicker–even when they were given a placebo that didn’t contain any dairy. 

So what gives? How has this myth persisted for so long and why do so many people believe consuming dairy increases their mucus production? How has dairy gotten such a bad rap among singers?

Next week we’ll explore these questions as well as what the implications are for your vocal health in part two of “The Milk Myth.”

Thanks for grazing with us,
Your SonoVoice Team


Pinnock, C. B., Graham, N. M., Mylvaganam, A., & Douglas, R. M. (1990). Relationship between milk intake and mucus production in adult volunteers challenged with rhinovirus-2. The American review of respiratory disease, 141(2), 352–356. 

Thiara, G. and Goldman, R.D. (2012). Milk consumption and mucus production in children with asthma. Canadian Family Physician, 58 (2) 165-166. 

Next Week: Myth Busting Part III

You are a vocal athlete!

Athletes put superhuman demands on the human body. They practice to stay in shape, get better and prepare for the event. No athlete expects to perform at their best without working on their technique, practicing skills, and preparing for the game. 

The same goes for you as a vocal athlete. Practice will help you be prepared for your event: performance. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut! If you want to be at your best as a singer, you’ll need to establish a regular vocal exercise and practice regimen.

In our weekly Vocal Fitness Friday email, SonoVoice's team of experts in science-based voice training  will be sharing information about how the voice works, tips on keeping your voice healthy, and ideas for vocal exercises for peak vocal fitness.