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Myth Busting Series Part III

This week we come to the milk myth conclusion.

Last week we reviewed studies by Pinnock et al. (1990) and Thiara and Goldman (2012) that concluded there is no connection between consuming dairy products and an increase in mucus production. They also found that people who believed “milk makes mucus” were more likely to have symptoms of increased mucus, even when they were given a non-dairy placebo.

None of the studies theorized about why people who believed milk makes mucus showed such a strong perception or sensation that they were experiencing an increase in mucus production. More research would be needed to tease that out, but perhaps the report of “feeling a coating in the mouth” sheds a little light on this. Milk is a relatively viscous beverage compared to things like water, juice, or tea. If you fill a glass with milk and drink it, you can see some of the milk clinging to the glass afterwards.

It may be that some people have a greater sensitivity to the sensation of the thicker liquid clinging to the inside of their mouths or throat after drinking it and conclude that this sensation is mucus.


So what does all this mean relative to your vocal health? The research seems to bust the longstanding myth that dairy causes mucus, so there is no reason for you to avoid dairy products in the interest of vocal health. However, sensations can be very powerful, and if consuming dairy makes you feel like your throat is irritated or you have to clear your throat, that sensation in and of itself could undermine your vocal function. 

Certainly people who have other medical reasons for avoiding dairy (such as lactose intolerance) should follow a diet that supports their overall health. 

In a nutshell: follow your bliss. Choose or reject dairy on the basis of how it makes you feel, but know that the evidence currently doesn’t support the belief that dairy causes mucus.

True or False:
Caffeinated beverages are just as good as non-caffeinated beverages for supporting good hydration. 

Tune in next week to find the answer…

Stay moo-tivated,
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 IV

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.