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The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

Published on February 17, 2014,

NPR News has picked up on what they have called the “full-fat” paradox where the demonization of full-fat products – especially dairy – is being questioned as studies suggest higher dairy fat impact may be associated with having less body fat. You can hear their report below or read an extract of an associated article…

Hear the NPR News audio story by clicking the npr player below…

 

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…I have to admit, I melt at the creaminess of full-fat yogurt.

It’s an indulgence that we’re told to resist. And I try to abide. (Stealing a bite of my daughter’s YoBaby doesn’t count, does it?)

The reason we’re told to limit dairy fat seems pretty straightforward. The extra calories packed into the fat are bad for our waistlines — that’s the assumption.

But what if dairy fat isn’t the dietary demon we’ve been led to believe it is? New research suggests we may want to look anew.

Consider the findings of two recent studies that conclude the consumption of whole-fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat.

In one paper, published by Swedish researchers in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, middle-aged men who consumed high-fat milk, butter and cream were significantly less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared with men who never or rarely ate high-fat dairy.

Yep, that’s right. The butter and whole-milk eaters did better at keeping the pounds off.

“I would say it’s counterintuitive,” says Greg Miller, executive vice president of the National Dairy Council.

The second study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, is a meta-analysis of 16 observational studies. There has been a hypothesis that high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity and heart disease risk, but the reviewers concluded that the evidence does not support this hypothesis. In fact, the reviewers found that in most of the studies, high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of obesity.

“We continue to see more and more data coming out [finding that] consumption of whole-milk dairy products is associated with reduced body fat,” Miller says.

It’s not clear what might explain this phenomenon. Lots of folks point to the satiety factor. The higher levels of fat in whole milk products may make us feel fuller, faster. And as a result, the thinking goes, we may end up eating less.

Or the explanation could be more complex. “There may be bioactive substances in the milk fat that may be altering our metabolism in a way that helps us utilize the fat and burn it for energy, rather than storing it in our bodies,” Miller says.

Whatever the mechanism, this association between higher dairy fat and lower body weight appears to hold up in children, too…

More at: The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

Should Our Milk Be Raw As Well As Full Fat?

Published on July 12, 2013,

We recently covered the news that a Harvard professor is suggesting the low fat milk – which effectively replaces fat with sugar – could be contributing to the obesity epidemic. Many comments from readers suggested it is not just full fat milk that we should be drinking but raw, unpasteurized milk. The excellent blog Empowered Sustenance has published a look at the benefits of raw milk. Here is an extract with their top three benefits…

English: Contented Cows Dairy cows in a field ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Enzymes

Heating wet foods above 118 degrees F destroys the naturally occurring, beneficial enzymes. As a living food, raw milk contains enzymes that assist in digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Fermenting the milk into yogurt further activates beneficial enzymes, rendering the product even more digestible.

In particular, raw milk contains the enzyme lactase which helps breakdown lactose. Additionally, an enzyme in the butterfat called lipase aids in fat digestion and assimilation of the fat-soluble vitamins.

Pasteurized milk is heated to 170 degrees and ultra-pasteurized milk is heated to 280 degrees. This prolongs the shelf-life of the milk at the cost of destroying the health-giving qualities of the milk. There are no live enzymes left in pasteurized milk… it is a dead food. As a result, the digestive system must furnish all the enzymes required to digest it. Often, if the diet consists of all cooked foods, the body’s enzymes stores are depleted and digestion is impaired.

2. Fat

The butterfat in raw milk separates to the top… just like butterfat should. The butterfat is primarily saturated–the most healthiest and most stable fat to consume (if you are still stuck in the utterly false mindset that saturated fat is bad for you, then get thee a copy of Nourishing Traditions immediately!). If the raw milk is from cows in pasture, this butterfat boasts anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.

The practice of homogenization further mutilates the chemical integrity of milk. The fat globules are pressurized so that they become small enough to be in suspension throughout the milk, without separating into cream. This makes the fat and cholesterol more susceptible to rancidity and destroys the colloidal structure of the milk.

Even worse options are reduced fat, low fat and skim milk. The body requires removed butterfat to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K in the milk. This vitamins are even more unavailable to the body in low fat/skim milk. Skim milks often contain dry milk powders and additives to compensate for the loss of flavor and texture with the butterfat. The consumption of skim and 1% milk has been shown to cause more weight gain than whole milk (here’s the study).

3. Vitamins

The vitamins in raw milk are fully intact and bioavailable. If the cows are in pasture, the milk is significantly higher in the extremely beneficial vitamin K.

It’s another story for pasteurized milk, however. During pasteurization, more than 50% of vitamin C is lost. The primary cofactors, enzymes and proteins that assist in the absorption of folate, B12, B6, and iron are also destroyed with pasteurization (source). Further, one protein destroyed by pasteurization is beta lactoglobulin, which plays an important role in the absorption of vitamin A (source).

See more benefits plus a look at common FAQs including ““Is raw milk safe?”, “Where do I get raw milk? What if I can’t get it?”, and “But isn’t cow milk for baby cows?” at: Why is Raw Milk So Special?

Doh! Low Fat Milk May Not Be As Healthy As We Thought, Says Harvard Expert

Published on July 8, 2013,

The media is covering a report from a Harvard University professor suggesting that replacing full fat milk for low fat milk may be contributing to rather than reducing the obesity epidemic in children. Doh! We should celebrate this news but is it not infuriating that fat has been so badly demonised for so long while health and government authorities have encouraged us to eat more and more sugar? I wonder how this obsession with low fat products in the face of so much evidence that it is misplaced will all be looked back on in a few years time? This is from Forbes…

English: milk bottle showing cream at the top

Milk bottle showing cream at the top (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Got milk? Well, you might not really need it, according to the current issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Pediatrics. Reduced-fat milk is high in sugar and may be contributing to the obesity epidemic, argues Harvard professor of pediatrics David Ludwig, MD.

One cup of 2-percent milk contains 12.3 grams of sugar, more than a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup and almost as much as a chocolate chip cookie. Consider that the recommendations for sugar intake call  for just 12 grams a day (three teaspoons, at 4 grams each) for children. So one serving of milk a day would put a child over the limit, two cups a day would top a woman’s limit of 5 teaspoons, and three cups a day would top a man’s limit of 8-9 teaspoons.

A glass of lowfat milk also provides 122 calories, which may not sound like that much, but by the time you’ve drunk your three servings that’s 366 calories that might be better used elsewhere.

In fact, Ludwig says, humans evolved on a diet free of milk, and milk consumption in general is nutritionally unnecessary, as a healthy diet can provide adequate calcium through beans, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and certain types of fish. (Of course, ask any parent; getting kids to eat greens, nuts and fish is another story.)

Recently revised guidelines from the USDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which call for three glasses of reduced-fat milk a day, should be reconsidered, the study argues. The guidelines were drafted with the intent to discourage the consumption of sugary beverages, with the exception of reduced fat milk. That exception may be misguided, opine the study’s authors, who also include noted Harvard nutritionist Walter Willett, MD.

More at:  Lowfat Milk May Not Be As Healthy As We Thought, Says Harvard Expert

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