The 4 Reasons I Don't Believe In Selling Low Fat Dairy
Every now and again I get a call from somebody asking for low-fat grass-fed dairy and it perplexes me every time. Generally if you are choosing pastured animal produce, you are reading the literature that describes the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed milk and protein composition.
In a nutshell you hear about the higher levels of CLA and omega 3’s in grass-fed dairy than in grain-fed, as well as higher levels of the fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K and higher levels of beta -carotene (I doubt you’ll find any beta carotene or CLA in dairy from cows eating grain to be honest).
Low fat milk lacks fat-soluble vitamins needed to assimilate the protein and minerals in meat and milk.
Considering that all these benefits are found in the fat of the dairy, why on earth would you want to cut it out? What value then does the low-fat milk or dairy offer? The standard answers to this question in the past were to reduce the calorie count as it was believed that eating fat drives weight gain, a myth that is being debunked in many quarters and shifting a paradigm right now about the role of fat in our diets.
I believe the converse to be true. If you accept that the metabolism of weight gain is driven by insulin as I do, then you view fat differently. We know in short that when there is sugar or glucose in the bloodstream, there is insulin. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and serves the role to lower the level of sugar in the blood. While there is insulin the blood stream, burning fat for energy is impossible. The presence of insulin locks the fat into cells and instructs the cells to convert all available sugar in the blood to fat and store it. This is the bodies mechanism for ensuring that blood sugar is managed.
Your body does not burn fat for energy when there is insulin and fat is the one calorie type does not raise insulin at all. If you eat a wholly fat meal, insulin will not be released from your pancreas. That means for that period of time, your body is more likely to burn fat as an energy source and has not locked up fat in the cells for energy. I had to learn everything I could about insulin and fat metabolism when I learnt that I was insulin resistant and healed myself through diet using resources like Gary Taubes ‘Why We Get Fat’ and ‘Good Fats, Bad Fats’ and the help of an endocrinologist and I know that the more fat I eat, the greater my blood work is and the lower my insulin.
The lower my insulin, the more I lose weight and the healthier I am. So this works for me and I also battle to understand why anybody who cares for grass-fed dairy would want to strip out the fat that contains all the benefits it has in the first place. It’s not a whole food in my opinion once you take out the fat and that’s why I don’t think it’s a great thing to sell at Organic Emporium where we promote whole and unrefined food.
It is also often true that when fat is removed, sugar is added to provide some kind of flavour which leaves with the fat so the lower calorie perceived advantage isn’t really there anyhow as the higher the sugar profile of the food, the higher the insulin response, the higher the insulin levels in your blood, the less able you are to burn fat. It is crazy for me that for so many years people have been eating high sugar, low-fat store brought yoghurts that increase the bodies ability to store fat because they’re high sugar and going to encourage high levels of insulin in the blood stream.
We know too that calcium requires the help of fat soluble vitamin D to be absorbed in the body. Vitamins A D E and K, all found in differing levels amongst dairy products can only be utilised in the presence of fat.
The other belief that had people thinking that low fat dairy was preferable is that fat and cholesterol causes heart disease, another paradigm shift happening right now in nutritional thinking that questions and presents new evidence that it is actually inflammation caused by insulin resistance, diets high in sugar, diets high in inflammatory causing omega 6’s and low in omega 3’s that is a larger predictor of heart disease.
While this is all rather controversial for now, the beauty of this day and age is that we can access our own information and make up our own minds. Information is not something hidden from the layman nowadays, the global availability of information means we can read and decide for ourselves.
It is well within your power nowadays to order your own blood tests and monitor your own bloods when you change your diet and want to see what effect it has had.
So to summarise, this is why you won’t find low-fat dairy from grass-fed cows at our shop easily:
1. It isn’t a whole food – In order to become low-fat or fat-free the dairy has to go through some major processing. Besides homogenization and pasteurisation that typically occurs in store brought milk – less so when you’re buying direct from farms like we are, the fat has to be taken out. The skim milk is separated from the cream, it is no longer the natural whole milk it was. All the goodness it had which lies in the cream, has been stripped and you’re left with an unappealing, tasteless waste product which somehow you were taught to believe was good for you. It doesn’t make any sense to me to sell this in a context that values eating in its whole, natural form.
2. It is no longer nutrient dense. As explained above, the greatest value from the animals natural diet of grass lies in the higher levels of omega 3’s, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and vitamins A, D, E and K found in the FAT. Strip out the fat and the benefits are left with the cream which clever people will eat. 🙂
3. It does not promote weight loss. My belief described above. More often the fat that lowered the insulin response is replaced by sugar which increases it – higher insulin – reduced ability to burn fat for many people. In addition, fat promotes satiety, it keeps you feeling full for longer, blood sugar stable for longer which means that you’re less likely to eat when you’re not hungry. Calories are not created all equal – 100 calories of a conventional store brought chocolate bar are going to leave your body in a very different metabolic state to 100 calories of vegetables.
4. It tastes horrible. There is no comparison between the taste of butter and margarine, cream and low-fat milk, full fat milk and low-fat milk. I am equally as passionate about eating great tasting food as well as nutrient dense, health promoting food as well and the fact that I believe the 2 hold hands. Less nutrients, less taste – which is usually why unhealthy food has sugar and salt added in an attempt to make it edible and life worth living. I do not believe that there is any benefit to eating eatery skimmed milk when you eat full fat which will fill you up quicker, provide you with a great taste experience and give you heart healthy omega 3’s, CLA and vitamins A, D, E and K.
Of course, all of my beliefs on this matter only apply to dairy from animals outdoors on pasture. Dairy from animals in a feedlot, not exposed to sunlight, natural grazing and who are being fed grains, antibiotics and growth hormones is not anywhere near the same, does not contain the same nutrients and is likely to harm your health, promote inflammation through higher omega 6 and low omega 6 levels, create metabolic disturbances with the growth hormones and antibiotics you are exposed to, as well as the high level so pus contained in these animals who are often unwell, have poor immune systems from having to eat an unnatural diet of grain which bloats them and compromises their health.
Further Reading and Resources:
- Eat Wild – www.eatwild.com http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm
- World’s Healthiest Foods – www,whfoods.com. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=130
- The Real Meal Revolution – www.realmealrevolution.com – http://realmealrevolution.com/creed-parts-sea-of-fat-with-ten-commandments-of-beginner-banting-2/
- Western Price Foundation – www.westonaprice.org – http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats
- Sally-Ann Creed – www.sallyanncreed.co.za
- Gary Taubes – www.garytaubes.com
- Marks Daily Apple – http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dairy-fat-healthy-paleo-primal/#axzz2r1O4T7Mh
- Nourished Kitchen – http://nourishedkitchen.com/organic-raw-milk-dairy/
- Gary Taubes – ‘Why We Get Fat’ and ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’
- The Untold Story of Milk, Revised and Updated: The History, Politics and Science of Nature’s Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows
- Sally Fallon – Nourishing Traditions
- The Real Meal Revolution – Professor Tim Noakes, Sally Ann Creed, David Grier and Jono Proudfoot
References to actual studies are contained in all of these resources.