Back in the 1960’s agribusiness and the medical establishment began to instill fear into Americans about the fat in our foods. There was no scientific documentation to back up their claims. It all started as a solution to a problem.
When the farmers got milk, they skimmed off the cream to make cream and butter. What was left was just a waste product once the fat was gone. What could they do with this? Rather than throwing it away, they decided to give it to the farm animals as a cheap way to feed them. What they discovered was that this low-fat or even fat-free milk actually made their animals fatter! This was a welcome, but unexpected result of their decision.
Later, they switched gears and began fattening their animals with soy and corn and touted this new “low fat” milk as a “slimming” food for humans (at a much higher price than they could get for it as animal food!) No wonder that our population has become more and more obese. A study was conducted at Tufts University over a 15 year period. They compared people who consumed full fat dairy foods with those who had eaten lower fat versions. The result of their tests showed that those who ate the full-fat foods had a 46% lower risk of becoming diabetic. Women who ate the full fat had an 8% less chance of becoming obese than those who ate low-fat dairy.
What Removal of Fat Does to Dairy
Milk, in its natural state is very high in sugar. When the fat is taken out, milk is left with a much higher concentration of sugar as well as a higher protein content. The excess protein is more than the body can utilize at one time, so it produces even more sugar. The lactose can then create an insulin effect.
Another problem with low-fat foods is that, without the fat, the fat-soluble vitamins in them are not able to be assimilated by the body. For example, without fat to activate the Vitamin D, the calcium in the milk cannot be absorbed. Consequently, low-fat milk has been associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis.
Often, to boost the flavor, additional skim milk powder will be added to low-fat milk products. It is then heat processed which oxidizes the cholesterol. It is when cholesterol becomes oxidized that it becomes pro-inflammatory by releasing Interleukin 6, the major inflammatory factor in atherosclerosis.
The End Result
This not only applies to milk but also to any dairy, especially milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Since the middle of the 1900’s, when low-fat dairy came into vogue, we have seen people move from whole foods naturally high in fat to foods which have radically changed our diets:
- Our consumption of starches and sugars has risen exponentially
- We have seen an increase in the number of heart attacks
- Strokes are much more common
- Diabetes is on the rise.
So the take-away from this is not to be afraid of putting good fats into your diet. If you keep at a good weight and are burning the number of calories you consume in a day, your body actually needs those fats. We don’t need to be afraid of them after all.