Is dairy right for you?
This is a big debate and can often be a heated topic.
When moving to a healthier lifestyle there are many different opinions about dairy. Should you go low fat, no fat, whole, raw, or eliminate it completely?
At the end of the day, you are the only one that can make that determination by listening to your body, but a little science to back up your decision is never a bad thing.
Want to watch rather than read? Here's your chance...
I go into the deatails of dairy on facebook live. Catch this and other videos, only on my facebook page @wellnesswithshelbyforthesoul
First, lets start with fat.
We have seen the statistics for today. Starting in the 1980's with the introduction of the food pyramid and its recommendations, we have seen drastic incline in the percentage of American's overweight and obese. With 70% of the United States over weight it is safe to say eating a high carb, low fat diet is nothing short of a trip to a larger pant size and multiple health problems. We now know so much more and when you know better you do better. Fat does not make you fat.
Good fats, like the fats from full fat dairy actually help you lose fat by improving metabolism, balancing hormones, improving reproductive health, and helping to eliminate healthy cravings. In addition, it feeds your brain helping to preventing Alzheimer's and so much more. (See Ten Amazing Benefits of Eating Fat).
The vitamins available in milk, A, D, and K2 are fat soluble-meaning that we need to consume them alongside fat for proper absorption. Removing the fat eliminates the healthy aspects of dairy and the ability for our bodies to utilize these vitamins.
Removing the fat in many cheese products also means the increase of sugars. Sugar, unlike fat actually does end up as stored fat in the body.
-A note on Raw Milk- Pasteurization was a process started in 1864 by the French scientist Louis Pasteur. The process involves heating milk to a level high enough to kill microbes responsible for food bourn illnesses. In the process, it will also lose some of the vitamin nutrients. Raw milk, on the other hand is rich in these available vitamins along side the fat making it possible for us to utilize. In addition, Many individuals that are lactose-intolerant may be able to drink raw milk without a problem, as the lactase enzyme necessary for digesting lactose is still present in raw milk. However, raw milk is illegal to purchase for human consumption in several states.
Vitamins, minerals and Good Nutrients
Good news is milk packs a high punch when it comes to nutrients. In fact...
A single cup (244 grams) of milk contains:
- Calcium: 276mg (28% of the RDA)
- Vitamin D: 24% of the RDA
- Riboflavin (B2): 26% of the RDA
- Vitamin B12: 18% of the RDA
- Potassium: 10% of the RDA
- Phosphorus: 22% of the RDA
It also contains decent amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamins B1 and B6, Selenium, Zinc and Magnesium. (Healthline)
Lactose Intolerance and 65-90% of the World
Lactose intolerance is an impaired ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose is normally broken down by an enzyme called lactase, which is produced by cells in the lining of the small intestine.(US National Library of Medicine) It all goes back to the gut!
"Lactose intolerance in adulthood is caused by gradually decreasing activity (expression) of the LCTgene after infancy, which occurs in most humans. LCT gene expression is controlled by a DNA sequence called a regulatory element, which is located within a nearby gene called MCM6. Some individuals have inherited changes in this element that lead to sustained lactase production in the small intestine and the ability to digest lactose throughout life. People without these changes have a reduced ability to digest lactose as they get older, resulting in the signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance."(US National Library of Medicine)
What does this mean to you?
It means that 65% of the population lack the ability to properly break down lactose, and since it comes down to genes, in some populations and the evolution and exposure and adaptation to diet, that number can be as high as 90%. Those from West Africa, Arab, Jewish, Greek and Italian decent are in the 90%. Those who have a long standing dependence on milk products such as those of Northern European decent have a much lower percentage of those who are lactose-intolerant to the tune of only 5%.
A Special Note: Ghee is a hot product right now. It is clarified butter and contains little to no lactose. When individuals react to dairy it it is to the lactose in the product. When it has been clarified it does not contain the lactose that people react to. Just because it says 'contains milk' does not mean you will react. It depends on the clarification and how much lactose is present. Protein powders are a excellent example of this. For those lovely individuals that are using the products I sponsor this is exactly the case; the company utilizes a process with the whey that eliminates the vast majority of lactose, meaning that the vast majority of users do not experience a reaction.
Bio-Individuality, You, and the Keto Diet
The only person that truly knows if dairy works for you, is you. Many individuals can tolerate greek yogurt just fine, but a glass of milk is just too much. We are all bio individually different.
High fat dairy is often a staple in the Keto lifestyle. It provides an easy way to get in high quality fats, while keeping carbs low and foods tasty. Yes ma'am! The fat and switching to a fat burning way of life also helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied longer. No more hunger pangs and 'hangry' moments of sugar/carb crashes!
However, if you reach a point in your diet where you are no longer losing, you have inflammation, you are having digestive upset, nasal congestion, or even acne, it may be time to look at dairy consumption for yourself. These can be a sign that your body is not properly digesting the dairy products.
If, on the other hand you are among the blessed that can consume dairy, always make sure to choose high quality dairy from trusted sources. Beware of fillers and 'fake cheese'. Make sure the ingredients list shows that it is truly real food without extra stuff you can't pronounce. And don't forget to enjoy!!
- (US National Library of Medicine)
- Poliquin Group- Ten Amazing Benefits of Eating Fat)
- Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo
- The Institute for Integrative Nutrition
- FAQ of Lean